Fifteen out of the 24 Latin American and Caribbean nations, including Brazil, have met Millennium Development goals in reducing malnutrition and hunger, improving access to potable water and gender equality in education.
However, they are behind in reducing absolute poverty, universal access to education and environmental protection.
That is the result of a report on Millennium Development Objectives (MDO) just released by the United Nations and the Latin American Economic Commission (Cepal).
The report shows that the infant mortality rate for children under five years of age in the region was reduced from 56 per 1,000 births in 1990, to 33 per 1,000 births in 2003. The mortality rate for babies of less than one year of age fell from 43 to 25 per 1,000 births during the same period.
With regard to the environment, the report calls the situation “worrisome,” and cites the following problems: loss of natural vegetation and biodiversity, air pollution and the growth of urban slums.
“Economic growth is fundamental if there is to be progress in social policies,” says the executive secretary of Cepal, Alicia Barcea.
She explains that many numbers in the report are only averages due to the differences in the countries surveyed. “However, there is no doubt that growth must include improving income distribution.”
She added that improving social conditions involves investing in infrastructure and a certain amount of social cohesion, along with other factors not included in the MDO, such as jobs and political stability.
The Millennium Development Objectives were adopted in 2000 by the governments of 189 countries, including Brazil.
The signatories are committed to human development around the world and established eight objectives which are to be accomplished by 2015: eradicate absolute poverty and hunger; achieve universal education; promote gender equality and freedom for women; reduce infant mortality; improve maternal healthcare; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; protect the environment through sustainable economic activities and establish a world partnership for development.
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