Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Drinking Water Still Far For Poor People.

Goal of improving access to safe drinking water across the globe is likely to be achieved well ahead of the 2015 deadline, but large numbers of people in the world’s least developed regions will still not benefit.
Reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015 is one of the global targets under the internationally-agreed poverty and social development vision known as Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which have a 2015 achievement deadline.Globally, more than eight in 10 people without improved drinking water sources live in rural areas.water quality does not upto WHO standard.

Friday, 9 December 2011

We Need Crop Assistance

"Now a Days we Need effective crop assistance through out the globe!"

foods price index  level was 215 points last month – just two points, or one per cent, above its level in November 2010, 
Cereal prices dropped by 3 points, or 1 per cent, from October. This is due largely to wheat prices, which dropped 3 per cent, while rice prices fell only slightly and coarse grain prices remained virtually unchanged.
Also a factor is the “significant upward revision” of the 2011/2012 global cereal supply estimate as a result of better crop prospects in some Asian countries and Russia
The report confirmed a record level of world cereal production of 2,323 million tonnes for 2011, which should be enough to cover the expected increase in demand in 2011/12 and also allow for a moderate replenishment of world reserves.
Global wheat output is expected to increase by 6.5 per cent, while the forecasts for coarse grains and rice were reduced slightly due to a downward adjustment for maize in the US and a deterioration of rice prospects in Indonesia.
The report focuses on developments affecting the food situation of developing countries and in particular low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs). 
It also pointed out that, despite some improvements in Somalia thanks to substantial humanitarian assistance and favourable rains, food insecurity is expected to remain “critical” in drought-affected areas until the harvest of short-season crops in early 2012. In the Horn of Africa as a whole, food insecurity remained critical for some 18 million people.
In several countries of the Sahel, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, agricultural production has been hit by irregular rains and significant pest infestations, all of which could lead to price rises and food insecurity.
The report added that prolonged civil unrest in Syria and Yemen has disrupted trade and humanitarian aid distribution, limiting access to food, especially for vulnerable households.
According to FAO’s latest estimates, 33 countries around the world are in need of external assistance as a result of crop failures, conflict or insecurity, natural disasters and high domestic food prices.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Mighty Himalayas

Globalisation and climate change are having a growing impact on the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people across the world. Climatologists say mountain communities - particularly in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region - need help to understand the shifts, adapt to them and make the most of new opportunities.
The HKH region - which extends across eight Asian countries, and includes some of the world’s biggest mountain ranges - is particularly important and vulnerable to climate change because it is the source of ten major river systems that provide water for agriculture, drinking, sanitation and other uses to a fifth of the global population.
The HKH mountain ranges and river basins are socially and economically important, with more than 210 million people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan earning a living from their natural resources.
The Himalayas influence the climate of the Indian subcontinent by sheltering it from the cold air mass of Central Asia. They prevent dry arctic winds from moving south into the subcontinent, keeping South Asian countries much warmer than other regions at corresponding latitudes around the world.
Himalayan ecosystems also play a significant role in capturing and storing carbon from the atmosphere. And they provide a large share of the world’s resources for mining, forestry, drinking water and irrigation, as well as generating hydro and wind power. Among the goods they provide, both locally and further afield, are medicinal plants, nuts, fruits, wood and minerals.
In recent years, population dynamics, economies and the climate have started changing so quickly that the traditional adaptation mechanisms of people in the HKH region are becoming less effective. The result is a higher risk of poverty and marginalisation for mountain communities.

This problem calls for innovative and sustainable strategies to curb climate change and adapt to the impacts already being experience.

The region’s people must be enabled and empowered to cope with, adapt to, and benefit from the changes in climate they are experiencing, so that they will enjoy better livelihoods along with increased social and environmental security.

But while the green economy model may bring opportunities for investment in ecosystem services, such as fresh water, biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration, as well as renewable energy and job creation, it also creates challenges,
“Thus it must be pursued with a balanced approach of economic, environmental and social development as well as apt policy and institutional measures to avoid mounting pressures on an already threatened environment and depleting natural resources,” 
Adopting a green economy approach has become essential for all national governments, as climate change increasingly affects people and ecosystems, 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

South Sudanese children receive polio vaccine

 3.2 million South Sudanese children have received vaccinations against polio in a United Nations-backed campaign to ensure the new country remains free of the deadly disease, more than two years after the last case was reported.
Over 20,000 people fanned out across the country’s 10 states over five days last week to reach all children under the age of five in the second round of a three-phase campaign that will conclude with further vaccinations next month.

Each child received two drops of the polio vaccine and was then marked by ink on the small finger of the right hand to indicate they had been immunized. Vaccinators went from house to house and village to village to reach targeted children.
UNICEF reported that the immunization system in South Sudan, which became independent in July after years of war, was still in its infancy, with low public awareness of the value of vaccinations.
Bismarck Swangin, a communications officer for UNICEF, told the UN News Centre that given the numerous casualties during the Sudanese civil war, the new nation “can’t afford to lose more due to vaccine-preventable diseases.”
A highly infectious disease caused by a virus, polio invades the nervous system and leads to irreversible paralysis in one out of 200 cases. Only four countries – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan – remain polio-endemic today, and the number of cases has declined drastically in the past 25 years.
Polio also re-emerged in South Sudan in April 2008, but after an intensive vaccination campaign, no new cases have been reported since June 2009.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Aquaculture has potential to cut poverty, combat food insecurity

