27 September 2010

East Africa: Region Can Achieve MDGs


The UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concluded last week with countries (including EAC member states) adopting a global action plan to achieve the eight anti-poverty goals by their 2015 target date.

This report is based on a set of data that was put together by a UN expert group on MDG Indicators in response to the wishes of a 2001 General Assembly for periodic assessment of progress towards the MDGs.

The plan is to: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, Achieve universal primary education; Promote gender equality and empower women; Reduce child mortality rate; Improve maternal health; Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; Ensure environmental sustainability; Develop a global partnership for development.

At the conclusion of the New York summit, it was announced that the UN would secure $40 billion for women's and children's health and other initiatives against poverty, hunger and disease.

Whereas the report showed that the Sub Saharan countries were still lagging behind despite some modest improvements, it was evident that a lot of work needs to be done.

As the region comes out of the election season, a joint plan amoung the EAC nations needs to be adopted if we are to meet the 2015 target.

One of the things that caught the eye of the observer in New York was the role and efforts of the non-political actors in the push for MDG realisation; Actors, singers, artists, athletes and other celebrities. These are people whose influence on society and the general public can be fully utilised and can be engaged as change agents and catalysts of the MDGs. The EAC has well-groomed and high profiled eminent personalities, business leaders, religious institutions, cultural heads and the media. Under the EAC secretariat leadership, with a clearly defined collective mindset, and clear goals and visions by the UN, this initiative is can be achieved. Let's not leave it to the politicians; we all can make a difference.

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