MISGUIDED priorities by successive governments have put Papua New Guinea way off the development track, so much so that it will be unable to achieve any of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) before the target date of 2015, a departmental head said on Tuesday.
The MDG were agreed upon by world leaders in September 2000 and are aimed at ending poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender inequality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and ensuring environmental sustainability.
Secretary for Community Development Joseph Klapat said on the eve of Independence Day celebrations that PNG’s story was shameful because it was seen as a resource-rich country and yet suffered from curable illnesses like cholera and dysentery, TB, malaria and others.
“There is now a need for improvement by using the MDG as a yardstick to measure our progress,” Mr Klapat said.
He made his remarks on the occasion of the launch of the United Nations’ Millennium Campaign to encourage citizens to “Stand up and take action” to make their governments accountable on the MDG.
He called on all civil society groups and Government agencies and departments to get together to ensure that the goals were met before 2015. Mr Klapat said that instead of relying on funds to carry out the work, misguided priorities now need to be looked at, with the challenge of proper agency coordination issues taken into consideration.
He said that it was only the departments of Health and Education who were halfway towards achieving the goals. Mr Klapat co-launched the campaign on Tuesday with the deputy director of the UN Millennium Campaign for the Asia Pacific region, Minar Pimple.
The UN Millennium campaign was launched to encourage citizens to stand up and take action against poverty and to make governments around the world accountable and responsible for the attainment of the eight MDG.
The campaign began in 2002 and is now a massive global civil society movement which takes place from Oct 16-18 annually.Papua New Guinea is the 117th country in the world to be part of the campaign.