MDG Progress Reports - Arab States

MDG Progress Reports - Arab States

December 14, 2012

The Arab region has achieved progress in many MDGs, including significant strides in health and education. However, there have been setbacks and constraints attributable to several factors, including the relatively poor economic performance in the 1990s and early 2000s, inadequate financing of social policies, and increasing political tensions and conflicts.

According to the Third Arab Report on the MDGs (AMDGR)  for 2010, the Arab region continues to be characterized by sharp disparities between the different sub-regions, particularly between the high-income countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

These disparities to the overall levels of development and progress made towards achieving the MDGs. Indeed, while the GCC countries are on-track to achieving most of the MDG targets, the Arab LDCs, most of which suffer from conflict, together with Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, lag significantly behind, making it unlikely that they will be able to meet the majority of the targets by 2015.

Within this context, supporting the achievement of MDGs and reducing human poverty constitute key pillars of UNDP’s work in the Arab States region.


  • Arab countries are on track with respect to halving the proportion of people living below $1.25 a day.
  • With regard to achieving universal primary education, the Arab region has seen improvement in net enrolment rates, literacy rate of young adults aged 15-24 and gender parity in primary schooling.
  • Women’s economic and political participation remains very limited in the Arab region.
  • Under-five mortality rates have declined by half in the Arab region over the period 1990-2008.
  • There are great variations in reducing maternal mortality rates among countries of the region – ranging from levels below 10 per 100,000 live births in some Gulf countries to around 1,600 per 100,000 in Somalia.
  • The Arab region as a whole only contributes less than 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions, but the impacts of climate change on the region are of major concern to policy makers who recognize that the Arab region will be negatively impacted by climate change.