Under the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1), the international community aims to halve the global rate of extreme income poverty—as measured by the share of the population living on less than $1 per day—between 1990 and 2015. Current trends and growth forecasts indicate that this goal will be achieved, although not in Sub-Saharan Africa. High growth in China and India explains much of the reduction in the global poverty rate, although progress toward MDG1 has also quickened in many other developing countries. High growth has continued in most of the developing world in the past year as a result of better policies in developing countries and a favorable global environment. The outlook for growth and poverty reduction remains favorable, although some risks remain. In particular, low-income country per capita growth is expected to remain above 5 percent in 2007.1
Since 2000, over 34 million additional children in the developing world have gained the chance to attend, and complete, primary school—one of the most massive expansions of schooling access in history. Over 550 million children have been vaccinated against measles—doubling the coverage rates in some countries, and driving down measles deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa by 75 percent. The number of developing-country AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) patients with access to antiretroviral treatment increased from 240,000 in 2001 to over 1.6 million at mid-2006. Despite migration and resource constraints, health workers and clinic visits across the developing world are increasing significantly, as are the share of pregnant women with access to health care when they deliver, and the share of young children with regular health and nutrition screening. There is now little question that the “stretch” goals adopted by the global community in 2000 to promote human development have helped stimulate and support more rapid expansion of basic health and education services across the developing world.
The 2006 World Development Report acknowledges the importance of ensuring equal opportunities across population groups as an intrinsic aspect of development and as an instrument for achieving poverty reduction and growth (World Bank 2005). Noting that men and women have starkly different access to assets and opportunities in many countries around the world, the report refers to gender inequality as the archetypal “inequality trap,” reproducing further inequalities with negative consequences for women’s well-being, their families, and their communities. MDG3 reflects the strong belief by the development community that redressing gender disparities and empowering women is an important development objective on grounds of both fairness and efficiency.1
Developed countries can help developing countries’ progress toward the MDGs by delivering on commitments of more (and more effective) assistance and by improving market access for these countries. The chapter assesses donors’ performance by monitoring recent trends in the overall volume, allocation, and delivery of aid; implementation of debt relief; and progress on global trade reform.
The environment in which the international financial institutions (IFIs)—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the regional development banks—operate today is different from that of just a few years ago. Globalization, a growing differentiation among developing countries, the availability of alternative financial resources, and the multiplication of actors on the development landscape—all these have forced IFIs to adapt their strategies for supporting developing countries’ efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Through closer collaboration with one another and with development partners, and through reform of their own governance, these institutions are seeking greater legitimacy and relevance in a world of overlapping and increasingly complex development mandates. This chapter examines the responsibilities of the IFIs within the Monterrey compact and their recent performance in carrying out those responsibilities.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
A recent IMF Working Paper examined how differences in economic choices between men and women may lead to different outcomes for the macroeconomy and thus have implications for desirable fiscal and monetary policies. Gender-based differences in economic behavior have long been integrated into models of economic development and in the fields of labor economics and public finance. However, in the past two decades, researchers have studied the macroeconomic implications of gender-based differences. The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals have explicitly linked economic progress to the equalization of opportunities for women. These goals thus recognize the importance not only of raising the status of women, but also of narrowing disparities between women and men. These gender disparities are often greatest in the poorest countries.
The June 2007 issue of F&D spotlights gender equality. The lead article discusses progress toward fulfilling the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on redressing gender discrimination and empowering women and related MDGs. The section also looks at how budgeting with gender issues in mind can help countries promote gender equality and what needs to be done to get girls from 'excluded' social groups into school. Other articles focus on Asia 10 years after the financial crisis, the implications of China's and India's growing ties with Africa, and making remittances work for Africa. 'Country Focus' looks at the challenges facing Bulgaria now that it has joined the European Union, 'Picture This' highlights the globalization of labor, and 'Back to Basics' gives a primer on microfinance. Two other pieces discuss the efficiency of public spending in Latin America and how countries can use the public sector balance sheet approach to diagnose vulnerabilities that are not immediately visible in the budget.
This paper highlights that one of the most dramatic developments in the 20th century was the entry of women into economic and political spheres previously occupied almost exclusively by men. Although women are making progress in eliminating gender disparities, they still lag men in the workplace and in the halls of government. These gaps are found throughout the world, but are particularly pronounced in developing economies. So far, the greatest success has been in reducing education and health disparities and the least in increasing women’s economic and political influence.