KARACHI: Tracking progress towards the achievement at the provincial level and comparative advancements across districts, first Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report for Sindh has been launched in Karachi on Wednesday (today) by the Government of Sindh and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The MDGs are a set of 8 goals adopted by 189 countries, including Pakistan in 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015. The MDGs provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions.
The MDGs reports showed that Sindh province is completely unsuccessful to meet the targets to control poverty and hunger by 2015 while proportion of children under the age of 5 was estimated at 40 percent in 2004-2005, who are under-weight, 2 percent above the national average and 27 percent above the MDG Target of 13 percent.
The literacy rate is at 59 percent against the target of 88 percent and on MDG 2, Achieving Universal Primary Education, the Net Primary Enrollment Ratio (NER) for 2010/11 was 53 percent against the target of 100 percent.
If the current level of performance is maintained, targets for gender equality in primary and secondary education are likely to be achieved in certain districts and at provincial level.
The Gender Parity Index (GPI) for primary education was 0.77 for Sindh in 2009/10.
However, district-wise performance has been starkly. Kashmore held a GPI for primary education of only 0.48 whereas Karachi stood at 0.94.
Reducing Child Mortality is unlikely to be unachieved entirely.
The Under 5 Mortality Rate is as high as 100 deaths per 1000 live births against a target of 52.
The proportion of underweight children under 5 years was 43 percent in 2005-06.
The only encouraging point to note is, indicator of proportion of children under 5 who suffered from diarrhea in the last 30 days, Sindh recorded a rate of only 12 percent in 2010/11, close to the MDG target of 10 percent.
Improving Maternal Health, are similarly not expected to be met.
The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) which should be brought down to 140 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births was last recorded at between 354 and 350 in 2008/09.
Contraceptive prevalence rates were generally low in the province, which was estimated at 22 percent overall in 2006/07.
On MDG 6, data is not available for all the indicators.
Hepatitis B prevalence averaged 2.9 percent in the province, while the prevalence of Hepatitis C was estimated at 5.2 percent.
Khairpur was the most affected district for Hepatitis B and Ghotki for Hepatitis C.
According to 2010/11 figure, the indicator of the proportion of population with access to an improved source of drinking water, the target of 93 percent has been met with sharp variations between districts.
By contrast Sindh’s performance on sanitation facilities at 55 percent in 2007/2008 remains far below the target of 90 percent.
The report also highlights regional and gender disparities. For example, in 2010-11, the literacy rate for Sindh was recorded at 59% which is one percent above the national average of 58 percent.
However, the literacy rate in rural Sindh was a mere 42 percent as compared to 75 percent in urban Sindh.
The literacy rate in Karachi was 79 percent whereas in district Thatta, the literacy was just 36 percent. In addition to the regional disparities, women don’t share the same level of progress as their male counterparts do. For example, in 2010-11, the female participation rate in labor force was estimated to be 11.4 percent as compared to 51.5 percent for men. The report also points out that not only the quantity of expenditure, but the quality of expenditure is equally important. Some of the development expenditures in Sindh don’t commensurate with the quantum of impact it has generated.
The goal is to foster cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral level for realising the MDGs. The Official Development Assistance as per agreement was to rise to 0.7 percent of GDP but the developed economies are providing only 0.25 percent of GDP and that may have been one of the factors behind slow progress towards MDGs, of the developing economies.
Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khoro appreciated the support of UNDP to the Gov’t of Sindh for the preparation of MDG report.
He underlined the need for joint collaboration between different partners to enhance social development outcomes.
He also mentioned that the province has now more resource through the NFC award, it also mobilizes now resources itself, therefore the province should be able to make a quantum leap towards the achievement of MDGs.
Mr. Khoro also mentioned that it was unfortunate to note that around 1200 schemes related to water supply couldn’t be completed.
“The concerned departments must put their joint efforts to complete development schemes on time”, Mr. Khoro underlined.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Murad Ali Shah, Finance Advisor to the Government of Sindh said that development issues in the province had been aggravated by a number of natural calamities in the province including the 2010 floods.
He said the government strongly believes in the betterment of the poor and disadvantaged communities.
Quoting the example of Benazir Income Support Programme, Mr. Shah said that BISP is one of the largest social safety net programmes in South Asia. The cash transfer and other interventions under BISP have helped million of households across Pakistan. The education budget of Sindh government is one of the highest in the four provinces, Mr. Shah underlined.
Mr. Shah also agreed to the proposal to look into the provincial finance award and see if the distribution criteria could be made more poor friendly so that least developed districts get due share in the provincial pool.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Mr. Arif Ahmed Khan, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh, thanked the UN and other development partners for their support for sustainable economic development in the province.
He said that while the Province faces a host of challenges impacting the pace of development; the Government is committed to work toward the achievement of MDGs.
He underscored the need for joint efforts led by the Government together with civil society, academia and other development partners to expedite progress on people centered growth and development in the province.
Marc-Andre Franche, Country Director, UNDP, said that while Sindh lags behind on most of the MDGs, there exist ample opportunities in the province to accelerate progress.
Mr. Franche said that four drivers are critical to the achievement of MDGs. These include 1) Enhancing investment geared towards empowering women and girls; 2) Increasing energy and sanitation access for the poor; 3) Improved Governance; and 4) Capacity development of key national institutions.
He reiterated the support of UNDP to promote inclusive development in Sindh and said, “the availability of timely and reliable data on development issues is key to informed policies formulation. T
he Sindh MDG report sets a baseline on the status of MDGs and could therefore, help the provincial government prioritize interventions to accelerate progress on MDGs.
UNDP has helped a number of countries around the world to develop MDG Acceleration Frameworks and we will be happy to provide support to Sindh.”