President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000 to help reduce global poverty, improve global access to healthcare, education and Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) services, might have made a greater impact, but these are not actually felt or visible as a result of the lack adequate data.Delivering the Keynote address at the High Level Segment of the Annual Ministerial Review of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Thursday, President Sirleaf said, though the MDGs made a lot of progress, the lack of capacities and accurate measurements for progress are serious issues in assessing the real impacts of the MDGs in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) such as Liberia.According to a dispatch from the US, the President spoke on the theme, “Implementing a Post-2015 Development Agenda That Works for the LDCs.”She also pointed out that due to the lack of consultations during the early years of implementation of the MDGs, most of the LDCs did not take ownership of the global objectives nor did they believe it to be solutions to their problems.“Moreover, by utilizing a uniformed set of targets, the methodology overlooked differences in country conditions and capacities, leading to challenges in assessing progress made by respective countries,” she said.Nevertheless, President Sirleaf indicated that the MDGs framework became an important tool for improving human development, especially in the LDCs; adding that significant progress has been achieved globally in addressing poverty, malnutrition and communicable diseases, as well as in human development indicators such as education and health.She stressed that when the MDGs was launched in 2000, Liberia was still mired in conflict with no knowledge and participation in its formulation.However, she noted that since 2006, Liberia has made significant progress especially in education, gender equality and women empowerment, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases as well as resource management.“These have enabled Liberia to attract investment and promote sustained and inclusive growth aimed at raising people’s well-being and expectations,” she said.President Sirlreaf however emphasized that the Ebola outbreak exacerbated Liberia’s economic growth decline, and its transformation which was already being affected by decline in the country’s main exports of rubber and iron ore.She said the experience of Liberia and its neighbors with the Ebola virus disease highlighted the fact that while all countries are at risk of such outbreaks, the LDCs are particularly vulnerable to public health emergencies, with severe impacts on the lives, livelihoods and the economies of these countries.She reiterated that Liberia’s experience suggests the fundamental importance of infrastructure and essential skills development, as well as training to strengthen the capacities of LDCs to respond to public health challenges and emergencies, and to mitigate shocks to health systems.Liberia currently serves as a member of the Global Coordination Bureau of the LDCs within the United Nations.The MDGs are eight international development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. It was adopted by the United Nations Millennium Declaration. It rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty by establishing measurable, universally-agreed objectives for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; preventing deadly, but treatable disease, and expanding educational opportunities to all children, among other development imperatives.The MDGs came to an end this year; though with a lot of progress, much still need to be done, especially in the Least Development Countries. It is shortly to be replaced with another global development agenda that is being prepared by the UN.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Share Ramon Espinosa/APHonduran migrants surrender to the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing a border wall into the United States. According to new federal data, the number of migrants apprehended crossing the border in recent months has surged.The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended more than 66,000 migrants at the Southern border in February, the highest total for a single month in almost a decade.The majority of those arrested were migrant families or children traveling alone or without a parent, according to figures released Tuesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Many of the migrants say they’re fleeing criminal gangs and poverty in Central America to seek asylum in the United States.“This is clearly both a border security and humanitarian crisis,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan at a press briefing.Between October and last week, Border Patrol agents have picked up more than 260,000 people — a 90 percent jump over the same period a year ago.“The entire system right now is at full capacity. Actually, it’s overwhelmed,” said Manuel Padilla, a veteran Border Patrol agent who’s now director of Joint Task Force-West in San Antonio, part of the Department of Homeland Security.Even with the recent climb, illegal border crossings are still well below historical highs. But the makeup of the migrant population has changed dramatically from 20 years ago, when it was mostly single men from Mexico. Border Patrol officials say their infrastructure wasn’t designed for the flood of migrant families and children arriving now.“Everything is maxed out and it’s causing a lot of issues, because the agents are being assigned to areas that are not border security related,” Padilla said, like providing food and medical care for the families and children in their custody.Since last year, Border Patrol agents say, they have routinely encountered large groups of a hundred or more migrants at the border, many of them arriving by bus from Guatemala. According to immigration authorities, the passengers consist almost entirely of families and children who are looking for Border Patrol agents to turn themselves in to. Agents say they’ve encountered 70 large groups since last year.That leaves agents scrambling to transport and process the migrants, Padilla said, and allows drug traffickers to take advantage of the distraction.Humanitarian groups near the border say the surge of migrant families is straining their resources too.“It takes an immense effort to do this,” said Ruben Garcia, the director of Annunciation House, a nonprofit organization in El Paso, Texas, that provides shelter, food and medical care to migrants after they’re released from government custody.Most migrants spend just a few days in El Paso, Garcia said, before joining friends or relatives elsewhere in the country, where they’ll wait for their day in immigration court.President Trump has decried the surge of illegal border crossers from Mexico as “an invasion” — and a chief reason that the United States needs to extend its border barriers.But Padilla, the Border Patrol veteran, believes that a wall alone will not stop these migrants.Many of the migrants are crossing in areas that already have border fencing. And they’re not trying to evade the Border Patrol, Padilla said. In fact, these asylum-seekers are trying to turn themselves in as soon as they set foot on U.S. soil.“So the wall is not going to do anything with this population,” Padilla said. “This requires a legislative fix.”Immigration hard-liners say the U.S. needs to close what they call “loopholes” in the law that allow Central American migrants to avoid quick deportation and that prevent immigration authorities from detaining families for long periods of time.Migrant advocates counter that the Trump administration has made the problem at the Southern border worse by allowing just a few migrant families a day to cross at legal ports of entry. They believe that’s driving many migrants to cross illegally in big groups and in remote stretches of the border.“They’re very vulnerable people,” said Garcia at Annunciation House. “Let’s strive not to lose or let go of our history as a people of immigrants, who are profoundly committed to human rights.”Humanitarian groups and immigration authorities are bracing for even more migrants in the months ahead. The number of illegal border crossers typically crests in the spring, as the temperatures warm.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.