Liberia, Others Make Progress On MDG

Liberia is among twenty fragile states that have made progress on achieving the goals of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) according to the World Bank.

Despite enduring political and economic challenges, 20 fragile and conflict-affected states have recently met one or more targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and an additional six countries are on track to meet individual targets ahead of the 2015 deadline, according to a new analysis by the World Bank Group released recently.

The figures stand in stark contrast to only two years ago, when the 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development reported that no low-income fragile or conflict-affected country had achieved a Millennium Development Goal (MDG).

The analysis was released in a paper prepared for the “Fragility Forum” event held at the World Bank and came as the Bank embarks on a series of internal reforms to leverage its effectiveness in fragile and conflict-affected states.

“This should be a wake- up call to the global community not to dismiss these countries as lost causes,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “These signs of progress do signal that development can and is being achieved, even amidst fragility and violence.  But the challenges ahead for many countries are extremely tough. While these successes offer hope, the reality is that far too many fragile and conflict-affected countries lag behind the rest of the world. We need to offer timely and critical support to improve the lives of people living in these fragile countries.”

The analysis finds eight fragile and conflict affected states – including Guinea, Nepal, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Timor-Leste – have already met the goal to halve extreme poverty – the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day.

Among fragile and conflict-affected states, the greatest progress has been on gender parity in education – the ratio of girls’ to boys’ enrollment in school. Countries including Kiribati, Micronesia, Myanmar, and Tuvalu have met the target, and those on track include Burundi, Chad, Republic of Congo, Timor-Leste, Nepal and Yemen.

However, with less than 1,000 days to meet the MDGs deadline, and with only about 20 percent of fragile and conflict-affected countries now meeting the poverty target, the analysis says the majority of MDG goals in fragile states will not be met.  The analysis, based on the Global Monitoring Report’s data, also pointed out that progress can be reversed for countries relapsing into conflict.