Development in the World: Attempts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by Nations
The objective of this exposition is to present an overview of elements of development, historical context, and the quality of life through the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The paper seeks to highlight development aspects so that we can easily determine how to improve the quality of life through development. The government, foundations, and international organizations collaborate to ensure the improvement of life as well as natural resource management.
Development metrics can be regarding economic growth (GDP and GDI), human development index (HDI), and human rights and freedom which often determine the approach to define Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Measures of the wider dimensions of development cover issues such as the eradication of poverty, the dispensation of universal free primary education, gender equality development, the reduction of child mortality, maternal welfare enhancement, and war against diseases.
Hettne (1995) quoted in Potter’s Theories, Strategies, and Ideologies of Development, theorizing about development is not ending anytime soon indicates that diverse development approaches exist, and they include classical, neo-classical, and left-center socialist view. The practical aspect of development policies since the 1980s encourages a neoliberalism approach to classical theory and stresses free market/liberalization of trade . These contestation and plurality are part of the daily studies in the field of development.
The world system theory (WST) of development argues that any nation’s development prospects are determined by the economic processes, the division of labor, commodities chains, and geopolitical relationships functioning at the global scale. Scholars have; however, argued that WST is untested and perhaps will remain untestable, neglect the activities, and are insufficiently historical. The best alternative to this theory is the world system approach, perspective or analysis.
The study looks at the concept of development in its historical contexts, its measurements, and how various aspects determine development metrics. According to Ruth Craggs, developments mainly originated after 1945 after the WWII and emergence of the United States, anti-colonial movements, Soviet Union and decolonization in most parts of the world . However, some scholars also argue that even though academic disciplines and global projects began during the post-WWII era, the practices and ideas behind them had their origins earlier, traced back to the late colonial period. Colonialism has not only contributed to social and economic growth but also primarily shaped the development project itself, through continuity between ideologies, people, and colonial and postcolonial development .
Historically, the development projects were possible after the WWII because the cultural and racial differences operated as discursive shortcuts, promptly highlighting three political and ethical truths; first, development targeted poverty, famine, and poverty resulting from the natural incapacity of people from some places to move forward on their own. Second, the whites/Europeans who could develop had a moral obligation to support those who could not do so, for instance, the Africans, Pacific Islanders, Asians and Latin Americans .
Development is considered as a strategy to advance the quality of life. Most state governments, philanthropic foundations, and international agencies begin various initiatives, either short or long term, to aid in measurable improvement in the quality of life where conditions are of extreme difficulty . The approach most organizations used to improve development especially in the third world countries is the MDG initiatives. Finally, the local and regional treaties can be signed to ensure the protection of natural resources and consider the legalities that pertains the environment and development.
Development entails strategies to improve the quality of life. The world’s nations, as well as the global communities, try as much as possible to improve the quality of life among people. The aspects of life that require considerations in this capacity include education, health, gender, food, shelter, and clothing, and the means of accessing them . In this particular approach to living, governments, international agencies, and philanthropic foundations basically consider the development approach to improving life. Therefore, to enhance development, states have to lay down strategies constrained by time, resources, and objectives. Development initiatives are either long term or short term, but both are aimed at producing measurable improvement in the quality of life, especially for people living in extreme adversity . The third world countries or the developing countries approach this concept of development by using the millennium development goals (MDG) initiatives. The main elements or the wider dimensions of development in MDGs, which the international communities recognize, are the eradication of poverty, the dispensation of universal free primary education, gender equality development, the reduction of child mortality, maternal welfare enhancement, and war against diseases.
Different nations approach the MDGs differently. Nevertheless, the developments are informed by a belief in advancement through policy implementation and rational planning. The nations set various interventions to reorganize human communities, introduce sustainable agriculture and farming techniques, foster urbanization, and industrialization, generate hydro-electric power, expand literacy, diversify occupations, empower people on the use of renewable sources of energy, expanding economy, and provide law reforms on natural resources and property/realty ownership . Development is a typical contrast of corruption, ignorance, and backwardness of old ways, but is aimed at promoting human progress through future-oriented development, technocratic expertise deployment, and means-end calculations. In embracing the visions of modernization, both socialist and capitalist states assume that human can regulate and improve social and natural environments, and devise intricate projects that can transform agrarian sustenance economies to urbanized and industrial economy .
