20 Fragile, Conflict-Affected States Make Progress Toward MDGs, World Bank Says

“Twenty of the world’s most troubled countries have made progress in efforts that range from reducing poverty to improving the education of girls and cutting down on the deaths of women in childbirth, the World Bank said on Wednesday” in a new report (.pdf), Reuters reports. Each country has met the requirements for at least one Millennium Development Goal (MDG), while “[a]nother six are on track to meet the goals by the deadline in 2015, with the progress visible in part due to better data collection and monitoring,” the news agency notes, adding, “Data gathered in 2010 and earlier had found none of these states had met any of the MDGs” (Yukhananov, 5/1). “The 20 fragile and conflict affected countries which have met one or more targets are Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Comoros, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kiribati, Liberia, Libya, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sudan, Syria, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, and West Bank and Gaza,” according to a World Bank press release, which notes Nepal is the only country among the list to have met the MDG for maternal mortality. The analysis is based on the Global Monitoring Report’s data, the press release states (5/1).

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said, “This should be a wake-up call to the global community not to dismiss these countries as lost causes. … Development can and is being achieved, even amid fragility and violence,” according to Reuters. Countries “caught in repeated cycles of violence are still lagging behind the rest of the world in development metrics and are struggling to meet more than one target,” and some states “are also vulnerable to relapse,” the news agency notes. “One of the challenges in helping fragile nations is trying to bridge the gap between long-term development and humanitarian assistance, which tends to pour in once a country emerges from conflict but just as quickly dries up after international attention fades or there are no immediate signs of progress, Caroline Anstey, managing director at the World Bank, said,” Reuters writes. “Humanitarian aid isn’t going to enable you to build institutions, to have those long-term investments in training or even education and health. … We think that by working more closely with the U.N., we can bridge that development gap,” Anstey said, according to the news agency (5/1).

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