By Motoki Aoki
Pakistan’s Punjab Province, home to more than 101 million people, has the potential to become one of the world’s largest economies in the twenty-first century. However, a strong economy requires a healthy populace. Despite robust economic growth over the last decade, the Punjab government allocates as low as 0.7 percent of its spending to healthcare, compared to the OECD average of 8.9 percent. Infant mortality in Punjab is 77 deaths per 1,000 live births, and mortality for children under five is 112 in 1,000, compared to the OECD averages of 2.9 and 4.2 respectively. Although Punjab has made a gradual progress on these two health indicators in the last decade, both are still short of the MDG targets of 52 deaths per 1,000 live births for under-five mortality, and 40 deaths per 1,000 live births for infant mortality.
The major issues in Punjab’s health services run the gamut from financial mismanagement to insufficient resources to absenteeism of doctors and other staff. In light of its failure to achieve MDG targets, the government of Punjab announced in June that it will outsource day-to-day operations and management of all public health facilities in 10 districts to private parties starting in November 2015. These locations span from the smallest healthcare facilities to district hospitals, totaling 669 health facilities. The government will continue to own the physical facilities and remain accountable for overseeing the quality of healthcare delivered. Continue reading
The United Nations will adopt 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September as part of the post-2015 Development Agenda. However, as UN member states and other stakeholders prepare to reach a consensus on the world’s development priorities for the next 15 years, the importance of targeted interventions across all goals, especially food and nutrition security, is of critical importance.
The SDGs grew out of a nearly 2-year long process beginning with the establishment of a 30+ member Open Working Group (OWG) in January of 2013. The OWG model developed a set of goals meant to be inclusive, universal, and comprehensive, bumping up the Millennium Development Goals’ broad targets to a total of 169 targets.
The UN must advocate for the legitimacy of the SDG agenda as an advanced and improved agenda, different from but complementary to the MDGs. Goal 2, to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” is one of the broadest goals proposed by the OWG. Specificity and accuracy is the most important in implementing this goal. Agricultural development interventions are often well-intended but poorly executed, and a lack of local knowledge and capacity-building ends up distorting markets and disadvantaging farmers across the world. Continue reading
This week in development…
U.S. Development Policy/International Organizations
- As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, access to sanitation and safe drinking water remains the ‘least improved’ A recent UN report found that 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation facilities, while 1.8 billion people use contaminated water sources.
A water kiosk in Chipata, Zambia providing clean and sanitary water.
- United Nation’s Population Fund (UNPF) recently released a major report on the State of the World Population. The report focuses on the economic potential of the 1.8 billion ‘youth bulge’, referring to the large global youth population many of whom are unemployed. The report estimates Africa’s growth to boost by a third if the continent invests enough in the younger generation. PPD earlier this year launched the Global Youth Wellbeing Index highlighting policies needed to capitalize on these demographic changes.
Photo taken from International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s flickr photostream used under a Creative Commons license
By Jeremiah Magpile and Caitlin Allmaier
On September 16, the Food and Agricultural Organization published its annual State of Food Insecurity in the World Report, which tracks regional progress on Millennium Development Goal 1 using indicators related to access, availability, stability, and utilization. The report concluded that global efforts to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015 have been effective, and that MDG-1 is within reach for numerous areas of the world. Despite broad progress, however, regional disparities remain; a full quarter of the world’s hungry now reside in sub-Saharan Africa, and the region will need accelerated support to have any hope of meeting MDG-1 by 2015. Further, Asia still continues to have the highest number of undernourished people, despite Southeast Asia meeting the World having already met the more stringent 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) hunger target. Below are other takeaways from the report: Continue reading
This week in development…
- Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced the launch of a program that will seek “practical and pragmatic solutions to the problems of air pollution and climate change,” in China. Paulson met with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this summer, and has framed the initiative as holding relevance for China, the United States, and the world. There is a huge upside to projects focused on climate changeinChina- the Middle Kingdom is the world’s largest polluter, but also the largest investor in green energy.
A factory along China’s Yangtze River
- To mark this year’s Work Water Week, PepsiCo, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, revealed a new data management and modeling tool called Hydro-BID. The new tool will estimate the availability of freshwater in water-scarce regions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.