‘Hunger, poverty reduction, employment, quality education, need focus’

‘Hunger, poverty reduction, employment, quality education, need focus’

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Although Bangladesh has already met targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there are still areas that need greater attention including hunger-poverty reduction, employment generation and ensuring quality education at all levels.
‘Millennium Development Goals: Bangladesh Progress Report-2015’ published on Wednesday ata city hotel at the initiative of the General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission, says this.
The report showed that the MDG targets that Bangladesh has achieved include reducing headcount poverty and poverty gap ratio, reducing the prevalence of underweight children, attaining gender parity at primary and secondary education, under-five mortality rate reduction, containing HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs, under-five children sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets, detection and TB cure rate under DOTS and others.Besides, Bangladesh has made a remarkable progress in increasing enrolment at primary schools, lowering the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio, improving immunisation coverage and reducing the incidence of communicable diseases.
The MDG progress report 2015 also said the areas in need of greater attention are increases in primary school completion and adult literacy rates, creation of decent wage employment for women, increase in the presence of skilled health professionals at delivery, increase in correct and comprehensive knowledge on HIV/AIDS, increase in forest coverage and coverage of ICT.
Speaking on the occasion, Muhith said some of the countries have almost fully succeeded in the achieving the goals and targets of the MDGs like Bangladesh, while some of them are yet to do that but they never gave up.
He said for the whole of the world it would take near about 15 years to eradicate poverty by 2030, but for Bangladesh eradication of poverty is a matter of four years.
The Finance Minister said South-South cooperation, which has been a very important consideration for Bangladesh and some other countries, has made good advance. “We hope from this advancement made in the last 15 years, we shall continue to move forward over the next 15 years, which is called the SDGs.”
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said Bangladesh has done a splendid job in a number of areas over the attainments of the MDGs, while the country’s growth is meaningful and is a balanced growth.
“The MDGs are the beginning of the next bigger milestone that the world has to be completely free from hunger before 2030,” he said hoping that Bangladesh will be completely free from hunger by 2028 based on the annual decline of population at a rate of 1.74 percent.
In line with the Millennium Declaration, a framework of 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators were set to measure progress towards the MDGs over the period from 1990 to 2015. However, from January 2008, 21 targets were reset and 60 indicators have been used to monitor the MDGs progress.
The eight MDGs were poverty and hunger, primary education, empower women, child mortality, maternal health, HIV/AIDS and other diseases, environmental sustainability and partnership for development.
Regarding ‘Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger’ the report said Bangladesh has made commendable progress in respect of eradication of poverty and hunger.
It has sustained a GDP growth rate of 6 plus percent in recent years that has played a positive role in eradicating poverty. The robust growth has been accompanied by corresponding improvements in several social indicators such as increased life expectancy (70.4 in 2013) and lower fertility rate (2.3 in 2014) despite having one of the world’s highest population densities.
Towards achieving universal primary education, significant progress has been made in increasing equitable access in education (NER: 97.7 percent), reduction of dropouts, improvements in completion of the cycle, and implementation of a number of quality enhancement measures in primary education. Bangladesh has already achieved gender parity in primary and secondary enrolment.
About gender equality and empowerment of women, the report said Bangladesh has already achieved the targets of gender parity in primary and secondary education at the national level.
In 2015, Bangladesh was awarded the prestigious Women in Parliaments Global Forum award, known as WIP award, for its outstanding success in closing the gender gap in the political sphere. Bangladesh ranks 10th out of 142 countries.
Bangladesh is on track for meeting the target that’s measured on three different parameters such as under-five mortality rate, infant mortality rate and immunisation against measles.
In reducing child mortality, the report said the under-five mortality rate was 151 per 1000 live births in 1990, which has come down to 41 per 1000 live births in 2013 and hence achieved the MDG target before the stipulated time.
Likewise, the infant mortality rate was 94 per 1000 live births in 1990, which has reduced to 32 per 1000 live births in 2013; hence on the verge of achieving the target.
Towards ensuring environmental sustainability, the report said at present there is only 13.40 percent of land in Bangladesh having tree cover with density of 30 percent and above and the area having tree cover is much lower than the target set for 2015 (20 percent).
However, access to safe water for all is a challenge, as arsenic and salinity intrusion as a consequence of climate change will exacerbate the availability of safe water, especially for the poor.
State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman, UNDP country director Pauline Tamesis and GED Division Chief Naquib Bin Mahbub were among those who spoke on the occasion.- News Desk

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