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Millennium Development Goals do not clash or ahead of “Mahinda Chinthanaya”

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alt(Colombo Lankapuvath) The Millennium Development Goals Country Report for the years 2008/09 was launched this morning (20th) in Colombo today with the presence of Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama as the Chief Guest.

This was presented simultaneously with the holding of the United Nations (UN) Summit in New York today. The main points of the Progress Report fell under 8 headings.
This is the 2nd Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report. It highlighted certain areas which Sri Lanka can be proud of and certain areas which need further attention.

In no way does it clash or compete with principles embodies in “Mahinda Chinthanaya”.
Following are the 8 main headings under which the Progress Report was presented.
1.    Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hungeralt

In this respect, although the country is on course to attain the MDG target of halving poverty at a national level by 2015, areas such as Nuwara Eliya, Monaragala, Ratnapura, Badulla, Kegalle, Kandy and Matale districts are still lagging behind and therefore needs special attention.

The “Mahinda Chinthanaya” also emphasizes on the eradication of extreme poverty from Sri Lanka.

Attention on the estate sector- by 1999, 24% of the estate sector was below the given poverty level. The MDG states that it should be reduced to 10% by 2015, but on 2007, the percentage increased to 32%

Suitable strategies have been planned and are being implemented to adequately spread the growth outside western province, so as to reduce the original altdesparities.

2.    Achieve Universal Primary Education

Sri Lanka has achieved the Universal Primary Education target of 100% before 2015. Therefore, the focus should now be on improving the quality of education and improving education outcomes.

Mastering basic language and numeric skills should be improved, and particular effort should be made to include children with disabilities, the destitute, abandoned, working and street children.

3.    Promote Gender Equality and Empower Womenalt

The net growing share of wage employment in “non-agricultural sector” is marginal, from 30.8% in 1993 to 32.2% in 2006.

The rate of unemployment for women is twice the rate for men, and for educated women it is close to three times the rate for men.

Political parties should be encouraged to field more women candidates at elections, as women’s political representation in Sri Lanka is still very low. Men and women need to be given equal opportunities. Also, working conditions for women should be improved.

4.    Reduce Child Mortality

Sri Lanka’s current level of 11.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is lower than countries considerably wealthier than Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been successful in drastically reducing our Child Mortality in the last half-a-century.

There are similar sharp reductions in the under-5 mortality rate, and the MDG child mortality targets are well within reach.alt

The IMR in the North Central Province is almost twice the national average, a hefty 16.6%. The Millennium Development Goal is to reduce it to 5.5% by 2015.

5.    Improve Maternal Health (MMR)

Based on Registrar General’s Department estimate, MMR was 14 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2003. The Family Health Bureau (FHB) estimates that the MMR as 39.3% per 100,000 live births in 2006.

Sri Lanka is on track to meeting the MDG by reducing MMR by three quarter between 1990 and 2015.

Central, Northern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces are above those numbers, reflected in Central & Eastern Sector. Further attention is needed in Sri Lanka’s family in addressing the MDG.

6.    Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases

Sri Lanka remains one of the countries in the region with low-level HIV patients. However the number of infected people can be higher than reported due to the stigma attached to the disease. It is the stigma that should be tackled effectively.

Up to the end of 2007 a total of 266 AIDS cases have been detected in the country and 172 persons reportedly died of AIDS.

Apart from the urban areas in Central and North-western Provinces, the Northern and Eastern Provinces fall into high risk areas.

Sri Lanka may have to launch special programmes to achieve the target of halving the incidence and death rate due to Tuberculosis (TB). The overall incidence rate of TB was 42 per 100,000 population in 2006 and is much higher in Kandy, Vavuniya, Colombo and Kalutara districts.

7.    Ensure Enivronmental Sustainability

Although there has been a noticeable deterioration of the environmental quality in Sri Lanka, the situation is improving. Sri Lanka has been identified as one of the countries that are on track to achieve goals set by the Montreal Protocol to protect the Ozone layer.

The Vehicle Emission Test (VET) has been established and is a necessity in acquiring the license.

Nearly 85% of Sri Lankan households have sustainable access to improved drinking water in 2006/07 comared to 60% in 1990.

For 4% of rural residents and 11% of residents in the estate sector, the source of drinking water is more than 1km away.

8.    Develop a Global Partnership for Development

The amount of foreign financing annually committed to Sri Lanka by development partners since 2004 has exceeded one billion US$, in support of post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction and as well as in support of new development initiatives of the Government under the “Mahinda Chinthanaya”.

The total annual foreign financing rached US$ 2069 million in 2008, as opposed to US$ 899 million in 2002. Sri Lanka has received a large amount of bilateral assistance in difficult times from countries such as  Japan, Iran and India.


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