More than 50 per cent of the world’s food fish will come from aquaculture, making it a crucial method to reduce poverty and combat food insecurity, said a United Nations report released today, while calling for governments to step up their efforts to support this practice.
Aquaculture, which involves cultivating fresh water and saltwater populations of fish under controlled conditions as opposed to catching fish in the wild, is the world’s fastest growing source of animal protein, growing by more than 60 per cent between 2000 and 2008, from 32.4 million tons to 52.5 million tons, according to the report.
“With stagnating global capture fishery production and an increasing population, aquaculture is perceived as having the greatest potential to produce more fish in the future to meet the growing demand for safe and quality aquatic food,” said the report, World Aquaculture in 2010.
The report, released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), states aquaculture has played an important role in reducing poverty in many parts of the world. However, it says it has not grown evenly throughout the planet.
Eleven out of the 15 leading aquaculture-producing countries are located in the Asia-Pacific region, and in 2008 they accounted for 89.1 per cent of global production. Most remarkably, China alone contributed to 62.3 per cent of production in the region that year.
The report also states that there are marked differences in production levels and types of production. China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and India for example, lead production levels of shrimp and prawns, while Norway and Chile produce mostly salmon.
The report warns that governments need to invest in aquaculture so they can continue to enjoy its benefits and address the challenges that are linked to this practice.
“Achieving the global aquaculture sector’s long-term goal of economic, social and environmental sustainability depends primarily on continued commitments by governments to provide and support a good governance framework for the sector,” the report says.
Key concerns regarding aquaculture include quality and safety standards, traceability, certification and eco-labelling. In addition, aquaculture faces major challenges due to climate change and the economic downturn in many countries, which could particularly affect small producers in Asia and Africa, where they make up the backbone of the industry.
The report calls for governments to increase their efforts to assist small-scale producers by organizing them into associations and through the promotion of better management practices to ensure the industry can continue to meet the global demand for fish.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS

The goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS infections among children and ensuring that infected mothers stay healthy throughout pregnancy and after delivery can be met by the 2015 deadline with sufficient political commitment and adequate resources, the head of the United Nations agency spearheading the global response to the pandemic said today.
“Mother by mother, clinic by clinic, and country by country we can reach pregnant women with HIV services to ensure their babies are born free from HIV and to improve their own health,”
According to UNAIDS, an estimated 90 per cent of new HIV infections among children occur in 22 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and India.
A global plan to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keep their mothers healthy and alive was launched during the UN high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS in New York in June. It was developed by a global team co-chaired by UNAIDS and United States President’s Emergency Plan on AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Representatives from the 22 most affected countries will meet in South Africa next week to assess country plans. The two-day meeting will focus on country gap analysis and how to boost momentum in the campaign against HIV infections among children.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Train thousands of school principals,to benefit million of children

The United Nations educational agency has embarked on a new partnership to train thousands of school principals, beginning in Kenya, Ghana and India, that has the potential to benefit up to 10 million children in the future.
new platforms for cooperation the world needs today to achieve education for all
The agency added that the multiplier effect of the programme has the potential to benefit thousands of teachers and up to 10 million children.
Under the initiative,leadership and professional development  improve the skills and knowledge of the school principals.
The 50 to 60 trainers will be further supported to train 500 principals in Ghana, Kenya and India.
During the subsequent three years, the 500 trained principals will in turn be responsible for training all the beneficiaries.
67 million children around the world have no access to education .

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are taking an enormous toll in human health

Lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are taking an enormous toll in human health and economic development on the Pacific islands, the leaders of two countries in the region told the United Nations today, calling for accelerated efforts to defeat the problem.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Seed is critical input for long-term sustained growth of agriculture.

The foodgrain production in 2010-11 reached a record level of 241.6 million tonnes. Among crops, record production was achieved in the case of wheat, pulses, oil seeds and cotton. 

Elaborating the farm growth further, that during the quarter ending March 31 this year, farm output achieved an impressive growth rate of 7.5 per cent. On a yearly basis, Agriculture and Allied Sector grew at 6.6% in the last fiscal.

There will be more competitive demand on land and water, progressive fragmentation of land holdings, degrading natural resource base and emerging concerns of climate change. We also have to look for sustaining agricultural growth against the backdrop of limited availability of natural resources especially cultivable land. Thus, increase in agricultural production would have to emanate only by enhancement in farm productivity from existing cultivated area. 

Low productivity still remains a major concern for Indian agriculture. While our yields compare poorly to global average, we also have significant yield gap between the ‘optimal’ yield and actual field productivity. There is also large difference in crop yields across states and regions. Low farm productivity often results in cascading effect on the farmers both in terms of increasing cost of production and less farm remuneration. 

Enhancement of agricultural productivity can come from deploying location-specific high yielding crop varieties, balanced fertiliser doses, effective transfer of technology, increasing water use efficiency, timely supply of quality inputs, and capacity building through extensive agricultural extension. Towards this direction, this Ministry is implementing various developmental schemes to cater to the needs of farming community. Flagship schemes like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Horticulture Mission (NHM) etc. have already been instrumental in enhancing farm productivity and increasing crop production. 

Seed is critical input for long-term sustained growth of agriculture. In India, more than four-fifths of farmers rely on farm-saved seeds, resulting in low production and seed replacement rate and Government is seized of this issue and addressing the same, through various programmes/schemes. The focus has to be on increasing the Seed Replacement Rate, introducing better high yielding varieties, strengthening of infrastructure facilities for production and distribution of quality seeds and taking up more and more villages under the Seed Villages Programme. 

Bringing green Revolution to the eastern region scheme aims at improving productivity of rice based cropping system in selected states, ‘Integrated development of 60,000 pulse villages in rainfed areas’ is focussing at attaining self sufficiency in production of pulses. Five more initiatives have been launched pursuant to Union Budget-2011-12 for enhancing availability of fodder, vegetables, nutria-cereals, oil palm and protein supplements. 

However, we have to be more vigilant in ensuring that advantages gained so far are sustained in future too. During this kharif season, although higher area coverage is being witnessed in Rice, Oilseeds and Cotton crops, there is a decreasing trend in both Pulses and Coarse Cereals. I would like to urge upon the States to take a note of this situation. 

Soil health is crucial for ensuring farm productivity. However, over the years marginal productivity of soil has been witnessing a declining trend. Thus, high priority needs to be accorded to soil health and nutrient management. While nutrient management primarily focus on bringing back soil fertility, ecological sustainability and overall cost effectiveness also needs equal attention. Adoption of multi-nutrient carriers that are soil and crops specific and customised on the basis of soil testing is emerging as a viable alternative to conventional approach. Besides, organic nutrient sources like farm yard manure, crop residue, vermi compost, bio fertilisers, green manure etc. can also play a key role in adopting eco-friendly agriculture. 

Minimum Support Prices (MSP) is an effective instrument for ensuring remunerative prices to farmers. Besides, to protect growers from distress sale in event of bumper crop of agricultural and horticultural commodities, which are generally perishable, Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) is also being implemented in some States.
Sustaining agricultural growth through mobilization of higher investment in agriculture, augmenting and bridging yield gaps, enhancing farm income, ensuring livelihoods and providing safety net to the farmers. However, one size fits all policy may not be of much help.

