Friday, July 23, 2010

Towards Achieving the ‘Millennium Development Goals’

I have recently attended a conference in which the theme concerns the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs. It was with shame that I realized that I am not aware of this and more shame when I failed to follow the discussions that occurred during the two-day conference.

But as to these goals, I believe they are generally comprehensible. I am thus taking the liberty of putting them down here:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce Child Mortality Rate
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

In many advocacies that originated from international meetings, it is, of course, especially important to look at them in light of our own country’s situation. That was the goal of the conference. Despite the “hieroglyphic” impact of the talks to me, the keynote address of Professor Jaime Z. Galvez Tan (we were intrigued by this seeming two surnames) was particularly catchy as he enumerated a number of regions and provinces in the country that are least likely to achieve the MDGs, which are suppose to be achieved by 2015. The regions include Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, MiMaRoPa - Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan, Eastern Visayas - Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Bicol Region, and Zamboanga Peninsula. The provinces, on the other hand, include Biliran, Antique, Zamboanga Sibugay, Abra, Masbate, Sultan Kudarat, Northern Samar, and Basilan.

Although the details for naming these escaped me, the numbers themselves are particularly disappointing. I can only point out, among many other factors that were discussed there, the presence of insurgencies, and perhaps local violence, that hinder the advance towards achieving the goals in these regions and provinces. But that of course is my personal opinion only. And beyond the academy that hosted the conference, it is apparent that several (government) agencies should collaborate in order to at least make these goals achievable ones in those mentioned places in the country. I don’t how they shall be able to do it, but with a strong will – be it political or not – a span of five years, I daresay, would be a sizable time period to make them feasible in those places. To a lay spectator like me, I can only wish for the best, and hopefully be able to participate in achieving them even in small ways.

* the photo is a screenshot of the presentation of Dr. Galvez Tan

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