Hypothesis Statement and Research Question
The progress of societies in the global south states is basically defined by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
What are the millennium development goals and what targets do they aim at achieving? And how do various nations attempt to implement these MDGs? What are the key indicators of the MDGs?
Conceptual Literature Review
Most of the texts locate that development began in the post-1945 period after the emergence of the Soviet Union and the United States superpowers, decolonization in most of the world, and anti-colonial movements. Despite development as an academic discipline and global project may have been initiated in this period, many scholars agree that the concepts and the practices that define the post-WWII development had their geneses earlier, during the colonial era. Hodge recorded that the post-WWII crusade to eradicate poverty represented the new marking of a new age of initiating control and use of human and natural resources of the colonized regions. In Ruth Craggs’ historical content of development, it was valuable to explore the earlier incarnations of colonial developments as well as their effects. Colonialism was often understood as the generic factor for the violence, inequality, and contemporary poverty, therefore, a linkage between colonial and post-colonial development .
In 1992 and 1995, Arturo Escobar discovered that underdevelopment, as a policy problem, enabled new technologies and governance which embraced partnership between the state and science that influenced development expertise across the global south states. The growth models that the western industrialized countries assumed that the issues of underdevelopment could be due to a shortage of investments capital . Therefore, the earliest models for development recommended filling the saving gap by moving labor from subsistence agriculture to industrial segment where the increased wages allowed more savings. In 2006, Bergeron, a development expert, argued that capital investments would improve the gross national product (GDP), and ultimately offer benefits to the community .
Moreover, the record noted that for efficient development strategies, the development strategies needed to be skewed to benefit the affluent because they are the ones providing funds for investments. Like the classical and neoliberals, the development specialists in the period beyond World War II embraced a model of economic growth that needed legitimate, substantial income differentials. Jacob Viner in 1953, as recorded in Bergeron (2003) stated that the above models did not really reduce the mass poverty and aggregate wealth and mean GNP are not worth emphasizing.
Historically, the development projects were possible after the WWII because the cultural and racial differences operated as discursive shortcuts, promptly highlighting three political and ethical truths; first, development targeted poverty, famine, and poverty resulting from the natural incapacity of people from some places to move forward on their own . Second, the whites/Europeans who could develop had a moral obligation to support those who could not do so, for instance, the Africans, Pacific Islanders, Asians and Latin Americans.
The economic indicator for development was not only drawn from the global north countries, but also from the economic sectors subjugated by men leaving women with profound consequences for women, who mainly comprise 70% of the globe’s poor. This precise indicator was because women were earlier on empowered by subsistence agriculture, which was a grossly undervalued as a source of economy.
At the start of the new millennium, that is, in 2000, the world leaders agreed to improve the quality of life of the poor people all over the world, in the period of one cohort, from 1990 to 2015 . The MDGs began as part of the international development plan of the United Nations. The goals include quantitative targets to gender equality, education, environment protection, health, and poverty reduction through stronger among developing countries, developed and developing countries, government, private sectors, and other support institutions. Two decades after the adoption by the United Nations, the MDGs have become pivotal international efforts to advance the agenda of human development in the global south nations. The progress of achieving these goals has been uneven both within and across countries. The sub-Saharan countries show large gaps due to their greatest development challenges . Also, the middle-income nations and residents in the rural regions and marginalized groups are similarly lagging behind in accomplishing the MDGs. The accomplishments of the targets are as a result of the extent of private involvement and government policies. However, the international the global/international context also provide an enabling environment for development. About the eight goals in the MDG framework, the participant states commit to strengthening the international partnership for in the areas regarding technology, essential medicine, trade, and external debt.
Development metrics can be in terms of economic growth (GDP and GDI), human development index (HDI), and human rights and freedom which often determine the approach to define Millennium Development Goals (MDG) . Measures of the wider dimensions of development cover issues such as the eradication of poverty, the dispensation of universal free primary education, gender equality development, the reduction of child mortality, maternal welfare enhancement, and war against diseases.