Malnutritions Soil Breeds Malnutrition Humans

90% of food requirement will have to come from the soil .land is becoming diminishing resource for  agriculture,food security will depend upon the sustainable management of land resources ,conservation of prime farmlands for agriculture .National commission on farmers has emphasised the need for replacing the 1894 land acquisition law with a 21st century legislation that safeguards the interest of the farmers and farming .
A high level panel of experts set up under my chairmanship in 2010 by the UN Committee on food security has recently submitted to the CFS a report on land tenure and international investments in agriculture ,potential impact of acquisitions particularly on Africa ,on food security .It has been estimated that 50million to 80mln hectors of farmlands in developing countries has been the subject of negations by international investors in recent years Africa widely know as HOT SPOT for endemic hunger.
American farmers will for the first time harvest during 2011 more maize for ethanol production that for food or feed .In Europe about 50% repressed is likely to be used for biological production .the plant animal man food chain will need several times more land for production a calorie of meat as compared to a calorie of cereal or vegetable .

Price of rice and wheat observed in 2008 was largely due to steep increase in the price of fossil fuels
Diversion of production of farmlands for fuel production in industrial countries ,increasing consumption of meat on the part of the affluent and loss of land to roads ,houses and industries are likely to lead  acute food security .
Food security first should be the motto of the land bill ,in Brazil where such investments provide a win win situation for both food and energy security .
In 1981 member states of the FAO adopted a word soil charter ,containing a set of principles for the optimum use of land resources and for the improvement of their productivity as well as conservation
IN May 2011at a conference at the institute of advanced sustainability studies ,Potsdam ,germany , a global soil forum was formed for enhancing investment  in soil resources assessment and management .
Over 15 years ago a glogal water partnership was formed to stimulate attention and action at the national and  global levels on sustainable water security ,it was conferred .
GWP was formed to stimulate attention and action at the national regional and global levels on sustainable water security .it was conferred the status of an international organisation of a GSP to work closely with the GWP is timely .
Soil anaemia also breeds human anaemia or what we call  malnutritions soil breeds malnutrition humans, micronutrient deficiency in the soil results in micro nutrient malnutrition in people ,the critical role soil plays in food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation has to be widely understood.
,soil carbon banks represent in a sustainable and equitable manner needs a new political vision ,which can be expressed through the proposed land bill the year 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the rio earth summit and the 40th anniversary of the Stockholm conference on the human environment .

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Almost 2 million Indian children under 5 die annually

Almost 2 million Indian children under 5 die annually

By Nita Bhalla | 2 hour(s) ago | Comments ( 0 )
More than 1.74 million children in India die every year before they reach their fifth birthday, the government was quoted as saying by the Indian Express on Wednesday.
"As per SRS (Sample Registration System) data 2009, 17.4 lakh children are estimated to die before the age of five years,” Sudip Bandyopadhay, minister of state for health, said in a written reply in parliament. (1 lakh equals 100,000)
About 55 percent of the deaths were neonatal or deaths in the first 28 days of life, he said, adding that deaths due to pneumonia and diarrhoea accounted for 11 percent of the total.

Muslims across the world have been feeling the effects of rising food prices during Ramadan

Muslims across the world have been feeling the effects of rising food prices during Ramadan, says Oxfam and MADE in Europe

25 Aug 2011 13:22
Source: Member // Oxfam
Rising food prices and a lack of political will has affected how millions of people across the world have been breaking their fasts during the holy month of Ramadan.
Oxfam has been speaking to communities in the Muslim world as families gather together for Iftar (Breaking of the Fast) at sunset. This is the time of day when people reflect on their fast and come together as a family. Many have been speaking about how food has become much more expensive and how this has been an incredibly tough Ramadan for them.
Rising food prices are already affecting how Muslims are breaking their fasts, and with depleting land and energy resources and the gathering pace of climate change, this is likely to get worse in the future.
?For many people around the world Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and remembering those that are less fortunate and hungry. We must ensure that people always have enough to eat, especially at the end of a fast when people need to replenish themselves.? said Penny Lawrence International Director for Oxfam.
One of the starkest examples is in East Africa, where more than 12 million people are facing desperate food shortages following, in some regions the worst drought in 60 years.
For the majority of people in Kenya?s Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world, where tens of thousands of people have recently arrived fleeing the famine and conflict in Somalia, this is a trying period.
Aisha, a woman in Dadaab, told how she prepares a simple meal of maize flour paste (Ugali) and beans for her family at the end of the day. ?Every fifteen days I get a few kilos of maize flour, beans and cooking oil which I use carefully until the next distribution dates,? she says. ?I know it is important to eat well during this time (Ramadan), but this is all I have.?
In Pakistan, prices of staple food items increased by 17 percent ahead of Ramadan, making food much more expensive for people compared to last year. The price of vegetables rose by 14 percent, wheat by 3 percent, rice by 3 percent, chicken by 19 percent and milk by 1 percent in July compared to last year. As opposed to other countries, Pakistan has enough stocks of staple food but the wavering economy and rising inflation have pushed tens of millions below the poverty line. With increased poverty and hike in the food prices, more and more Pakistanis are eating less and less.
In Bangladesh food inflation was recorded as 13.4 percent in July, 2011. Since the beginning of Ramadan prices of all staples except rice have increased significantly. Because of the price hike, millions of people across the country don't have adequate food. Jamila, a vegetable vendor of Dhaka Cantonment area, says "prices of vegetables, lentils, and other necessary commodities such as date, chickpeas have risen so high in this Ramadan that I am finding it extremely difficult to manage my family expenditure".
In Yemen, families have been saying that sugar, rice and wheat are more expensive this Ramadan and for many there this has been one of the toughest Ramadans. One desperate woman Oxfam spoke to said she had been worrying about what she would be breaking her fast with that evening as she couldn't afford food. ?Everything has become expensive since last Ramadan, sugar, rice and wheat.? she said.
With one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, nearly 80 percent of people in Gaza depend on some form of humanitarian assistance to survive. Despite high levels of food aid, the World Food Programme recently found that 66 percent of families in Gaza still do not have enough food to eat. Around 40 percent of all items that Israel allows into Gaza are food items destined for grocery shelves, but this is of little help to families who cannot afford even basic food goods. The average family in Gaza spends over 60 percent of their money on food. Many families used to fish, raise sheep and chickens, or grow some of their own food, but with access to the sea and open land heavily restricted it has become increasingly difficult to undertake these initiatives under the Israeli blockade.
In Azerbaijan, Oxfam spoke to families who said that the price of mutton has increased by one-fifth since last Ramadan, which means families have to reduce the amount of mutton from their daily meals.
The UK has also seen rising food prices, with families in London saying that the prices of basic necessities such as rice and oil have increased.
With 925 million people going hungry every day and food prices predicted to more than double within the next twenty years, the food crisis is deepening.
MADE in Europe and Oxfam are both demanding a step change from governments to act and help steer us away from an age of crisis to a more sustainable and fair future by better regulating markets, tackling climate change and investing in sustainable agriculture to ensure people have enough to eat.
"Ramadan is a time when we reflect on the blessings that each of us have and experience in some small way the hunger that people around the world endure on a daily basis.� In the UK we have been fasting for 18-hour days but know that at the end of it, there is going to be enough food and water for us to quench our hunger and thirst?, said Saif Ahmad CEO of MADE in Europe.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus was eliminated

