In the year 2000 the United Nations, following its Millennium Summit established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. It is noteworthy that all 189 United Nations member states and a minimum of 23 international organizations made commitment to see to the attainment of the MDGs. The MDGs comprises of eight International Development Goals, which are slated to be achieved by the year 2015.
I. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
II. To achieve universal primary education
III. To promote gender equality and empowering women
IV. To reduce child mortality rates
V. To improve maternal health
VI. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
VII. To ensure environmental sustainability
VIII. To develop a global partnership for development
It is important to submit that all the MDGs are linked to children. This is clear by their captions and also by the nature of their beneficiaries. It is a fact that of the 48 indicators of progress toward the Goals, UNICEF is chiefly responsible for progress in 13.
While different mechanisms have been designed to monitor the progress of the MGDs, I will like to focus on Goal 1: To Eradicate Extreme Poverty. Two distinct reasoning informed by decision to focus my attention on Goal 1: the first is the fact that poverty is at the root of all the other problems that the MDGs seek to address and find lasting solutions to. I am not surprised that it is the first goal. It is important also to note that it is clear in the minds of the patrons of the MDGs that achieving Goal 1 is an inevitable pathway to achieving the remaining 7. I guess that is why the Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 is titled, ‘We Can End Poverty 2015 Millennium Development Goals
The second is the fact that it is my long-held view that until we address the issue of poverty with a commitment to finding lasting solutions to same, we are not serious about child protection, which is my core interest. I am of the candid opinion that poverty automatically breeds abuses.
Two years ago I was privileged to attend a press conference organized by the government of the state where I reside in Nigeria. The goal of the press conference was to announce the measure being taken by the state government to declare total war on abuses of children in the state. The press laudable press conference was addressed by a very senior functionary of the government. After the top government functionary had addressed the press on the measures being taken by the state government to curb abuses of children, she welcomed comments. I stood up to comment that the efforts of the state government at declaring war at child abuse are laudable. I further stated that except we address the problem of poverty in the state, it may be impossible to achieve too much in the area of prevention of abuse. I said once the existence of parents is an abuse, they automatically abuse their children.
In view of the foregoing permit me to take a look Goal 1 on the MDGs as it affects Child Protection in the African continent. It is important to note that it is the conclusion in my immediate article on Modern Day Slavery that poverty is mainly at the root of exploitation of children, particularly in the Third World.
I will bring this discussion to an end when we meet again. I charge you to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think…Think the FUTURE…Do have an INSPIRED week.