Through the period from 1950, GNP and GDP have been significant in quantifying development . This measure has gained popularity, and most of the international comparisons of living standards are attained by the use of per capita income, often dignified in the United States dollars. Using this approach, it is possible to establish that the poverty of any nation is due to low labor productivity with reduced physical capital accumulation, low human capital, and low technological level. In the 1980s, it was also recognized that human development index (HDI) or non-economic factors are also involved in the process of development . In 1990, the Human Development Report identified growth aspect through the longevity of life, knowledge and education, and a decent living standard. Finally, many studies underscore the significance of basic freedom, self-esteem and human rights as a function of development. These indicators are achieved on the success of on the universal primary education, peoples’ living standards, women empowerment, combating diseases, reducing child mortality, and enhancing the gender equality and empowerment.
Analysis of the Concept and the Implementation Policies
The MDG Concepts and Implementation Policies
The world, especially the third world countries, experience poverty which is a major foundation of major problems in life. The centrality of the MDG concept is human development and a set of goals are laid to overcome basic human deprivations. In the year 1990, the global summit constituting the United Nations General Assembly member states deliberated on implementing measures that aimed at eradicating global poverty by 2015 . The areas covered by the deliberations included; education, environment, global partnership, health and survival, gender equality, hunger and income poverty, and all these were unprecedented consensus that aimed at ending poverty and ensure sustainable development. The MDGs clearly observes that poverty needs to be understood as a multi-faceted issue that needs to be tackled by various accomplishments .
The policy that was adopted by the global UN member states was upon realizing that in most nations, poverty reduction was not a top consideration and was only regarded as income poverty, other than a multi-dimensional composition of human deprivations. The earlier UN strategies in earlier decades (1960s to 1980s) measured the national progress by per capita income and considered the human capital, building infrastructure, and industrial base . Issues like hunger, child survival, education, among other social issues were also areas of concerns but were not prioritized as the international development agenda until 1990s. The summit realized that when human lives are improved, the same would lead to growth enough to end poverty and enhance the living standards of people.
The constraints towards achieving MDGs include persistent human poverty, high inequality, economic stagnation, gender disparity, social exclusion, environmental degradation, debt burden, HIV/AIDS, and conflicts. Implementation of the MDGs require policies that encourage building advocacy and awareness, contextualizing MDGs, mobilizing resources, monitoring and reporting, developing institutions, and setting pro-poor policy framework.
There are quite a number of policies that countries have set to meet the MDGs and sustainable goals. The policies for implementation include education for all (free tuition for primary and secondary education in some countries), environmental management policies (going green campaigns and setting pollution days), gender policies, and health support (free maternity care, health insurance, world days for various diseases, advocating for clean environment, et cetera).
The policy options to ensure equity among people include provision of free public services to ensure inclusivity, offer social assistances that favor disadvantaged groups, lowering taxes on essential goods and staples, increase women representations as well as marginalized groups so that decision making is fairly distributed, and tackling discriminatory issues regarding socioeconomics, gender-based, cultural and racial . Other policies involve careful trade liberalization, improving the use of technology, and allocate credits that favor many people. The programs on MDGs should gain political support, focus on increasing access to education, food and health, create synergies along other MDGs, and improve target techniques. Furthermore, there should be an integral low-carbon development initiative, promote climate resilience to crop and livestock varieties, enter into new environment global agreement, and promote economic activities in disaster-prone regions .
Millennium Development Goals and their Targets
The 2000 United Nation’s Millennium Declaration sought to combine various efforts to address economic and social development, including poverty in a holistic fashion . In 2002, the International Conference on Financing Development adopted a monetary agreement financing development. The goals on the MDGs were set to be accomplished by the year 2030, meaning that today; the nations have already halved their period . Most countries, however, should redouble their efforts in regard to the MDGs since there is a lag of implementation. The development strategies and decades should be seen as incremental steps (rather than failure) in the long run to tackle the intractable issues of development and, as stated by the UN, attempt to adapt to the dynamics of the ever-changing international environment and define the problem in its wider context. By the year 2015, most of the global south states barely two years.