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today urged heightened preparedness and surveillance amid signs that a mutant strain of the deadly bird flu virus is spreading in Asia and beyond.
While the H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006, it remained endemic in six nations. Outbreaks have risen since then, with almost 800 cases recorded between 2010 and 2011
The agency’s chief veterinary officer, Juan Lubroth, said that migrations have helped the virus travel over long distances and expand geographically. In the past two years, the H5N1 virus has shown up in poultry or wild birds in countries that had been virus-free for several years.
Areas recently affected by the virus are found in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal and Mongolia.
Mr. Lubroth said another cause for concern is the appearance in China and Viet Nam of a variant virus that is able to bypass the defences provided by existing vaccines.
Most of the northern and central parts of Viet Nam, where H5N1 is endemic, have been invaded by the new virus strain, known as H5N1 – The country had suspended its springtime poultry vaccination campaign this year.
Viet Nam’s veterinary services are on high alert and reportedly considering a targeted vaccination campaign this fall. FAO noted that virus circulation in Viet Nam poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia as well as endangering the Korean peninsula and Japan. Wild bird migration can also spread the virus to other continents.
Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Viet Nam, where the virus is still firmly entrenched, are likely to face the biggest problems but all countries need to be vigilant, said Mr. Lubroth.
“Preparedness and surveillance remain essential,” he stressed. “This is no time for complacency. No one can let their guard down with H5N1.”
Speaking to UN Radio, Mr. Lubroth said that there is no indication that the new virus strain will behave differently than the previous one or that it is more dangerous to humans. He also noted that all countries, and not just those where the virus is entrenched, should be concerned that it has not been possible to eliminate and contain the H5N1 virus.
Poultry production and marketing will determine how the disease will spread, he pointed out. “Production practices and marketing practices should be better regulated and more hygienic, as the consumer needs to be protected as well as the production facilities because so many people’s livelihoods depend upon poultry and poultry rearing,” he stated.
Since 2003 the H5N1 virus has killed or forced the culling of more than 400 million domestic poultry and caused an estimated $20 billion of economic damage across the globe before it was eliminated from most of the 63 infected countries.
It has infected 565 people since it first appeared, killing 331 of them, according to the UN World Health Organization( WHO). The latest death occurred earlier this month in Cambodia, which has registered eight cases of human infection this year – all of them fatal.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The high of dope and drug

The high of dope and drug is much lower then the high of fighting for the people's right. Want a high ? Fight for people's right " Happy Independence Day "  Jai Hind 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Focus on concrete action on Horn of Africa

 FAO is to host a high-level operational meeting on 18 August 2011 to agree on urgent measures in response to the worsening crisis in the Horn of Africa. FAO has also issued a road map for its support to short-term agricultural recovery in the region, requiring immediate funding of about $103 million.

The meeting, to which agriculture ministers of all FAO's 191 member countries have been invited, will take stock of the evolving situation, needs and shortfalls in the crisis and identify concrete programmes, projects and other actions by governments in the Horn of Africa and their humanitarian and development partners to address both immediate requirements and underlying causes.

It follows up on the Emergency Ministerial-level Meeting on the Horn of Africa held in Rome on 25 July and sets the scene for the pledging Conference called by the African Union in Addis Ababa on 25 August.

From crisis to recovery

The follow-up Rome meeting will discuss how to help populations recover from the crisis — in complement to dealing with immediate food shortages.  It will consider measures such as cash for work for agricultural and water harvesting, seed and inputs distribution, support to vaccination and animal feeding, irrigation, storage of food at village level and rural infrastructure. These urgent actions will smoothly transition into FAO and development partners support to governments' medium- to long-term plans.

The meeting will focus on a twin-track approach to resolving the famine in Somalia and the broader emergency in the Horn of Africa, building resilience over the long haul and supporting livelihoods over the short, medium and long-term.

"When you see the sheer numbers of animal dead bodies along the road you know that this means that people have less capacity to buy their food today and tomorrow. FAO is concerned that support to incomes and safeguarding people's assets has so far been largely overlooked and this will make recovery slower," said Cristina Amaral, Chief of Operations in FAO's Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division.

Lives and livelihoods
FAO had asked for $161 million to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of farmers and pastoralists across the drought-struck Horn of Africa and has received or had commitments for around $57 million.

"FAO's current funding gap stands at around $103 million to provide immediate support to crisis-affected populations," FAO said.

The agency's road map details FAO's short term strategy in the region, focussing on actions to save lives and livelihoods both at regional and country level.

Of the funds being sought, $70 million is intended for Somalia where planned interventions include distribution of seeds and other inputs, provision of animal feed, livestock vaccination and treatment, cash-for-work schemes and infrastructure improvement.

