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
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