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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 Report on Millennium Development Goals Progress

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have jointly published the Global Monitoring Report 2013, which assesses progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This year's report bears the title Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals and claims to provide "an in-depth analysis on [sic] urbanization as a force for poverty reduction and progress towards the MDGs in the developing world".

As in previous years, the first part of the report contains a staggering array of statistics detailing how much still has to be done to achieve the MDGs in the (now less than) 1,000 days remaining. While there have been tremendous achievements, for example in slashing poverty in East and South Asia, since 1990, on several of the goals many developing countries are still way off target.

The focus is now both on how to try to catch up in deficient areas so as to achieve the MDGs on time and increasingly also on constructing a practical program beyond 2015.

The second section sets MDG progress in the context of macroeconomic, trade and aid developments in developing countries. This is important because global economic recovery obviously provides a firmer foundation for achieving the MDGs than would a continuing or renewed downturn in major economies that provide important export markets and aid for developing countries. Trends in commodity prices are of particular concern, in relation to their impact on both income from natural resources exports and on food affordability.

The basis of this year's focus on urbanization in the third part of the report is a forecast that 96% of the developing world's additional 1.4 billion people will by 2030 live in urban areas. Urbanization, says the report, has helped speed progress towards the MDGs, but if "unregulated and poorly planned" it leads to "the growth of slums and increase in pollution and crime".

As most of the world's 1.2 billion poor live in rural areas and have "less favourable access to basic amenities than people in urban centres", the report calls for "complementary rural-urban development policies and actions by governments to facilitate a healthy move toward cities without short-changing rural areas".

The report does not urge urbanization as a panacea, but accepts it as inevitable and therefore a process that needs to be managed if the benefits are to outweigh the costs.

The full text of the report is here (large file, so may take time to download):

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