United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report, June 15, 2010.
In terms of the Millennium Development Goals, some progress is being made. The poverty rate is expected to fall from the current 27% to 15% by 2015—around 920 million people, partly because of progress in China and India. Child deaths are decreasing. More people are receiving treatment for AIDS. However, many of the goals won’t be reached. The global financial crisis of 2009 slowed reduction of poverty and increased hunger rates linked to increases in food prices. More people are malnourished—about 25% of infants and children under age five are underweight.[i] Half of the developing world lacks sanitation. In some developing countries, over 80% of workers have informal jobs without benefits. In most of these countries, women are more likely to have these insecure jobs. Top jobs are still dominated by men. A UN report describes progress towards gender equality as sluggish on all fronts.[ii]
Lack of education is associated with high adolescent birth rates.
In developing nations, 89% of children are enrolled in elementary school with improving parity between girls and boys. With lowest rates in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. More girls than boys are in higher education in the former countries of the USSR, Latin American and the Caribbean, northern Africa and South-East Asia.
The rate of deforestation has slowed with tree planting programs.
Global warming has increased natural disasters with most of the deaths in developing countries.
By 2010, only 19% of parliament representatives were women, up from 11% in 1995.[iii] The highest numbers of women politicians were in Rwanda, Sweden and South Africa. Quotas help achieve female representation. Nine chambers lack any women at all, as in Saudi Arabia. In terms of heads of state, only nine of 151 elected leaders were women.
[i] United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report, June 15, 2010, p. 4.
[ii] Ibid, p. 4.
[iii] Ibid., p. 25.