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People and the River

 

Millennium Development Goals  

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed to by all 191 United Nations Member States at the Millennium Summit in 2000, set specific targets for reducing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by 2015. Among these targets, governments agreed to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015, the year that marks the end of the International Decade for Action: “Water for Life”.

The Millennium Declaration emphasised the need for all countries to stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources. Governments addressed this issue at the Johannesburg Summit in 2002 by agreeing to develop integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans by 2005. They also added a complementary target to halve by 2015 the proportion of people lacking improved sanitation. The primary goal of the “Water for Life” Decade from 2005 to 2015 is to achieve these internationally agreed development goals relating to water, through cooperation on water issues and participation of women in these development efforts.

Meeting the MDGs

In general most of the Limpopo River basin countries have the potential to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); however the 2007 update indicates that sub-Saharan Africa, in general, is not on track to meet the goals especially with regards to poverty reduction (UN 2007).  The HIV/AIDS epidemic, natural disasters and political instability have all hindered progress towards meeting the goals.

Within the Limpopo River basin, there are some signs of progress towards meeting the MDGs, including:

  • Botswana is on track to meet goal 3 (promote gender equality and empower women), and goal 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases) (MDG monitor 2010).
  • Mozambique is on track to meet goal 4 (reduce child mortality) and goal 5 (improve maternal health); it can meet goal 1 'if some changes are made' (MDG monitor 2010).
  • South Africa is on track to meet those MDGs not related to health. Those related to health can be met ‘if some changes are made’. HIV/AIDS is a major stumbling block in achieving health-related MDGs in South Africa (MDG monitor 2010).
  • Based on 2006 data, Zimbabwe was on track for meeting goal 2 (achieve universal primary education); however, more recent reports indicated that the situation has deteriorated since 2006 and the country may no longer be on track (DFID 2010). Between 2006 and 2009 HIV prevalence declined from 18.1 % to 15.6 %. This achievement towards goal 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases) is largely attributable to the availability and use of condoms.

A summary of the Millennium Develop Goals is provided in the box below.

Millennium Development Goals 

Goal 1: Halve extreme poverty and hunger

  • Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day.
  • Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.
  • Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

  • Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

Goal 3: Promote gender quality and empower women

  • Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and to all levels of education no later than 2015.

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

  • Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

  • Reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio.
  • Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health.

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

  • Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
     
  • Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources.
  • Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss.
     
  • Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
     
  • By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.

Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

  • Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.
     
  • Address the special needs of the Least Developed Countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states.
     
  • Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt.
     
  • In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth.
     
  • In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries.
     
  • In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies.

 

Source: United Nations 2008

 



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