"It is vital that we not only save lives today but also save the livelihoods on which people's lives depend tomorrow," said Rod Charters, Senior Emergency and Rehabilitation Coordinator for the Region. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

UN urges rapid response to measles outbreak in Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia

The United Nations on Saturday voiced alarm at the plight of Somali refugees in the Dollo Ado camps in south-eastern Ethiopia following an outbreak of suspected measles, and called for urgent action to assist an already vulnerable population.

So far there have been 47 official cases and three deaths from suspected measles in the Kobe camp of 25,000 people over the past week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a news release.

Other suspected cases have been reported in the other two refugee camps in the area, as well as in the transit centre where there are just over 15,000 refugees awaiting relocation to the newly-opened Hilaweyn camp.

“This situation is alarming and we cannot afford to wait. We must act now, urgently and decisively, to arrest and turn around this situation,” said Moses Okello, UNHCR's Representative in Ethiopia, following a visit to Dollo Ado.

UNHCR noted that the health of the refugees, who fled the famine in their homeland, is already fragile. “The mix of measles and high levels of malnutrition can be fatal,” the agency warned.

Health experts said high rates of acute malnutrition, low vaccination coverage in Somalia and overcrowding in the camps are some of the aggravating factors associated with this outbreak.

Mr. Okello, who said he was “shaken” by the situation in Dollo Ado, held an urgent meeting today with Ethiopian Government officials and UNHCR health partners to agree a plan of action.

He said the first priority is a mass vaccination campaign, calling on all UNHCR partners to scale up their capacity to meet the “extremely serious public health challenges.”

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), through Ethiopia's Ministry of Health, are providing the needed vaccines. Vaccination of all children between the ages of six months and 15 years of age was started Friday for all refugee children being transferred from the transit centre to the Hilaweyn camps.

UNHCR and the Ethiopian Government will lead a team of health experts to Dollo Ado tomorrow to support the roll-out of an action plan that includes the preparation of a mass vaccination campaign to begin on 9 August for all children aged six months to 15 years in Kobe camp – the most affected camp.

As of 5 August the number of Somali refugees in the Dollo Ado camps had reached 118,400. Nearly 78,000 of them arrived this year. This is in addition to more than 41,600 Somali refugees in the Jijiga area of the Somali region. Ethiopia hosts a total of 237,500 refugees, mainly from Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Breastfeeding can save your baby’s life

1 August 2011 – 
The United Nations and its partners are promoting the use of all possible means of communication, including social networking, blogs and even flash mobs, to get the message out on the benefits of breastfeeding beyond clinics and delivery rooms to the wider public.Breastfeeding is directly linked to reducing the death toll of children under five, yet only 36 per cent of infants below the age of six months in developing countries are exclusively breastfed, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“With so much at stake, we need to do more to reach women with a simple, powerful message: Breastfeeding can save your baby’s life,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated from 1 to 7 August.

Famine is spreading, says U.N.

Another three regions in Somalia are in famine, the U.N. declared on August 3 as it warned that the international humanitarian response to the crisis has been inadequate.
The U.N. said the prevalence of acute malnutrition and rates of mortality surpassed the famine thresholds in areas of Middle Shabelle, the Afgoye corridor refugee settlement and internally displaced communities in Mogadishu, the capital. The U.N. last month said two other regions in southern Somalia — Bakool and Lower Shabelle — were suffering from famine, defined as when acute malnutrition exceeds 30 per cent and when the death rate exceeds two per 10,000 a day.
About 450,000 people live in Somalia's famine zones, said Grainne Moloney, Chief Technical Adviser for the U.N.'s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.
The U.N.'s food arm, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said famine is likely to spread across all regions of Somalia's south in the next four to six weeks, with famine conditions likely to last until December.
A humanitarian emergency exists across all other regions of southern Somalia, and there have already been tens of thousands, according to the U.N.
Till December
“The current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling up emergency assistance programmes, as well as funding gaps,” said the U.N.'s famine early warning system network. As a result, famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011. Continued efforts to implement an immediate, large-scale, and comprehensive response are needed.” Aid efforts have been hampered in the south as elements of al-Shabaab, the Islamist insurgents, have refused access to western relief agencies. Throughout Somalia, 3.7 million people are in crisis, with 3.2 million people in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance, 2.8 million of whom are in the south.
A senior U.N. official, on August 3 appealed to all Somalis, both inside and outside the country, to work together to support the peace process and alleviate the plight of those suffering from famine.
“This is a time of great crisis, but also of rare opportunity. It is a time for everyone to pull together to help those suffering and to work towards a better future for all,” Augustine Mahiga, the U.N. Special Representative for Somalia, said in a letter to the Somali diaspora. “I appeal to all those who are able — Somalis and the international community alike — to give as much as they can during this holy month (Ramadan) to feed the hungry, heal the sick and prevent the famine spreading further.” Mahiga noted that one of the contributing factors to the famine has been the fighting in the country and he criticised extremists for preventing the movement of people from the worst-hit areas.
“We call for the humanitarian agencies to be given unhindered access to all areas to provide desperately needed help,” he said. 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

