“The Role of NGOs in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals”

By Anonymous on Friday, April 18, 2008.

As part of Johns Hopkins University International Development Series, Charles MacCormack, President and CEO of Save the Children, spoke on the potentials and limitations of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As development experts realize the fact that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a key role in achieving the MDGs, MacCormack discusses specific strategies that NGOs can implement in order to realize the full potential of the MDGs. What role do NGOs play in achieving the MDGs and how does this affect a country such as Haiti?

 

Charles MacCormack begins by asking the question, "Are the Millennium Development Goals really sufficient in addressing poverty"? He believes it is a great start, but the problem lies in the approach to these goals. The fact that they are not approached as a comprehensive, systematic, and interdependent package can limit the potential of the effort. MacCormack recognizes that, in this regard, donor agencies and NGOs can be part of the problem.

 

 

 

Despite the superficial controversies surrounding the ‘Make Poverty History' campaign, Europe has gotten the public to think more comprehensively by putting the MDGs into a package that views poverty alleviation as a systematic process. Whereas in the US the public has become confused with the overall message of the MDGs due to the multitude of campaigns focusing on different poverty issues. With no real coherent call to action, the public has become overwhelmed with where to focus our efforts (i.e. money).

 

In the fundraising world, over $70 billion of the total annual aid of $158 billion flows from private resources to NGOs - that is over 43% of total aid. Where does this $70 billion in aid come from? Megaphilanthropists, global corporations, celebrities, new bi-lateral donors, and "The Global Public". A great example of the global public is in Dubai, MacCormack describes how universities raised $500 million in three weeks for MDG 2 (Achieving Universal Primary Education). Public donors (such as universities in Dubai) have become the top contributors in aid, with most of those funds channeled down to NGOs, as classic governmental agencies become minority players in the development assistance world.

 

It's easy to see why NGOs have become a major player in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and most importantly in alleviating poverty. MacCormack describes this as an arena with "no games, no coach, and no rules", where the shift in players has become of real importance. As the fundraising process becomes even more competitive amongst NGOs, what kinds of management skills are necessary to be most effective in this environment and how do we really create a more strategic approach to achieving the MDGs?

 

 

Fortunately many heads of government are recognizing the integral role of NGOs. Just yesterday in Washington Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with governmental aid agencies as well as with some major NGOs, such as Save the Children, in order to coordinate better with one another. While efforts like this move forward, other challenges arise such as who to include from the massive NGO world. Unfortunately as specific strategies are developed and mistakes are recognized, countries like Haiti will continue to suffer from the consequences of these efforts until a more sustainable and holistic approach is taken. As in the current situation, understanding the pitfalls of emergency food handouts and investing efforts in local agricultural production.

WHO sees good progress on UN health goals for poor

5/10/2010
Reuters
By Kate Kelland
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Far fewer children are dying and rates of malnutrition, HIV and tuberculosis are declining thanks to good progress on health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. In its annual health report for 2010, the U.N. body said some countries had made impressive gains, although others may struggle to meet some of the 2015 targets.
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"With five years remaining to the MDG deadline in 2015 there are some striking improvements," said the report, which is based on data collected from WHO's 193 member states. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and Rwanda had made progress on child mortality despite facing difficulties, WHO said.
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However the group said global results mask inequalities between countries, and some nations' progress had been slowed by conflict, poor governance or humanitarian and economic crises.
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The Millennium Development Goals were set in 2000 by 189 heads of state seeking to drive global policy to tackle poverty, hunger, ill-health and lack of access to clean water, among other things.
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The key findings of WHO's report were that:
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* Fewer children are dying, with annual global deaths of children under five falling to 8.8 million in 2008 -- down by 30 percent since 1990;
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* The estimated percentage of underweight children under five has dropped from 25 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2010;
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* The proportion of births attended by a skilled health worker has increased globally, but in the Africa and southeast Asia fewer than 50 percent of all births were attended;
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* New HIV infections have declined by 16 percent globally from 2001 to 2008. In 2008, 2.7 million people contracted the human immunodeficiency virus which causes AIDS, and there were 2 million HIV/AIDS-related deaths;
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* Existing cases of tuberculosis are declining, along with deaths among HIV-negative tuberculosis cases;
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* The world is on track to achieve the MDG target on access to safe drinking water, but more needs to be done to achieve the sanitation target.
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The water and sanitation goals call for the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation to be halved by 2015 from levels in 2000.
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The WHO report found that the percentage of the world's population with access to safe drinking water had increased from 77 percent to 87 percent, a rate of improvement it said would hit the MDG target if it keeps up.
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"In low-income countries, however, the annual rate of increase needs to double in order to reach the target and a gap persists between urban and rural areas in many countries," the report said.
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On sanitation, the progress was less good: in 2008, 2.6 billion people had no access to a hygienic toilet and 1.1 billion were still defecating in the open, it said. Poor sewerage can spread dangerous infections such as viral hepatitis and cholera.
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The slowest improvement has been in Africa, where the percentage of the population using toilets or latrines increased from 30 percent in 1990 to 34 percent in 2008. (Editing by Reed Stevenson)

Effects of the Economic Downturn on the MDGs (KFF - 4/26/2010)

Though the global economic crisis has slowed the pace of efforts to reduce poverty in developing countries, the countries remain "on track" to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve extreme poverty by 2015, according to a report released Friday by the World Bank and IMF, Agence France-Presse reports (4/26).
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"As a result of the crisis, 53 million more people will remain in extreme poverty by 2015 than otherwise would have, the report found," New York Times. "Even so, the report projected that the number of people in extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1.25 a day — would be 920 million in 2015, a significant decline from the 1.8 billion in 1990" (Chan, 4/25).
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"The multilateral lenders, however, noted that the 'long-run effect of slower growth on selected MDGs is worrisome,' specifically the MDG targets on child mortality under five, access to safe drinking water, primary education completion rate, and gender parity in primary and secondary education," BusinessWorld Online reports (Gallezo, 4/23).
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"The financial crisis was a severe external shock that hit poor countries hard," IMF Deputy Managing Director Murilo Portugal said, according to a World Bank press release, which also examines the hunger goals: "The critical MDG target of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger from 1990 to 2015 appears very unlikely to be met as over a billion people struggle to meet basic food needs, the report says."
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The press release continues, "Malnutrition among children and pregnant women has a multiplier effect, accounting for more than one-third of the disease burden of children under age five and over 20 percent of maternal mortality. According to World Bank projections, for the period from 2009 to the end of 2015, an estimated 1.2 million additional deaths may occur among children under five due to crisis-related causes" (4/23).
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"The [World Bank-IMF] report called for more aid in addition to 234 billion dollars in commitments from the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions," the AFP adds. The article includes comments by World Bank economists and the international aid organization Oxfam (4/26).

This "scattered-ness" of

This "scattered-ness" of non-profits in the U.S. is a problem with how we deliver services to our own people. I applaud the development of a framework for more efficiently directing the efforts of non-profits. I feel that non-profits, united, could become a force that would lead the way for worldwide peace and prosperity. Non-profits do not deal in weapons or millitary goals, as nations do. This is a major development in efforts to improve the condition of the poor of the world.

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