Gambia's minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, KebbaTouray, on July 9 presented Gambia's MDGs progress report 2014 to UNECOSOC, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, in New York.
Each year UNECOSOC's annual ministerial review (AMR) features national voluntary presentations to track countries' progress towards the UN development agenda.
The ten presenters for 2014 are: Bolivia, Gambia, Georgia, Kuwait, Mexico, Qatar, Sudan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the State of Palestine.
A press release issued by the Finance ministry in Banjul stated that The Gambia's presentation was on progress towards the implementation of the MDGs and preparations for the post-2015 agenda.
The presentation emphasized five areas important to the country for achieving integrated development namely, poverty eradication, education, health, gender equality and sustainable development.
It asserted that "in general, considerable progress was registered in the implementation of international development goals".
For instance, according to the report, "the overall poverty rate declined steadily by about 10 per cent points to 48.4 per cent in 2010, for the population below the poverty line of $1.25 per person per day from 58.0 per cent in 2003-04."
"The country will probably fall short of reaching the Millennium Development Goal target of halving poverty by 2015", it added.
Still according to the report, "in education and health, stronger positive performance was registered. Progress in education is reflected across all key indicators... On the health front, child mortality indicators are improving satisfactorily... The progress in promoting gender equality presents mixed results... "
"Notwithstanding the remarkable progress and achievements accomplished, as noted in the present report, there are a number of outstanding issues that must be addressed by the Government of the Gambia and the international community to allow The Gambia to attain most, if not all, goals and targets of the Millennium Development Goals," the report further stated.
The official press release on the Gambia's presentation further announced that Turkey and Nigeria were the reviewers of The Gambia's report, and that the occasion was chaired by the president of ECOSOC and moderated by Helen Clerk, UNDP Administrator.
Finance minister Touray was joined at the ECOSOC presentation by Mamadou Tangara, Gambia's permanent representative to the UN, Yankuba Drammeh the deputy head of mission and Juldeh Ceesay deputy permanent secretary at the ministry and focal person for the MDGs.
Meanwhile, UN sources said the 2014 AMR was convened as part of the ECOSOC high-level segment in July 2014, at UN headquarters in New York.
The theme of the 2014 AMR is: "Addressing on-going and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining development gains in the future".
The 2014 AMR is taking place in the context of the final push to accelerate progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the continued follow-up to Rio+20 and the discussions and process forelaborating the post-2015 development agenda.
The 2014 AMR provides an opportunity for ECOSOC to take stock of progress as well as obstacles in the context of the final year of implementation towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; offer policy recommendations for accelerating progress with a view to addressing and overcoming ongoing and emerging challenges;and, define a path that sustainsdevelopment gains into the future.