UN focuses on global efforts to prevent and defeat hepatitis

The United Nations tomorrow will mark World Hepatitis Day for the first time to bring attention to the disease that affects almost one in every three persons on Earth.“We know what needs to be done,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “Viral hepatitis is one of the most prevalent and serious infectious diseases in the world. It deserves much more attention, understanding and action. These are the goals we are aiming for today.”
The World Hepatitis Alliance, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has been marking 28 July as a day of awareness of the disease since 2008. The WHO’s governing body voted last year to join the effort with a worldwide programme of posters, radio and television spots and social media information campaigns.
The theme of the campaign – “Know it, confront it. Hepatitis affects everyone, everywhere” – was designed to highlight the fact that more than two billion people have been infected by the virus, and each year nearly one million deaths are attributed to viral hepatitis infections.
Dr. Chan said WHO’s first recommendation in the battle against the disease is to get tested, as millions of people carry the disease without any symptoms, but could develop life-threatening diseases later in life. WHO also calls for increased vaccinations for the strains that can be stopped by immunization, better screening for blood transfers and the use of sterile equipment in medical facilities.
“Safe food and water are the best protection against hepatitis A and E,” Dr. Chan said, “as well as many other diseases.”
According to WHO, hepatitis A occurs when a person eats or drinks something contaminated by the stool of an infected person, and is associated with inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene. An estimated 1.4 million cases of this strain occur annually. Improved sanitation and the hepatitis A vaccine are the most effective ways to combat the disease.
Hepatitis B, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person, is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. About 2 billion people worldwide have been infected with the virus, about 350 million live with chronic infection, and an estimated 600,000 of them die each year.
The virus, 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV, is preventable with a vaccine. Common modes of transmission in developing countries are: from mother to baby at birth, unsafe injection practices, blood transfusions, and sexual contact.
Hepatitis C, which can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, life-long chronic condition that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer, is transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected person. About 130 million to 170 million people are chronically infected with it and more than 350,000 people die from hepatitis C-related liver diseases each year. It is curable with antivirals, but there is no vaccine to prevent it.
Hepatitis D occurs only in those who are infected with hepatitis B. The dual infection of can result in a more serious disease and worse outcome. Hepatitis B vaccines provide protection from hepatitis D infection.
Hepatitis E, like A, is transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. This strain is a common cause of hepatitis outbreaks in developing countries and is increasingly recognized as a cause of disease in developed countries. Vaccines to prevent this infection have been developed but are not widely available.
“Viral hepatitis is a huge global health problem,” said Dr. Chan. “Much needs to be done to combat these infections. And much can be done. Better awareness beginning with this World Hepatitis Day is a very good start.”

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Millions of children reached in UN-run anti-measles vaccination in DR Congo

26 July 2011 – 
Some 3.1 million children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been vaccinated against measles in a United Nations-coordinated campaign to combat the disease outbreak which has claimed the lives of 1,145 children since the start of this year.The measles epidemic affected a total of 115,600 children between January and June, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a press release issued yesterday, adding that the vaccination campaign was funded with $1.9 million.
The campaign, which kicked off on 10 May, was coordinated by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) in the provinces of Katanga, Kasai Occidental, Bas-Congo, Equateur and Orientale.
“The funding – equivalent to 61 cents per child – helped protect the health of millions of children,” said Fidèle Sarassoro, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for DRC. “We thank our partners and urge them to continue supporting us, especially now that DRC is facing other epidemics, including cholera in the west of the country,” said Mr. Sarassoro.
Some 5,407 cases of measles were reported in DRC last year, causing 82 deaths, compared to 899 cases, including 26 fatalities, in 2009.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which mostly affects children. It is transmitted through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Initial symptoms, which usually appear between eight to 12 days after infection, include high fever, a running nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. A rash then develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading to the rest of the body.
In malnourished children and people with reduced immunity, the disease can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, ear infection, pneumonia and even death.

UN team calls for end to use of children in conflict in Central African Republic

25 July 2011 – 
The Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict has expressed concern over continuing violations of children’s rights in the Central African Republic (CAR) and urged all armed groups in the country to immediately halt the practice.In a press statement issued today following the Working Group’s 31st meeting last month, the chair of the United Nations body urged all the groups to develop time-bound action plans on the removal of children armed groups, in line with the Council’s previous resolutions.
Specifically addressing the group known as the Armée Populaire pour la restauration de la République et de la Démocratie (APRD), the Working Group welcoming the removal of children from its ranks, urging it to ensure the “comprehensive and definitive release of all remaining children.”
Addressing the Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement (UFDR), the Front Démocratique du Peuple Centrafricain (FDPC) and the Mouvement des Libérateurs Centrafricains pour la Justice (MLJC), the Working Group voiced concern over ongoing recruitment of children and other violations against children and called upon the three groups to immediately cease the abuses enter into dialogue with the UN.
The Working Group also expressed concern over the lack of humanitarian access in areas under the control of the Convention des Patriotes pour la Justice et la Paix (CPJP) in the north-eastern part of the country, as well as persistent reports of recruitment and abuses of children.
The Working Group welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire by CPJP, and encouraged the faction to start dialogue with the Government with a view to signing the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
It strongly condemned abuses against children committed against children by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), including recruitment, rape and other forms of sexual violence and abductions in the south-eastern and eastern areas of CAR.
Addressing the Government, the Working Group expressed serious concern over the recruitment and use of children by local self-defence militias and called upon the authorities to reiterate their prohibition of the practice, ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all children associated with those groups, and to deny support for militias that recruit and use children.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

“Hungry children do not make good student”

World leaders fulfilling their promise to educate the 75m children out of school by 2015 ,is looking far remote . The target was set in senegal in 2000 as part of the education for all goals .it is also the second of the millennium development goals.
25m more children are in school than were in 2000 .but due to the global recession progress may be stop . The global campaign for education GCE stduy -education on the Brink -argues .During financial crisis we will reap short term gains ,by generating employment ,building a skilled and educated labour force. , we have to invest more in education sector in order to reap the fruits in future . World need 18m extra teacher by 2015.

Congolese cholera outbreak continues to spread, UN health agency says

25 July 2011 – 
The cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to intensify and has spread to the neighbouring Republic of Congo as well, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has reported, as international efforts step up to combat the disease.At least 3,896 cases have been reported in the DRC since the outbreak began there in March, and in the Republic of Congo, where the outbreak was first noted last month, some 181 cases are suspected.
As of 20 July, 265 people in the DRC have died while six people have lost their lives in the Republic of Congo, according to an update issued by WHO on Friday.
“There is a high risk of the epidemic further spreading along the Congo River,” a key transport link in the region, WHO stated.
“The outbreak has been reported to have spread to new locations, particularly in Kinshasa [the DRC capital], where there are large population groups with inadequate safe water.”
WHO is currently conducting a rapid risk assessment to identify urgent needs, while the agency has also deployed two epidemiologists, a health promotion officer and a logistician to support local health officials.
Authorities in the DRC and the Republic of Congo have been working with UN agencies, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to set up cholera treatment centres in affected areas and boost surveillance and case management measures.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacterium known as vibrio cholerae. The disease has a short incubation period and produces a toxin that causes continuous watery diarrhoea, a condition that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not administered promptly. Vomiting also occurs in most patients.
The disease remains a global threat and is one of the key indicators of social development, according to WHO. While cholera no longer poses a threat to countries with high standards of hygiene, it remains a challenge in countries with limited access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Cooperation with southeren somalia rebel would lead to better implementation of food relief measure.

