Great news – the glass is indeed half full

20/09/2010 at 2:14 am 5 comments

Many people in Ireland don’t believe that we will ever “make poverty history”. The seemingly incessant stream of bad news from many developing countries, is enough to undermine anyone’s belief that we will ever win the fight against global poverty.

Well, we have news for you, and it is good news for a change. Great news in fact. But good news that you will hardly ever hear in the mainstream media, for it is not the type of quick and sensational news that makes headlines.

This is the kind of news that is the talk of the town here in New York, at the United Nations summit meeting about global development: we are beginning to win the “war on poverty”.

Here it is: the internationally agreed ‘recipe’ to end extreme poverty is working.

Since it was agreed in 2000, the recipe for action – contained in the 8 Millennium Development Goals has begun to show very definite results:

  • 200 million bednets have been distributed since 2006, cutting deaths from malaria by half in some African countries;
  • For the first time in decades, researchers are reporting a significant drop in the number of women dying each year in childbirth (down to 342,000 in 2008, from 526,000 in 1980);
  • Fewer children are dying, with annual global deaths of children under five falling to 8.8 million in 2008 – down by 30% since 1990;
  • The proportion of births attended by skilled health workers increased worldwide;
  • The world is on track to achieve the MDG target on access to safe drinking water;
  • Vaccines now save millions of lives and have helped reduce global measles deaths by 74% since 2000;
  • An estimated 1.6 billion people gained access to improved water facilities between 1990 and 2006;
  • 27 countries reported a reduction of up to 50% in the number of malaria cases in the period 1990-2006;
  • The number of children out of school declined from 115 million in 2002 to 101 million in 2007;
  • More than 90% of children in developing countries who started primary school also finished it;
  • In recent years, most developing countries have seen a significant growth in employment;
  • Since 2003, per capita GDP has been growing in many developing countries, at an annual rate of 5-7% (compared to 2% in rich countries).

This week, we as Irish NGO workers are joining world leaders here in New York to celebrate these successes and to learn the lessons from the initiatives that brought them about. And we are here to encourage the Governments of the world to hold the line on the Development goals – especially now, at a time when the global recession is presenting severe challenges for us all.

It is time to highlight the good news and to remind ourselves that change is indeed possible. And that change rarely comes easy. Difficult choices will need to be made.

But the good news is: change is already happening and we have already shown that it IS possible to make poverty history. Let’s make sure we use the opportunity!


Entry filed under: MDGs, Overseas aid. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Poor people can’t afford to be cynical about political promises. The MDG Summit Declaration – what went before

5 Comments Add your own

  • […] political agendas of the various UN member states, and that it is realistic in its assessment that significant progress towards the MDGs has been made but that our collective effort to make poverty history is falling […]

  • […] Great news – the glass is indeed half full « Dochasnetwork's Blog […]

  • 3. Clare  |  28/09/2010 at 4:25 pm

    You’ve highlighted some of the positive points, but there are plenty of negative ones too as I’ve written about here: In my opinion, statistics can paint any picture you want them to and the overall progress is very limited.

  • 4. Hans Zomer  |  28/09/2010 at 8:23 pm

    True. Statistics can say anything. But it is basic psychology that, to bring about change, people respond better to encouragement than to negative messages. Better to point at the full half of the glass, to show that it CAN be done, than to keep highlighting the empty half!

  • 5. hmm...?  |  12/10/2010 at 11:50 pm



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