They Set Them, We Managed to Achieve Them
By Niyati Agrawal
“Through others we become ourselves.” – Lev S. Vygotsky
Thirteen years ago, in the month of September, the United Nations and its member countries came together in the UN headquarters in New York and signed the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This declaration, most commonly known as the Millennium Development Goals, urges its member countries and world leaders to come together and solve certain problems of the world which are broadly classified into 8 goals. The goals laid down were: eradicating extreme hunger and poverty; achieving universal primary education; promotion of gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, diabetes; ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. These set goals of the individual countries are to be achieved in roughly two years from now, i.e. by 2015.
The Latin American countries have made tremendous progress in achieving these goals. According to the Australian-Venezuela Network, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is one of the leaders in accomplishing this set task. In 2003, around 28.9% of the Venezuelan population was living under poverty line. By 2011, it was reduced to 6.8%. The food production of the country has also risen by a margin of 44% in 2010, as compared to that of 1998.
The literacy rate of the country has seen the most progress, with an increase in the enrolment of students, who receive primary education to 92.33%. In the year 2005, UNESCO declared Venezuela free of illiteracy and ranked in amongst the top five in the category of access to university education. One of the problems with the education admission was that there were lesser number of female students enrolled as compared to the males. In 2009, it was recorded that more women were admitted to receive university education than men.
The infant mortality rate has seen a decrease to 13.7 per 1000 live births in 2007 as opposed to that of 19 per 1000 live births. The maternal mortality rate has also decreased to 56.8 per 1000 live births. The number still is very high, however there has been a progress and there still are roughly two years left. The number of people receiving free antiretroviral therapy (a combination of vaccines given to suppress the spread of HIV) has also increased from 1,059 in 1999 to 25,657 in 2008. There has been a massive and notable amplification of primary health care doctors from 1,928 in 1998 to 19,500 in the year 2009.
To carry out the environment developmental goal, over 50,000 members of environmental conservation committees have planted roughly 22,000 acres of trees in Venezuela. The usage of pesticide in farming has also remarkably reduced and over 24 million people of the country now receive safe drinking water.
Since the inception of the Millennium Developmental Goals, critics have said that these goals are over ambitious. They even said that these goals are set collectively and are also measured globally which isn’t a fair ground to judge an individual country’s progress. While the argument is very valid, one cannot deny the progress Venezuela has made. It is an example that no matter who sets the goal, if a country wants to, then it can and will be able to reach and climb the ladder of development. And as for being at par with the other countries’ development, it is very important for a country to realise its individual problems and goals before it starts to compare itself globally.