Government of Balochistan and UNDP release Balochistan Millennium Development Goals Report
Quetta, 21st May, 2012: The Government of Balochistan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the first-ever Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report for Balochistan in Quetta. The Report tracks progress toward the achievement of MDGs at the provincial level.
The MDGs are a set of 8 goals adopted by 189 countries, including Pakistan in 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015. The MDGs provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions.
According to the MDG Report, developing indicators for Balochistan continues to be lagging behind the national averages. Targets to halve poverty and hunger by 2015 are unlikely to be met. The headcount poverty in fact has increased to 50.9% in 2005-06 from 48% in 2001-02.
On MDG 2, Achieving Universal Primary Education, the Net Primary Enrollment Ratio (NER) for 2008/09 was 44 percent against the target of 100 percent. The literacy rate is at 45 percent against the target of 88 percent.
Promoting Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment targets are unlikely to be met. The Gender Parity Index (GPI) for primary education was 0.58 for Balochistan in 2008/09. District-wise performance has also been starkly. Kohlu held a GPI of only 0.12 whereas Ziarat stood at 1.38.
The proportion of underweight children under 5 years was 43% in 2005-06. Interestingly, for the indicator of proportion of children under 5 who suffered from diarrhea in the last 30 days, Balochistan recorded a rate of only 6 percent in 2008/09 which is exceptional.
Targets for MDG 5, Improving Maternal Health, are similarly not expected to be met. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) which must be brought down to 140 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births was last recorded at 758 in 2006/07. Contraceptive prevalence rates were generally low in the province, estimated at 14.7 percent overall in 2009/10 in the MICS.
On MDG 6, data is not available for all the indicators. Hepatitis B prevalence averaged 4.3 percent in the province, while the prevalence of Hepatitis C was estimated at 1.5 percent. Musakhel was the most affected district for both forms of hepatitis.
On MDG 7, Ensuring Environmental Sustainability, according to figures for 2008/09, 61 percent of the population had access to an improved source of drinking water with sharp variations between districts. However, the MICS 2009/10 placed this proportion at 74.6 percent. Although performances on sanitation facilities increased drastically between 2001/02, where 91 percent of the total population and 98 percent of the rural population did not have access to any system of sanitation, by 2007/08 the percentage of the population in Balochistan with access to sanitation facilities increased to 32 percent.
Mr. Mir Shah Nawaz Marri, Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of Balochistan underlining the importance of Balochistan MDG Report said that it provides a robust fact base and repository of data for informed and evidence based policies formulation in the province. He said that while the Province faces a host of challenges impacting the pace of development; the Government is committed to work toward the achievement of MDGs. He underscored the need for joint efforts led by the Government together with civil society, academia and other development partners to expedite progress on people centered growth and development in the province.
Highlighting Government’s interventions, the Minister said that the Government of Balochistan attaches highest priority to reforms process in all provincial policies to accelerate poverty reduction in the province. He said that the Government is investing huge amount of money into social development and has allocated more than Rs. 2.5 billion in 2010-11 on account of subsidies alone for food security and agriculture development.
Dr. Umar Khan Babar, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Balochistan thanked the UN and other development partners for their support for sustainable economic development in the province. He said that the province is initiating the process of preparing the Balochistan Development Strategy which will set medium to long-term development priorities for the Government and will help furthering progress towards MDGs.
Timo Pakkala, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said that while Balochistan lags behind on most of the MDGs, yet there exist ample opportunities in the province to accelerate progress. Mr. Pakkala said that four drivers are critical to the achievement of MDGs. These include 1) Investment in women and girls; 2) Increasing energy, water and sanitation access for the poor; 3) Improved Governance at the country and provincial level; and 4) Capacity development. Mr. Pakkala reiterated the support of UN System to promote inclusive development in Balochistan. He said that it is encouraging to note that the Government of Balochistan has started the preparation of a Comprehensive Development Strategy for the province. He hoped that the launching of Balochistan MDG Report now would inform the scope and direction of the Balochistan Development Strategy.
For further information and media assistance, please contact, Fatimah Inayet, Communications Analyst, UNDP Pakistan