What are the development challenges hindering Liberia from meeting the MDGs and SGDs, and how are they addressed by various development priorities?
How does PAPD relate to the already present MDGs and SGDs?
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were clear ambitions for solidarity with the world's most vulnerable and poorest. They were a way to express noble principles into shared and time-bound objectives. The main aim of MDGs was to mobilize the world fairly and tackle the various dimensions of poverty around the globe. These MDGs would encourage partnership hence a chance for better development and opportunities for cooperation. Even so, many MDGs have been absorbed presently into Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, there are many observations as well as solutions that are useful to implement SDGs.
There were 8 MDGs developed in 2000 aimed to be implemented by 2015. These include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empower women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDs, malaria, and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development (Foster, 2013). These MDGs were revolutionary and aimed at encouraging common language to every global agreement. Besides, the defined goals were realistic and easy to communicate. Additionally, they were easily measurable and could be monitored easily.
In Liberia, SDGs are also referred to as the Global Goals. These SDGs were adopted by every United Nations Member States in 2015. They were meant to be a universal call to action with the intent of ending poverty and protecting the country as well as the world to encourage peace and prosperity before 2030 (Foster, 2013). There are presently 17 SGDs which are integrated. These SDGs realize that actions in one area could affect the outcome of other areas. Besides, these goals can also maintain balance in economic, social, and environmental sustainability. In Liberia, SDGs are known and encouraged to bring the world closer to various "zeros." These include zero hunger, zero AIDS, and also zero discrimination of any form, including that against girls and women. Every Liberian is encouraged to participate in reaching ambitious targets. Their diverse know-how, technology, and creativity are known to be important and necessary for the country to realize the goals.
In Liberia, the lead UN development agency, UNDP worked with the government to come up with a Roadmap to domesticate the 2030 Agenda as well as the African Union Agenda 2063. These are placed with the nation's following national development plan. The country's Roadmap is in place to outline every procedure of translating SDGs and Agendas 2063 into plans. The Roadmap is also important to ensure that various programs and policies are considered. With Liberia being a fragile state, there are additional New Deal Principles that are also taken into consideration by the government in conjunction with UNDP (Sherman, Clement, Cherian, Ndayimirije, Noel, Dahn, & Kushner, 2011).
Liberia is committed to implementing African Union Agenda 2063, a vision, as well as a plan, meant to create a prosperous nation and Africa over the following 50 years. From the government of Liberia, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages the participation of AU Agenda 2063. Presently, Liberia has committed itself by proving some progress on the Millennium Development Goals. For instance, more children are being enrolled in primary schools and, more specifically, Girls. There is also a representation of women in the national parliament. From credible information, child and maternal deaths have also been reduced. The number of people who have also been infected with HIV has also decreased over the years since the formation of the goals.
Liberia is now experiencing various complex challenges that are covered by the SDGs. The nation is experiencing the spreading of diseases to prevent conflict. This challenge has been difficult to tackle, considering the isolation of the nation in particular. The participation of UNDP has been critical to ensuring that it is systems that are commonly focused upon. UNDP is mainly meant to address the challenge of isolation (Fukuda-Parr, 2016). The root causes and connections experienced by Liberia can be easily addressed through such cooperation easily. Additionally, the UNDP functions independently, reducing the thematic sectors involved in creating problems. Therefore, a single focus is maintained, which includes building solutions that respond to people's regular realities. Partnerships have led to the addressing of multiple challenges experienced, especially with the inclusion of the civil society, the private sector, citizens, and government. These, in total, contribute to a better planet for future generations.
Achievement of the MDGs and SGDs has created a legacy through experience as mistakes are realized while lessons are provided to ensure that the goals are approached from different working perspectives. Beyond Liberia, the job remains unfinished, and little steps are taken to meet the goals. Besides, it is also known to the citizens that the goals are an important call to shift the world into the most sustainable path. Even without the SGDs, some commitments had already been put in place, only that they were meant to encourage an input to finish what was already started. Additionally, their presence was meant to ensure that Liberia tackles most of the pressing challenges facing the people (Fukuda-Parr, 2016). The existing 17 goals interconnect with each other, where the success of one influences that of the others. This is also applicable to Liberia as a poor nation. For instance, dealing with the problem of climate change ensures that managing fragile national resources is also affected. On the other hand, it is achieving gender inequality as well as health assists in reducing poverty and hunger. In the long run, peace is fostered easily, and the various inclusive societies can reduce inequalities and assist the nation's economy to prosper. Therefore, the presence of MDGs and SDGs is critical in ensuring that the life of future generations is improved.
