“Eight Goals: One Nation … Belize accelerates progress towards the Millennium Development Goals”
- Net school enrolment has significantly increased reaching 95 percent in 2011
- The target of reducing the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015 has already been achieved
- Maternal deaths have been brought to zero in 2011
- Access to clean water has been ensured
- However, challenges remain particularly in relation to poverty reduction, employment generation, access to sanitation and gender equality.
(Belmopan, 31 January, 2012) – Today at the Central Campus of the University of Belize in the nation’s capital, the “Belize Scorecard and Outlook Report 2010”, in relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was released, revealing that Belize has made significant progress in the last years towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) particularly those related to improving maternal health, reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and ensuring access to clean water.
The country has already met the target of reducing the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015, and aims to further improve it, and it has made significant progress on universal access to primary education, particularly in relation to net enrolment reaching 95 percent in 2011. Other areas of success are related to maternal health, in which the country has succeeded in bringing to zero the number of maternal deaths and in ensuring and improving access to clean water to both urban and the rural communities. Belize, the report says, has also made remarkable progress in reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
As a representative of the local water authority, Ms. Marie Aleman, provided an overview of the development of the Big Falls Water system explaining how good management of the System is positively impacting the village, “..The tank is washed quarterly and super chlorinated annually…The system is monitored and well maintained…We ensure that a new pump is on hand for when the need arises.” She further stated that “…Besides promoting health practices, water borne diseases are prevented such as diarrhoea, skin infections, vomiting etc…Villagers are satisfied with the service provided and the rates we charge…”.
Still, much is yet to be done…
Belize still faces some challenges particularly in relation to poverty reduction, employment generation, ensuring access to improved sanitation and the mainstreaming of gender across development planning and programming. Going forward, Belize will need to continue its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Hon. Erwin Contreras, Minister of Economic Development, Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Protection, who launched the Report, reaffirmed Belize’s commitment to the MDGs and stressed the importance of joining forces and of unity when looking ahead. “When celebrating success it is important to remind ourselves that progress belongs to everyone. It is the result of our joint commitment and efforts and of our shared vision for the future of Belize.”
In the last two years the Government of Belize has addressed some of the challenges brought to light by the analysis of the Report through innovative projects, programmes and legislation, including the approval of the National Integrated Water Resources Act and the work on the MDGs Acceleration Framework which puts Belize on target to ensure access to potable water.
The “Building Opportunities for Social Transformation Initiative” launched in 2010, the “Quality School Initiative”, and the “Conditional Cash Transfer Programme”, are examples of recent successes in addressing human development.
Roberto Valent, UN Resident Coordinator in his overview on the MDGs stated that “the monitoring of MDGs progress is a crucial element of any effective MDGs national strategy, as it enables national legislators to (i) be more aware of the local challenges, (ii) to identify the key priorities, (iii) to draw from best practices with the ultimate goal of reaching out effectively to the most vulnerable groups.”
The “Belize Scorecard and Outlook Report 2010”, has been elaborated by the Government of Belize with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The Report was launched today at the University of Belize with the presence of Hon. Erwin Contreras, Minister of Economic Development, Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Protection, Mr. Roberto Valent, UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Cary Fraser, President, University of Belize; representatives from the various Ministries, including Labour, Local Government and Rural Development; Health; Human Development and Social Transformation; Natural Resources and Environment; as well as from civil society.
About the MDGs:
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by the world’s leaders and all leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest people.