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30 Years of economics for development

Millennium Development Goals: Assessing and Forecasting Progress

Project name/title
Millennium Development Goals: Assessing and Forecasting Progress
Poverty, Inequality and Well-being
Achievement of the MDG goals by 2015 is an ambitious undertaking. The donor community is now mobilizing resources behind the goals, and efforts to implement the goals are now underway at national and international levels. It is inevitable that progress in achieving the goals will vary considerably across developing regions, and indeed within individual countries. Moreover, countries will vary in their capacity to achieve progress in every MDG. Some will face country-specific or region-specific barriers (for example the intensifying problem of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa), while others will be able to build effectively on past success in human development to accelerate towards goal achievement by 2015. Activities to monitor the achievement of the goals both globally and nationally are now being put in place by international agencies, including UNDP and the World Bank. This is a highly demanding task, particularly in the area of collecting the relevant data which will require much faster progress in building the capacity of national statistical agencies. Inevitably there will be major gaps in the data, and there are major methodological issues involved in measuring achievement (picking the correct indicators, and producing appropriate aggregate measures such as poverty indices). In addition, forecasting the achievement of the MDGs – a task which is essential if the global community is to have a sense of how much progress is being made along the way to 2015 – raises major technical issues. Finally, the MDGs interact; the achievement of one is likely to enhance the achievement of others (eg improving maternal education and health has positive effects on child mortality) which affect the level of progress reached by 2015. Considerably more work is therefore needed to understand the complementarities and synergies between the MDGs.
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