New guidelines for Indonesia's mothers and their children
U.N. Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon has called it "the most important collective promise ever made to the world's most vulnerable people"—a pledge by the international community, including Japan, to achieve eight specific goals by 2015 to significantly improve the lives of tens of millions of people.
A special summit will be held in New York in September to assess how successful the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been so far and what else needs to be done to achieve the goal of freeing people "from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty."
Many of JICA's projects are aimed at helping to achieve targets such as reducing poverty and hunger, improving education, eliminating gender inequality, protecting mothers and newly born, stabilizing the environment and creating a new global partnership between developing countries, traditional donors, non governmental organizations and private enterprise.
The following stories highlight achievements thus far and some of JICA's MDG programs.
Ten years after the global community agreed to help millions of people to significantly improve their lives, there has been some progress, but far more needs to be done to achieve the stated goals by 2015. A scorecard of good news and bad news.
More than one billion people live in extreme poverty or go hungry every night. Maternal and child mortality are unacceptably high and deadly diseases are rampant. More than 72 million primary age children do not go to school and more than 40 million people are displaced globally.
The eight Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000 are designed to alleviate, if not totally eradicate, the worst scourges facing more than one billion people in such areas as health, education, disease and gender equality.
Around one billion people live in permanent poverty or go to bed hungry every night – even though on a global scale there is enough food to feed everyone. Among the solutions is increasing agricultural productivity, an area where JICA has been active for many years.
The UN reports "remarkable progress" toward achieving universal primary health care, but there is still a long way to go in many areas and JICA projects range from assistance in Niger, the world's poorest nation, to rebuilding educational systems in such countries as Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.
Giving females the same opportunities as males is one of the most difficult ongoing problems. Gender inequality remains rife in areas ranging from education to the workplace and a variety of different approaches and programs are necessary to help eliminate the problem.
Deaths among expectant mothers and infants remain unacceptably high, but there is both good news and bad news. The number of deaths among children under five has been slashed but women continue to die in childbirth at the rate of about one per minute according to the UN.
Malaria and tuberculosis are virtually as old as mankind itself. HIV/AIDS is a modern-day killer. Projects have helped to begin to control these and other diseases, but actually reversing the flow of major disease is a target unlikely to be met by 2015.
The global environment is in crisis. Among the MDG aims is this area is to halve the number of people without access to clean and safe drinking water and improving the lives of at least 100 million people living in urban slum areas.
JICA has been working for several years to forge a truly global partnership – closer ties between nations, donor agencies, non government agencies and private enterprise to help foster fair and open trading systems and legal, administrative and financial frameworks.