The SDGs applicable to Liberia have been interconnected and coincide with various historical agreements. For instance, the Paris Climate Conference of 2015 at the COP21 had various results that ensure MGDs and SDGs are pushed further. Additionally, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction also resulted in solutions that could assist Liberia in meeting the already laid out MDGs and SDGs. It is through the various conferences that various common standards, as well as achievable objectives, were discussed. Liberians experience issues that cover and disturb the peace of almost every inhabitant (Fukuda-Parr, 2016). The presence of the goals ensures that people are brought together to meet the rising needs of the people. From a general perspective, the goals reaffirm to the international commitment by the government to curb matters to do with the people's issues. In doing so, Liberia could be a sustainable, safer, and more prosperous country for humanity.
Liberia has had a period of civil unrest, lasting fourteen years between 1989 and 2003. It is between these periods that MDGs were formed. The country is presently experiencing increased peace and stability compared to the pre-war period. As a post-conflict country, MDGs have been helpful in rebuilding a war-ravaged economy (Gariba, 2011). In conjunction with UNDP, the UN has also added the UN peacekeeping force (UNMIL) that has enhanced peace in politics. With these moves, Liberia is making great progress towards achieving national goals. These are specifically the:
Goal 1: Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger
As of 2015, Liberia had plans to reduce poverty from 63.8% to 27.55% (Konneh, 2010). The annual decrease in percentage points was already noted as being 7.25%. There is an intention of reducing the prevalence of underweight children of less than five years. The number targeted was 7.4% from 18.8% (Konneh, 2010). The decrease rate was noted as 2.28% in points. Finally, an attempt to reduce poverty and hunger would consider a reduction in the total population that is below the minimum dietary level in terms of energy consumption. The number targeted was 19.5% from 38%. The intended annual decrease rate was 3.7%. These measures to achieve the goal were influenced by the number of people living below the poverty line (63.8%) (Konneh, 2010). These citizens include those who survive with less than a dollar every day. They are estimated to be about 1.7 million, with 1.3 million living in extreme poverty. However, urban areas experience fewer poverty strikes than rural areas.
Some of the factors considered to be effective in achieving the goals include encouraging a supportive environment, addressing challenges with agriculture and food insecurity, and ensuring that development priorities are looked into. Food insecurity has always been a challenge, with large amounts of rainfall depleting soil nutrients without proper measures to curb it. However, the government has striven to increase public resources to the nation's poverty reduction programs. In development challenges, there are primary considerations such as security, peacebuilding, as well as the rule of law that should spur the country's economic growth. Notwithstanding, the country should experience an improved macroeconomic stability case to ensure that the goal of reducing poverty and hunger in the region is addressed. Some other measures, such as awareness and skill enhancement, targeted social service delivery, relevant domestic priorities, and strategic cooperation with global partners, also prove to be effective in achieving the goal.
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
The main target for the second MDG is to ensure that children, regardless of their gender, complete their full course in primary schooling. For Liberia to meet these, some measures were put in place. Firstly, the government aimed to increase the primary school enrolment from 49.3% of the pupils to a maximum of 100% (Konneh, 2010). This would ensure that more children participate in schooling. The targeted percentage for this was 10.14% in points on an annual basis. Besides, primary completion rates were to be increased from 57.6%-80.6% (Konneh, 2010). This target would only be achieved if there was an annual increase of 4.6% in points. Finally, the country would also increase the literacy rates of children between 15 and 24 years to 80% from a previous 74.8% (Konneh, 2010). The annual point increase to account for the number would be 1.04%. There has been a great trend towards achieving this goal of universal primary education. For instance, there is already free and compulsory primary education with increased grants all over the nation.
The country has created a supportive environment to meet this goal through actions such as the provision of instructional materials and teacher development, Accelerated Learning Program, Girls Education Program, the influence of pooled funds to encourage resource attraction, and commencing the early childhood development and education program. Even so, there have been some challenges in meeting the MDG. These include the quality of education and poor compensation of teachers, the influence of culture and tradition on education, disparity as well as income inequality, and insufficient access to educational centers. However, there are priorities such as ensuring a clean school environment as well as a violent-free area that is conducive for every student, and disregarding socio-economic conditions.
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