Report Card for Humanity (Millenium Development Goals)

Credit: Ron Leishman

Which one is it going to be?  … (Picture: Ron Leishman)

Dear Humanity,

Please see below for an overview of your performance during the assessment period of 1990 to 2015. The grading key is as follows …

A = All targets achieved

B = Significant progress made for all targets

C = Progress made for many targets

D = Worsening for most targets

F = Worsening for all targets

If you have any questions, please see the complete details of your assessment at this link …

 

MDG1

SUBJECT 1: POVERTY AND HUNGER

Grade: A-

You have achieved great things in this subject. The ambitious goal of halving the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 per day (extreme poverty) was met, and the proportion of people suffering from hunger was significantly reduced. You must not get complacent though, as there will be new issues to face that could undermine much of your hard work in this subject.

 

MDG2

SUBJECT 2: UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION

Grade: B+

Universal primary education has not been achieved, but excellent progress has been made, with the number of out-of-school primary-age children being almost halved. Enrolment has increased from 80% to 91% in developing countries, and youth literacy has increased dramatically in all regions.

 

MDG3

SUBJECT 3: GENDER EQUALITY

Grade: B

Gender parity has been achieved for primary education in many regions (ie. as many females enrolled as males), and almost all regions have moved toward parity (or toward a higher proportion of women than men) for all education levels. Women still have less access to paid employment, lower wages, and lack of political representation, but progress is being made in most regions. However, it must be acknowledged that the assessment criteria for this period doesn’t cover all aspects of gender equality.

 

MDG4

SUBJECT 4: CHILD MORTALITY

Grade: B

Fantastic improvements in the under-five mortality rate were made, but they were not enough to reach the 2015 goal. Vaccines and treatment of preventable infectious diseases must remain a focus if your hard work in this subject is to continue paying off.

 

5

SUBJECT 5: MATERNAL HEALTH

Grade: B-

It’s easy to see you made an effort, and the way you almost halved the maternal mortality rate was impressive. Still, you were quite a long way from your reaching your targets. More focus on key aspects like people in rural areas, would have gone a long way to helping you get a better grade.

 

mdg-6

SUBJECT 6: MAJOR DISEASES

Grade: B+

Your work on halting the spread of HIV/AIDS was tremendous. The number of new HIV infections has plummeted and HIV-related deaths has fallen in a similar way. You have also made excellent progress with other major diseases, like tuberculosis and malaria. That Ebola situation was a pity, but at least you learnt a few valuable lessons from that experience.

 

7

SUBJECT 7: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Grade: C-

This was clearly your weakest subject. The 50%+ increase in greenhouse gas emissions was particularly disappointing. Biodiversity trends have been difficult to quantify but the extinction rates generally appear to be getting worse, and the number of coral species you have lost in the last 25 years is alarming. Still, the good work you did must also be acknowledged. The ozone layer is now recovering, and billions of  people have gained access to safe drinking water and sanitation thanks to your efforts.

 

8

SUBJECT 8: DEVELOP GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS

Grade: B-

Although there is plenty of room for improvement, your treatment of the world’s least developed countries did seem to improve over the assessment period. More official assistance was given, tariffs were lowered, and debt burden was generally eased. Progress has also been made on the target of making beneficial technologies and essential medicines available to all.

 

FINAL COMMENTS

You have achieved so much over the last 25 years. You must now work extra hard to ensure that these gains continue and that the few worsening criteria are turned around quickly. The next assessment period will focus heavily on environmental issues, and seeing as you struggle with that subject, it will be a big challenge. However, you have recently shown that you can do amazing things when you really try – so there’s no reason to think that you can’t do the same with the environment.

One last point – you are too hard on yourself. It’s true that it can be frustrating seeing you not realise your full potential, but often it seems that you obsess over your setbacks and only make the situation worse.

You should be proud of yourself, Humanity. You are doing much better than you give yourself credit for.

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