According UN more than 6 out of every 10,000 people are dying of hunger everyday in some part of the bakool and lower shabelle region of Somalia with more than half the children there suffering acute malnutrition .Numerous disasters in the Horn of Africa ,it is the first famine has been declared here sice 1992 .Somalia is facing its worst food security crisis in 20 years. Neghbouring countries like , ethiopia , kenya , are facing the failure of rains in pastoralist areas ,soaring food prices and longer term issues such as underdevelopment and high population growth .Across the horn of africa ,11m people require food aid.Southern Somalia is controlled by the al-shabab islamists ,who stopped most international aid organisation including World Food Programme ,from operating in its areas two years ago only lifting the ban last week. Prices of food staples such as sorghum have increased more than three fold. Cooperation with southeren somalia rebel would lead to better implementation of food relief measure.  

NGREGA, bring real democracy to india's grass root.

INDIA country charactersied by sluggish agrarian economy ,marred by malnourised children and anaemic women as also sucide by farmer in distress . There is no doubt that NREGA has put some money in the hands of poor. But with exceptions. Without the appropriate government interventions ,widespread unemployment would be a characteristic feature of capitalism . One is to reduce taxes so that taxpayers .another is a large scale public work programme like NREGA which creates purchasing power among worker . When those receving tax breaks or working on NREGA site spend this additional money ,they create demand for commodities .demand stimulating process is called multiplier. The value of this multiplier depends on the marginal propensity to consume of those benefiting from government intervention .the mpc is our extra spending out of the additional rupee we earn . Clearly the higher the mpc ther greater tjhe stimulus provided to demand. NRGEA from this point of view is that it is putting money into the hands of those whose mpc is the highest ,those on the margins of existence are more likely to spend than save most of what they earn.
NGREGA is much more than an ad hoc relief programme dishing out doles or what these days are more fashionably called direct cash transfer. Not many people knows what data from the rural labour enquiry of the national sample survey confirm that a very high proportions of agricultural labour household on india actually owns land .under NGREGA , FARMER come back to land they long abandoned .it is a revolutionary act that seeks to bring real democracy to india's grass root.

Economic sanctions worsening hunger in Madagascar, UN expert warns

22 July 2011 – 
An independent United Nations expert said today it is time to reconsider the economic sanctions imposed on Madagascar following the 2009 political crisis, warning that they are aggravating an already dire situation in which one in two inhabitants of the country is food insecure.“All food security indicators are in the red,” Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, said at a press conference in the capital, Antananarivo, as he concluded his official mission to the Indian Ocean island nation.
“The result is that Madagascar today has one of the highest levels of child malnutrition in the world, with levels comparable to those of Afghanistan or Yemen,” he stated.
Madagascar has been subject to economic sanctions ever since the political crisis that erupted in 2009. Mr. De Schutter said the decision to suspend Madagascar from the African Growth and Opportunities Act by the United States has cost at least 50,000 jobs in the textile sector, which had accounted for half of Madagascar’s exports.
In addition, the European Union has halted programmes that were ready to be signed before the political crisis, suspending all development aid channelled through the Government.
“The total loss in expected aid is estimated to be about 600 million euros,” said the expert, adding that while humanitarian aid by donors channelled through non-governmental organizations has significantly increased, the nature of this assistance does not allow for a sustainable reduction of poverty levels.
“It’s high time now to reconsider the sanctions regime,” Mr. De Schutter stated. At the same time, he added, the country’s transitional authorities must not use the sanctions as a “pretext for inaction to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe for its population.”
He noted two “promising dynamics” that had been launched prior to the crisis: the development of high performance ecological agriculture and land reform aimed at securing access to land for the population.
“Madagascar has a unique potential for ecological agriculture,” he said. “We know that the system of intensive rice cultivation, a pure Malagasy invention, allows to double, triple or even quadruple yields.
“A national strategy to support this type of ecological production could make the large island self-sufficient in rice in thee years, whereas it is currently importing annually 100,000 to 150,000 tons of rice. But for this to happen, the authorities must decide to act,” he stated.
“Similarly, the process of securing land titles also appears to have stalled,” Mr. De Schutter said, noting that before the crisis investors were eager to acquire the best lands of the island. But today, investors are scarce, “chilled by the political conflict,” and the land certification process has slowed down. “What used to be a race is now moving forward in slow motion,” he said.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Independent UN expert urges South Africa to build a food economy to benefit all

15 July 2011 – 
An independent United Nations human rights expert today calledon South Africa to build a food economy that is inclusive and benefits all segments of the population, especially the millions who are poor and food insecure.“South Africa is a champion of institutionalizing social, economic and cultural rights such as the human right to food, but it has yet to prove it can deliver results for 12 million poor food insecure people, 70 per cent of which live in rural areas,” Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, said in Pretoria at the end of his official visit.
He praised South Africa for integrating the right to food in its Constitution. “But it is now time to build a food economy that benefits the majority of the population,” he said.
“We must create an inclusive food system for South Africa.”
A reorientation of agricultural support programmes, he said, would start with the recognition that South Africa is confronted with “a strongly dualized agricultural sector,” and that the current organization of markets has been inherited from the apartheid era.
“In contrast to the large white commercial farmers, the newly established black farmers are small-scale farmers, with a poor access to markets, a lack of marketing skills, and a weaker bargaining position in the food chains,” he said.
“If South Africa is to meet its target of creating 500,000 jobs in the agri-food sector, there is no alternative than to enable a large proportion of the 1.5 million subsistence households to graduate into small-scale farmers.”
Mr. De Schutter said the state should help design pro-poor food markets.
“South Africa needs to create food systems that work for the poor and not only sell to the poor,” he said. “Local food systems that promote fresh and nutritious food can be set up by a new set of policies. For instance, public procurement schemes can be made to work for rural development by allowing for preferential treatment in favour of small-scale farmers.”
Mr. De Schutter said South Africa had “many well-intentioned policies” that put food security at the top of the Government’s agenda, “but the results still are below expectations.”
The Special Rapporteur is an independent, non-paid expert who reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Security Council calls for parties that attack schools and hospitals to be held accountable

Security Council calls for parties that attack schools and hospitals to be held accountable

