Gender equality key to achieving MDGs

National, Normal

THE Government and its development partners, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil societies, are urged to accelerate efforts in achieving key development indicators such as gender and HIV/AIDS under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
UNDP administrator and chair to the UN Development Group, Helen Clark, said the country would not be able to achieve any of its development goals by 2015 and would need to change the approach and step up efforts to close the widening gap within five years.
Ms Clark said that the national report on MDG would have identified HIV/AIDS as “the single most important impediment for the achievement of the MDG in Papua New Guinea”.
“It indicates that if the present HIV incidence rate continues to climb, it is unlikely that any of the MDG will be achieved in the foreseeable future,” she said.
Ms Clark said that PNG could still reverse the epidemic but it required the Government and civil society to work together to confront the challenges underlying the epide-mic.
“The challenges include gender inequality, stigma and discrimination.
“The UN is fully committed to supporting efforts in these areas,” she said.
Ms Clark also encouraged the PNG’s UN team to scale up their efforts to help countries achieve the MDG and in overcoming bottlenecks standing in the way of progress.
“It is not a matter of simply doing more of the same.
“Things will need to be done differently if we are to help countries transform their prospects and meet the MDG.”
The UN, she said, stood ready to help PNG design and implement policies which go beyond the conventional small project to bring about systemic change for the better in critical areas like health and education.
She said making progress on the MDG would require unwavering political leadership
at all levels, coupled with strong vision and smart policies, including strong partnerships with all contributors to development – national governments, the multilateral, regional and bilateral partners, NGOs and the private sector.
“Making progress will also requiring stretching all available resources
as far as possible for development, and require long-term strategies to ensure that how nations develop and grow is sustainable,” she said.
Ms Clark also announced that a special high level summit on the MDG would take place at the UN in New York to generate renewed commitment to reach the goals, mobilise support for scaling up MDG successes, identify remaining gaps, and agree on how best to fill them.
“Papua New Guinea’s MDG report is an important contribution to these efforts,” the former New Zealand prime minister said.