The eight MDGs have targets that each country adapt to achieve specific needs. They offer a platform and a framework that the international community uses towards reaching a common goal. The goals, if achieved, there would be reduced poverty by at least half, millions of people’s health improved, and billions of people benefit from the sustainable environments and global economy . Also, the MDGs inter-relate and largely influence each other. For instance, women empowerment and gender equality promotion enable better conditions for women as well as improve household management, which ultimately enhances education and health for children, hence higher income for the family.
The MDGs aim at extreme poverty and hunger eradication. The aim is to reduce the proportion of those who earn less than a dollar a day, achieve a productive occupation and decent work for all, including the youths and women, and reduce the proportion of people who suffering from hunger. These targets were supposed to be at least halved by 2015. The second aim is to achieve a universal free primary education. The target of this goal was to ensure that by 2015, the children, both male and female alike, complete a full progression of free primary education. The third development goal is to empower women and promote gender equality. The target was to at least eliminate gender disparity in secondary and primary education by 2005, and ensure equality in all levels of education by 2015 . The fourth objective of the MDGs is to reduce child mortality. The aim was to reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate of the under-five between the years 1990 and 2015. The other goal is to improve the mothers’ health-care by ensuring a universal access to maternity and reproductive health, and to reduce the maternal mortality ratio or the maternal ratio by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015.
The sixth goal is to combat HIV/AIDS and malaria among other diseases. This targeted to reduce the spread of diseases with particular concerns to HIV/AIDS and malaria, and to provide universal access to treatment of malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The seventh goal is regarding the environmental sustainability. In this case, the target is to reverse loss of natural resources through sustainable principles, and countries programs and policies. The other targets include; biodiversity loss reduction, improving access to safe water for sanitation and for drinking, and to improve the lives of at least 100 million shantytown dwellers . Finally, the eighth suggested millennium development goal is the global partnership development. The aims of this goal include development of financial and open trade system that is non-discriminatory and is based on rules. It also includes commitment to poverty reduction, development, and good governance. The initiative also helps in addressing the special prerequisites of the least developed countries, and small islands, and landlocked states .
The partnership program helps to deal with debt issues of the global south countries through both national and international measures to make the debts sustainable for the states in the long term . Moreover, in association with pharmaceutical firms, the goal aims at providing access to essential and affordable drugs in the third world nations, and finally, the cooperation with non-governmental sectors are to enable the benefits of information and communication (new technologies).
How the various global south nations attempt to achieve the MDGs
The various global south countries attempt to accomplish the millennium development goals in their particular states by deployments of various development projects. These projects encompass social, economic, and environmental aspects. Most nations have women empowerment, gender, maternity, environment, education, and economic-oriented programs . All these programs have the same vision of improving the living standards of people and enhancing economies in the nations where they are implemented.
Also, in achieving the MDGs, countries tend to set both long and short-term goals. For instance, Kenya, one of the global south countries have put in place Kenya’s vision 2030 where at least quite a number of millennium development goals are handled. Among the achievements so far include; the maternity programs through the beyond zero campaigns (aiming at zero child death during birth), the rule of 1/3 aiming at ensuring leadership positions are held at least by both gender (one female in three posts), free primary education and subsidized secondary education tuition, youth empowerment programs, HIV/AIDS war, water resources, subsidized manure and the building of modern railway lines . By 2015, most of the programs are halfway accomplished, while others are on-going programs that the government has in the pipeline of its programs. The country receives funds that boost the MDG programs from international financial sectors, private sectors, NGOs, the government, and donations or grants from the global north states.
The progress of attaining the MDGs differs across countries. Nevertheless, the international contest offers a supportive environment for growth. In Nigeria, for example, attempts to accomplish the MDGs include stronger approach by the government and the federal stage working collaboratively with civil society and the private sector . Second, the country has benefited the poor people who currently find their daily living through dynamic roles from the private sectors rather than the overdependence on the oil industry. Moreover, the state is becoming responsible to its citizen and organizes for programs educating people on their rights. Also, the government of Nigeria collaborating with the civil societies and private sectors tackles corruption (one of the states menace that hinders developments). Also, there are programs to reduce inequality between men and women, increase the literacy levels, and decrease the number of child mortality.
