CAIRO: The number of workers living on less that $1.25 increased worldwide by around 215 million in 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis, a United Nations report said.
Last Monday, the UN Information Center in Cairo presented the UN report entitled “Keeping the Promise, which analyzes success stories and obstacles to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
“Between 1998 and 2008, the number of workers living on less than $1.25 per day fell from 944 to 632 million, 21.2 percent of worldwide workers. As a result of the economic and financial crisis, it is estimated that, in 2009, the number increased by up to 215 million, it said.
Ten years have already elapsed; five more are to come to achieve the eight UN MDGs the international community agreed upon in 2000. Having triggered “the largest cooperative effort in the world history to fight poverty, hunger and disease, the MDGs try to enforce the “right to development included next to economic, social and cultural rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Over 300 million new jobs will need to be created over the next five years to return to pre-crises levels of unemployment, the report read, “The number of hungry people rose from 837 million in 2004-2006 to a peak of 1.02 billion people during 2009.
These facts give evidence to the report’s major concern, namely that the economic crisis had and continues to have a negative effect on the already achieved progress, triggering higher unemployment, smaller income and less social security for people in developing countries.
“One-size-fits-all policies are bound to fail, stated the report, herewith underlining the importance of nationally elaborated development strategies and emphasizing the need for enhanced private-public cooperation, given that “economic growth is not sufficient.
“We need social policies that underpin the economic transformations in order to reach a “long-term equitable, sustainable growth and structural change.
“MDGs interventions require to ensure that money gets to the right place, at the right time and for the right uses, states the report highlighting the need for accountability mechanisms between developed and developing countries as well as between governments and their citizens.
The report also urged against gender discrimination in the evaluation of development achievements, especially because the progress in gender equality has been classified as “insufficient.
Even if the share of national parliamentary seats held by women has increased worldwide up to 19 percent in 2009, it is unlikely that by 2015 the targeted 30 percent will be reached.
In Egypt, only 2 percent of MPs are currently women, but with this year’s parliamentary elections, a 12 percent women quota will see its first application.
But the efforts also gave birth to success stories. The MDGs aiming at achieving universal primary education for boys and girls has nearly succeeded in its implementation, with many countries having crossed the 90 percent enrolment threshold. In Egypt, 98 percent of boys and girls are enrolled in primary school, according to the report.
“Let us meet in September to keep the promise, concludes the report that will be the basis for the UN Summit on the MDGs that will be held this September in New York.