UNDP Says 3 Development Goals Still “Off Track”

With world leaders gathered in New York this week to discuss their progress toward the UN’s global development goals for 2015, Cambodia appears likely to meet some but miss others, including the UN’s number one goal–reducing poverty.

Cambodia adopted the eight UN Millennium Development Goals in 2003, committing itself to meet growth targets on everything from graduation rates to forest cover by the middle of the next decade. It later added a ninth goal on clearing mines and unexploded ordnance.

However, according to the UN Development Program’s latest progress report released Sunday, Cambodia is making slow progress or is off-track on at least six goals.

With five years left to meet the goals, government leaders from around the world converged on New York yesterday for a three-day summit to take stock and discuss ways to speed up progress.

Among the bright spots in Cambodia have been the fight against HIV and AIDS and reducing child mortality, two goals that UNDP believes the country is “on track” to meeting. According to the government’s latest figures, HIV prevalence among adults aged 15 to 49 stood at 0.7 percent in 2008, already below its goal of 1.2 percent by 2015. The UN officially recognized the government for its efforts yesterday in New York.

At the same time, UNDP said Cambodia was making slow progress toward meeting its goals in basic education, gender equality and demining. It also said the country remained fully “off track” in its efforts to cut poverty, improve maternal health and ensure environmental sustainability.

In some cases, Cambodia has even regressed. According to the government’s latest census figures, 461 women died for every 100,000 live births in 2008, up from 437 deaths in 1996 and well above its goal of 140 deaths.

Tung Rathavy, deputy director of the National Maternal and Child Health Center, declined to comment on past or present maternal mortality figures but said she hoped that this year’s survey-slated for a 2011 release-would show gains.

“We are working hard to achieve the goal,” she said.


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