Latin America and Caribbean as a region has met two of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—poverty reduction and access to clean water—and it is making strides with meeting some others. However, it is lagging behind on other goals—maternal mortality and environmental sustainability—and there are some disparities between the Caribbean and Latin America with regard to some goals.
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Geneva yesterday stated that the region had reached some targets, including halving the extreme poverty rate.
“The proportion of people in the region living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 12 per cent in 1990 to 6 per cent in 2010,” the report said.
It also found that the region is on track to meet the target of halving the proportion of the population suffering from hunger by 2015. “The proportion of undernourished people in the total population has decreased from 15 per cent in 1990-1992 to 8 per cent in 2010-2012,” the report informed.
Latin America and the Caribbean was said to be very close to reaching the target of halving the proportion of people without basic sanitation. The proportion of the population using an improved sanitation facility, such as a latrine or toilet, increased from 68 per cent to 82 per cent between 1990 and 2011.
The region is also on track to achieve the MDG target of halting the spread and reversing the incidence of tuberculosis, with the number of new tuberculosis cases falling by more than 50 per cent between 1990 and 2011, the report said.
Access to primary education has been expanded with the adjusted net enrolment rate for children growing from 88 per cent in 1990 to 95 per cent in 2011. Over the same period, the number of children of primary school age who are out of school declined by more than half – from 7 million to 3 million. The region has achieved parity in primary education between boys and girls as well, the report informed.
Latin America and the Caribbean reached the MDG drinking water target five years ahead of the target date of 2015. The proportion of the population using an improved water source increased from 85 per cent to 94 per cent between 1990 and 2011. And the region is also close to reaching the target of reducing the child mortality rate, with the rate of deaths of children under five years old falling by 64 per cent between 1990 and 2011.
However, in terms of some other goals, there are disparities. For instance, from 2010 to 2012, the prevalence of undernourished people in Latin America was 8 per cent, while in the Caribbean it was 18 per cent, the report stated.
“Maternal mortality in the Caribbean remains high, with 190 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010, and accelerated action is urgently needed to meet the MDG target of reducing the ratio by three-quarters. Latin America has a much lower maternal mortality ratio, with 72 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010,” the report said.
It noted that in a positive development, the Caribbean has seen the sharpest decline in the number of people newly infected with HIV, which dropped by 43 per cent between 2001 and 2011, with an estimated 13,000 new infections in 2011. However, after sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean is the region most heavily affected, with 1 per cent of adults living with HIV in 2011.
Meanwhile, forests are still disappearing at a rapid pace in the region, despite the establishment of forest policies and laws supporting sustainable forest management in many countries. “The largest net loss of forests has occurred in South America – around 3.6 million hectares per year from 2005 to 2010,” the report said.
Levels of adolescent childbearing – risky for both mothers and their newborns – remain high, and have only recently begun to decline. In Latin America, the adolescent birth rate declined from 92 births per 1,000 girls in 1990 to 88 in 2000, and to 80 in 2010, while the Caribbean saw a decline from 80 births per 1,000 girls in 1990 to 78 in 2000, and to 68 in 2010. The problem, the report said, is exacerbated by the fact that adolescent girls, in general, face greater barriers than adult women in accessing reproductive health services.
The Millennium Development Goals Report is an annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the goals. It reflects the most comprehensive, up-to-date data compiled by over 27 UN and international agencies and is produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The eight Millennium Development Goals, with a number of sub-targets covering a range of poverty, hunger, health, gender equality, education and environmental indicators, were agreed by all countries as an outgrowth of the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, most with a due date of 2015.