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Millennium Development Goals For Gambia

The MDGs are relevant to The Gambia’s development context as they set clear targets for reducing poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease, discrimination against women and environmental degradation as well as requisite global partnerships in support of such efforts. In effect, the objectives and pillars of the country’s second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II) are very much correlated with the MDGs.

The challenges faced by The Gambia in meeting a number of MDGs reflect the absence of an integrated planning framework that can effectively monitor national and local progress towards the MDGs. The lack of such a framework is compounded by inadequate institutional capacity and serious resource constraints. Overall, the country faces serious challenges in its efforts to reliably track the MDGs. There has also been a growing realization by senior government policymakers and other stakeholders that if The Gambia is to attain the MDGs, the capacity of administrative, financial and planning structures at the local level will have to be considerably enhanced. Effective and efficient delivery of these services is essential if the MDGs are to have a realistic chance of being attained by 2015.

The Government of The Gambia, at the highest levels, has committed itself to integrating the MDGs into its planning processes. In January 2006, the government decided to integrate the draft second PRSP (PRSP II) and the draft Medium Term Plan (MTP) into one unified planning framework for the country. In order to strengthen implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, which is identified as the primary vehicle for attaining the MDGs. The government established a National Planning Commission (NPC) for coordinating the national Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) via the implementation of the PRSP, the NPC is the primary government agency charged with tracking MDG targets.

Some of the main findings of the MDG Reports are that MDG targets for poverty, gender equality, and HIV/AIDS were unlikely to be met if existing trends did not change. On the other hand, maternal health, hunger, and access to basic amenities such as safe drinking water were relatively more likely to be met by 2015.

Improvements to maternal health and child nutrition (MDGs 4 and 5), strengthening secondary education and eliminating gender disparities in school (MDG 3), general poverty reduction (MDG 1) and environmental preservation (MDG 7) and HIV/AIDS (MDG 6) are therefore among the areas emphasized in the country’s poverty reduction strategy. These are therefore the areas where The Gambia needs to catch up so as to achieve the aspirations of Vision 2020 in general and the PRSP II and MDG goals and targets in particular.

Country Action Plan:
Poverty reduction and achieving the Millennium Development Goals:-

Progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goals targets and implementing the propoor poverty agenda has been uneven.

That programme outcome will support pro-poor policy reform and the mobilization of resources and strengthening of partnerships required to achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets. The 2003 and 2005 Millennium Development Goals progress reports show that targets for reducing hunger, provision of basic amenities (water/sanitation), reducing maternal mortality and universal primary education and environmental sustainability are achievable. The reports show that at the current pace the country will experience difficulties in achieving targets to reduce income poverty, child mortality and HIV/AIDS infections, and achieve gender equality. Wide geographic performance discrepancies exist between the urban western and the rural eastern parts of the Gambia.

Since attaining the Millennium Development Goals is a central component of the Government’s development strategy, UNDP support will be geared towards integrating the goals into sector strategies and placing more emphasis on the costing, funding gaps and monitoring of targets so that government, civil society and development partners can effectively contribute to the effort to attain the goals. Support will be provided to establish an independent think tank that can provide independent research and analysis for use by policymakers to strengthen evidence-based planning systems in support of the goals.

Support will be provided to establishing frameworks and effective systems for improved economic governance. That presupposes a focus on the acutely needed and comprehensive public sector reform being led by the Government with the support of development partners. UNDP support will be provided towards creating a planning institution, the National Planning Commission. The Commission builds on past UNDP support and will seek to consolidate government planning instruments and provide an emphasis on implementation and systematic monitoring and evaluation of intended outcomes in a more results-oriented manner.

The emphasis will be on capacity development; establishing systems based on transparency and accountability; and setting up efficient tracking and monitoring systems. Aid coordination and management will be a key component in improving resource mobilization, targeting and monitoring to address the development priorities and Millennium Development Goal targets of the Gambia. 21. Employment generation remains the greatest challenge. The CPD will focus on implementing the National Employment Action Plan by supporting institutional strengthening and vocational training. Emphasis will be placed on facilitating private-public sector partnerships for investment in the productive sectors, thereby promoting employment opportunities and job creation.

Source: UNDP Document: 2006
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