MDG Gap Task Force Report 2013

23 Sep 2013
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The Global Partnership for Development: The Challenge We Face

Mixed results on MDG8 commitments by international community

Agreements during the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development in 2012 and recent meetings of the UN, G8, G20, World Bank Group and others point to efforts being made to find ways to enhance global development and reduce poverty through traditional means, as well as new, innovative methods and partnerships.


Official development assistance (ODA) declined for a second consecutive year in 2012, falling 4 per cent, down to $125.9 billion from $134 billion in 2011. Reductions were mainly were due to fiscal austerity measures by countries in the European Union. On the positive side, several countries, including EU members, either increased aid in 2012 or met the UN target of allocating 0.7 per cent of gross national income to aid.


Bilateral aid to the 49 least developed countries fell 12.8 per cent to about $26 billion in 2012. Bilateral aid to sub-Saharan Africa fell for the first time since 2007, with assistance totalling $26.2 billion in 2012, a decline of 7.9 per cent. Aid to landlocked developing countries and small island developing states, as well as multilateral and humanitarian aid, also fell. Beyond aid from traditional donor countries, several other ways development assistance is provided through various channels and donors.


Trade of developing countries and transition economies outpaced the global economy. World trade grew at a slower rate in 2012 than in 2011, reflecting sluggish economic growth in developed countries. The majority of developing-country exports enter developed-country markets duty-free today. Between 2000 and 2011, the proportion of developed country imports from developing countries admitted duty-free increased by more than 15 per cent. In 2012, G20 members reaffirmed their pledge not to impose protectionist measures and largely resisted creating new trade barriers. In addition, remittance flows continued to grow despite migrants’ employment difficulties in developed countries.


After more than a decade, the Doha Round of global trade negotiations remains stalled. However, the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, which will take place in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013, is an opportunity to break the impasse. Aid for trade has begun to decline, but many international trade policy commitments that favour developing countries, and in particular the least developed countries, are being implemented.


Most developing countries’ fiscal balances have improved, but the pace of fiscal adjustment and its impact on social expenditures is set to increase. As of April 2013, 35 out of 39 highly indebted poor countries (HIPCs) had reached the completion point where they would receive guaranteed debt relief. While the link between debt relief and poverty-reducing expenditure is difficult to demonstrate, data shows that HIPCs have increased poverty-reducing expenditures as their debt service payments declined. In addition, aggregate data presented masks the extent to which some developing countries remain critically indebted or are at significant risk of debt distress.


Essential medicines remain insufficiently available in developing countries, especially in low and lower-middle income countries. Essential medicines were only available in 57 per cent of public and 65 per cent of private health facilities in 2012. Prices in low- and lower-middle-income countries were, on average, 3.3 times higher than international reference prices in public sector facilities and 5.7 times higher in private sector facilities. Pharmaceutical companies are encouraged to make essential medicines more affordable and to develop new medicines most needed by developing countries.


Growth in the number of individuals using the Internet in developing countries grew 12 per cent in 2013, compared to 5 per cent in developed countries. Internet users in developing countries comprised 65 per cent of the total number of users worldwide in 2013, up from 40 per cent in 2005. The penetration rates of Internet use in developing countries also increased to 31 per cent in 2013 from 25 per cent in 2011. ICT services continued to become more affordable, but the difference in costs between developed and developing countries remained substantial.

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