It has been 15 years since the creation of the UN Millennium Development Goals, which meant that September’s Sustainable Development Summit was a chance to evaluate how each country measured up and set new targets for 2030.
Representatives from the 193 UN member states came together at the summit – part of the United Nations General Assembly – in New York from September 25 to 27.
Back in 2000, these countries were united in their commitment to eight Millennium Development Goals on issues such as eradicating extreme poverty, promoting gender equality, health improvements, sustainability, and education.
According to this year’s report, Colombia did extremely well in the first goal – to halve the number of people living on under USD$1.25 a day by 2015.
Overall poverty was reduced from 50% in 2002 to 28% in 2014 – that’s about 6.7 million people. And 3.5 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty, with the rate falling from 18% to 8%.
However, for issues such as gender equality, the number of HIV/AIDS related deaths, and access to treatment, the targets have not been met.
Emmanuel Fontalvo, Knowledge Manager in the areas of Poverty and Sustainable Development at the United Nations Development Programme Colombia, told The Bogotá Post that Colombia was slow off the starting line.
It wasn’t until 2005, five years after the summit, that a public policy called ‘CONPES Social 91’ was adopted by the National Planning Department, so that strategies could be created to implement the goals.
“This meant that from 2000 to 2005, there was very little progress”, Fontalvo said.
This year, states have set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a deadline of 2030.
One of the changes is that the new goals are more inclusive: they are no longer aimed solely at developing nations. All states must show improvements and meet targets on issues like climate action, sustainability, and responsible consumption.
Fontalvo was optimistic, but aware of the obstacles ahead. “The big challenge for Colombia which was also the same for the MDGs, is the regional issue, it is not the same to measure poverty in Bogotá, the country’s capital, as in Chocó, one of the poorest regions”, he stated.
By Santiago Aguirre