The European Union charge d'affaires to The Gambia has assessed the country's journey towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in which she highlighted positive strives the nation has been making, as well as challenges that still need to be tackled, two years ahead of the global deadline.
Speaking during an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer, Her Excellency Agnes Guillaud said the results for The Gambia concerning the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, two years ahead of the deadline of 2015 are "mixed". "Some very positive results have been achieved in education for all (Goal 2) with regards to reduction in illiteracy rates, primary school enrolment, especially for girls, as well as in the health sector for immunization coverage," she said.
Commenting on Goal 3, which relates to the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, she said this area is a clear priority of the government as indicated in the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE). The government's focus on this, she posited, is very welcome as progress is still needed, especially with regards to women's employment in non-agricultural sectors and the number of women elected to the National Assembly.
"Significant progress has been achieved with regards to environmental sustainability (Goal 7), which is fully integrated in the National Development Policy. The most serious environmental problems facing The Gambia include deforestation and water pollution, since contaminated water supplies are responsible for many life-threatening diseases, as well as coastal erosion, for which a €3.86 million EU-financed project is currently being implemented," she explained.
For the MDG target on access to safe water and sanitation, Guillaud noted that the government is on track in this area, disclosing that this is a sector where the EU cooperation is involved with a €1.9 million programme on drainage and sanitation.
For more on this and other development issues including the EU-Gambia relations, its current programmes in the country, its support to media development, amongst other critical issues, please read this week Friday's Bantaba on the Daily Observer.