Lastly, the global south nations today engage in practices that aim at achieving sustainable, clean environments. In this regard, the economies of climate change is a major concern and together, the international societies in the context of the pieces of evidence seen from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007, continue to build scientific basics that majorly seeks to underpin the concerns of climate change . Environmental factors are associated with common reasons for poverty, and therefore, have ever been regarded as an apex for major concerns in the world. Some sustainable-based actions by countries include; tree planting, pollution pay principles, good sewage management, banning of plastic bags, and good agricultural practices among others .
Looking at water resources governance and participation in Bangladesh, gender participation, as well as decision making, was initially seen to be curtailed by education, marital status, age, socio-economic class, exposure and experience, and even the household positions . To allow developments concerning clean water access, the rights of all people should be served equally. Men and women, young and adults, and the political class have a role to play in water management . The nation is attempting to achieve these MDG objectives regardless of challenges along the way.
Critical explorations on communities and their participation in development discourses highlight why projects can either succeed or fail. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the social and natural heterogeneity contexts of developments and the complexities that may be involved. It is, thus, necessary to address the water governance strategies and other broad categories of development projects and understand the gendered dynamics so that nations arrive at great solutions to problems.
In Bangladesh, the programs that are given weight include women in development (WID), gender and development (GAD), and women and development (WAD) . In these programs, there are pursuits to address the high maternal and infant mortality rates among agricultural workers, in rural, and in marginalized places. The development initiatives supported by the United Nations and World Health Organizations among other NGOs include reduction of families through family planning strategies, reduce irregular marriages, and increase the antipoverty discourses which address overpopulation. Population concerns in Bangladesh, as well as other global south nations, are due to poor balance between useful resources and the number of dependents hence poverty increase.
On the other hand, WID discourses emphasize on increasing the number of women productivity in both formal and private sectors to boost economic well-being in the nation as well as in their households . The UN Development Program records that about 70% of the labor carried out by women is unwaged. This estimation sums to billions of dollars in the labor market, and this can be converted into productive ventures if only women were rewarded for their work. There are attempts, therefore, in the global south nations to reduce or eliminate the tradition of women discrimination so that their work can be felt in the national developments.
To boost gender and development, the World Bank help to empower women through microfinance that aim at enhancing individual self-help. The World Bank development strategies put women at the center of development and set frameworks and policies that qualifies a person to benefit from loans and grants . The promotion of development through self-employment shift household responsibilities to women and the nation-state responsibility to the market. Through this program, the federals are likely to cut back education, health and welfare provisions because of a belief of having self-empowered households . This state enables the nations to operate within the confines of neoliberalism (the economic regulations that relate to the market completion while cuts government services as well as regulations of business enterprises).
The Millennium Development Goals Indicators
Several elements of development clearly show progress of the MDGs in the global south states. The indicators reflect development perception of what has been emphasized at various times, beginning from conceptualization of development aspects. These indicators can either be social or economic . The social indicators are in terms of human rights and freedom, and human development index. Economically, growth can be measured by means of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP). The number of workers and their productivity levels within a nation affects GDP and GNP. These forms of measurement are popular for international comparisons of the citizens’ living standards by the use of per capita incomes . They are commonly measured in U.S dollars. The low levels of human capital (such as education), physical capital (like natural resources), and low technological standards are some of the measures of GNP and GDP.
The Human Development Index (HDI) as measures of development includes examining longevity of life, education and knowledge levels, and decent leaving standards. The 2010 amendments report by the United Nations Development Program highlights three dimensions including living standards, health, and education . These are indicated by mean schooling year, life expectancy, expected schooling years, and the Gross National Income per capita, which are summed up to HDI.
The final indicator of development is in terms of human rights and freedom. The aspects of development in this view are associated with freedom from various inequalities. Countries with stable equality among both the genders in terms of access to resources are considered to have improved development.
The global south states struggle with concerns of development eradication of poverty, the dispensation of universal free primary education, gender equality development, the reduction of child mortality, maternal welfare enhancement, and war against diseases. The United Nations initiated the MDGs in 2001 to improve the well-being of people in the third world countries in terms of social, economic, and physical developments. The paper has clearly stated targets of each of the millennium goals, the nations’ attempts to achieve them, and the development indicators. The global south nations receive help (ideas, grants and loans) from the global north nations, the NGOs, financial institutions, and other private sectors aimed at boosting development.
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