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses Security Council meeting on Children and Armed Conflict
12 July 2011 – 
The Security Council today, recognizing schools and hospitals as safe havens for children, called for all parties to conflict that attack such facilities to be held accountable and that they be added to the list published annually by the United Nations of those who commit grave violations against children.The list, contained in the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict, already names those parties which commit violations such as the recruitment of child soldiers, killing or maiming of children, and rape or other forms of sexual violence against children.
In the resolution adopted unanimously today, the Council – which has adopted seven previous resolutions on children and armed conflict – recognized attacks on schools and hospitals as a grave violation of children’s rights, and called for perpetrators of such violence to be listed in the annual report.
“Places of learning and places of healing should never be places of war,”Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks to the Council, as it began a day-long debate on the issue of children and armed conflict during which it was expected to hear from over 50 delegations.
“It has sent a consistent and clear message: Protecting children in armed conflict is a peace and security issue, and the international community will not tolerate grave violations of this principle,” he said.
“Today’s resolution takes us one step further,” he added. “It not only emphasizes that schools and hospitals should be zones of peace respected by all parties to conflict, it adds attacks on schools and hospitals as listing criteria in my annual reports on children in armed conflict.”
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict hailed the action taken by the Council to expand the criteria for listing parties in the report. “The promise of this resolution is very real,” Radhika Coomaraswamytold the 15-member body.
“During my visits to conflict areas, I have personally seen the devastation – schools completely destroyed, bombed or burnt to the ground… Attacks on hospitals are two-fold atrocities. Not only do they kill and wound girls and boys, but they leave children without access to treatment.”
According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), schools have become the target of violent attacks or threats by both State security forces and non-State armed groups in at least 31 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
“These horrific attacks are not only a violation of international and humanitarian law, they are a violation of our common humanity,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “And today, the Council has affirmed that attacks on schools and hospitals are attacks on children – and must be treated as such. For these grave violations are alarmingly common.”
He said such attacks have devastating consequences on children’s lives and on their communities, weakening education and health systems and potentially deepening deprivations and disparities.
“Today, the Security Council has taken a major step toward ending the culture of impunity and protecting children at their most vulnerable,” he told the meeting.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

UN reports progress towards poverty alleviation, urges increased support for the poorest

UN reports progress towards poverty alleviation, urges increased support for the poorest

7 July 2011 – 
Some of the world’s poorest countries have made impressive gains in the fight against poverty, but the least developed countries still lag in efforts to improve living standards, the United Nations said today in a reportshowing significant overall progress towards achieving the global targets against extreme poverty.Giving examples of achievements, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report – prepared by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) – says that Burundi, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Togo and Tanzania attained or are nearing the goal of universal primary education, one of the targets.
Considerable progress has also been made in Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique and Niger, where net enrolment ratios in primary school increased by more than 25 percentage points from 1999 to 2009.
Sub-Saharan Africa, with an 18 percentage point gain in school enrolment between 1999 and 2009, is the region with the best record of improvement, according to the report.
Despite significant setbacks caused by the global economic crisis that plunged much of the world into recession in 2008 and 2009, and the high food and energy prices, the world is still on track to achieve the MDGs, according to the report.
“Despite these declines, current trends suggest that the momentum of growth in the developing world remains strong enough to sustain the progress needed to reach the global poverty-reduction target,” the report says. “Based on recently updated projections from the World Bank, the overall poverty rate is still expected to fall below 15 per cent by 2015, indicating that the Millennium Development Goal target can be met.”
The number of deaths of children under the age of five declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009, which means nearly 12,000 fewer children die each day. Increased funding and intensive control efforts have cut deaths from malaria by 20 per cent worldwide – from nearly 985,000 in 2000 to 781,000 in 2009, the reports notes.
Increased funding from various sources has also expanded key programmes, such as treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The report, however, stressed that efforts need to be intensified especially among the most vulnerable members of the global population who continue to be marginalised as a result of sex, age, ethnicity or disability. Disparities in progress between urban and rural areas also remain significant, according to the report.
The document points out, for example, that wide gaps remain in women’s access to paid work in at least half of all regions and following the job losses in 2008 and 2009, the growth in employment during the economic recovery in 2010, especially in the developing world, was lower for women than for men.
“The poorest of the world are being left behind. We need to reach out and lift them into our lifeboat,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during the launch of the report during the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva. “Now is the time for equity, inclusion, sustainability and women’s empowerment,” he added.
“Achieving all the MDGs will require extra effort. Even where we have seen rapid growth, as in East Asia and other parts of the developing world, progress is not universal, nor are the benefits evenly shared,” said Mr. Ban. “Stubbornly high unemployment persists in rich and poor countries alike. And in many cases, the wealth gap is widening between the prosperous and the marginalized and between urban and rural,” he added.
The report also highlights the fact that as a result of concerted efforts to achieve the MDGs, new HIV infections have been on a steady decline. In 2009, some 2.6 million people were newly infected with HIV – a 21 per cent drop since 1997, when new infections peaked. The number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV or AIDS increased 13-fold from 2004 to 2009, thanks to increased funding and expanded programmes.
An estimated 1.1 billion people in urban areas and 723 million people in rural areas gained access to an improved drinking water source between 1990 and 2008.
Progress has, however, been uneven, the report notes, highlighting the large gaps between and within countries. The poorest children made the slowest progress in terms of improved nutrition and survival, and nearly a quarter of children in the developing world were underweight in 2009, with the poorest children most affected.
Advances in sanitation has also often bypassed the poor and those living in rural areas, with more than 2.6 billion people still lacking access to toilets or other forms of improved sanitation. In Southern Asia, for example, sanitation coverage for the poorest 40 per cent of households hardly increased between 1995 and 2008.
“Everywhere, social inequalities have grown too wide,” Mr. Ban later toldreporters. “We need to change that. We need to do things differently. We need a renewed global partnership for global social progress.”
The MDGs were agreed at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, with eight targets for reducing extreme poverty and hunger, improving health and education, empowering women and ensuring environmental sustainability by 2015.
Last year, world leaders attending a summit at UN Headquarters reaffirmed their commitment to the goals and called for intensified collective action and the expansion of successful approaches. A Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health was also launched, attracting over $40 billion in pledges.