In September of 2000

In September of 2000, the world leaders of all the United Nations member states came together to sign the United Nations millennium declaration. This declaration contained eight goals known as the millennium development goals (MDGs) that they were to achieve by 2015. “The MDGs are a commitment by the UN to establish peace and a healthy global economy by focusing on major issues like poverty, children’s health, empowerment of women and girls, sustainable environment, disease, and development” (United Nations Foundation, 2013). This essay will evaluate how Zambia as a country performed in achieving each of the Millennium Development Goals.
The first of the Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate poverty and extreme hunger. This goal aimed to reduce the number of people living below $1.25 and suffer from extreme hunger by half between 1990 and 2015, MDG Achievement Fund (2009). In Zambia, the rate at which extreme poverty was reducing was not fast enough to attain their goal. The percentage of people living in poverty decreased by only 16% from 1991 to 2010. As at 2015, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in Zambia was 40.8% as opposed to their goal of 29%, Lusaka Voice (2016). We can clearly see that Zambia did not achieve this goal, this could be as a result of numerous reasons. Some of these include inadequate investment in the development of rural economic infrastructure, where majority of the people living in extreme poverty are living, United Nations (2016). Another reason is failure to assess whether the support programmes had any immediate benefit for their targeted group of people.
The second millennium development goal is to achieve universal primary education. The main aim of this goal was to guarantee that all children (male and female) are able to complete their primary education, Chalasani (2018). Zambia has managed to make substantial advancements towards this goal recording a 13.7% increase to 93.7% in primary school enrollments as at 2010, United Nations (2016). By 2013, the gross enrollment ratio was 103.65 according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics, (2014). All this is due to initiatives such as making primary school education free and the discouragement of early marriages. It can be seen that Zambia has managed to achieve its goal. However, there remain major concerns about the quality of education being provided in terms of educational infrastructure and teaching staff, United Nations (2016).
The third millennium development goal is to promote gender equality and empower women. The target of this goal was to “Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015” (United Nations Development Programme, 2013). Zambia was making decent progress to achieve gender equality in terms of literacy rates for ages between 15 and 24 years. Another target was to have a minimum of 30% of women in decision making roles in government. The nation is still lacking in this aspect as only approximately 11% of parliament seats are held by women, United Nation (2016). The United Nations (2016) states that problem of gender equality still needs to be heavily addressed, this can be done through the implementation of more gender equality campaigns and imposing strict laws against gender violence.
The fourth millennium development goal is to reduce child mortality. The target of this goal was to decrease the child and infant mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015. The child mortality rate has reduced from 1901 deaths to 138 per 1000 live births as at 2010, United Nations (2016). This is partially due to the country wide immunization programmes. Although this is quite a significant reduction, the mortality rates still remain high. More effort needs to be put into educational campaigns that encourage breastfeeding and improving nutrition for children. It can be said that Zambia has not fully achieved this goal.
The fifth millennium development goal was to improve maternal health. The major target of this goal was to decrease the maternal mortality ratio by at least 75%. The World Health Organization (2018) states that maternal mortality rate refers to the yearly number of women that die per 100,000 live births as result of a pregnancy associated problem. In Zambia, the main objective of this goal was to reach a minimum of 138 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Zambia was making numerous attempts to reach this objective such as the development of obstetric care facilities in the country, improving the quality of training that mid wives undergo and the educational programmes about the importance of antenatal care, United Nations (2016). However, even with the actions that have been taken, the maternal mortality ratio was still decreasing at a slow rate. According to the Central Intelligence Agency (2018), as at 2015 the maternal mortality rate was at 224 per 100,000 live births meaning Zambia did not fully achieve this goal.
The sixth millennium development goal was to combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. The main targets of this goal were to deter the spread of HIV/AIDS and provide widespread access to its treatment and to reduce the spread of malaria and other diseases, United Nations Development Programme (2013). Zambia has performed quite well with regards to this goal, it aimed at reaching an HIV/AIDS prevalence of approximately 15% and it is currently at 14%, United Nations (2016). This is due to the facilitation of antiretroviral drugs and massive availability of testing services. However, the prevalence rates are higher than 15% in some provinces. The number of new reports of tuberculosis have reduced while the rate of malaria fatality has increased, United Nations (2016).
The seventh millennium development goal was to ensure that there is environmental sustainability. The deforestation in Zambia is one of the highest in Africa, this is due to poor agricultural practices and economic activities such as charcoal production. According to the United Nations (2016), the percentage of land covered by forests has fallen by approximately 10%. The amount of people that do not have access to a clean water has reduced by 14%. On the other hand, the amount of people without improved sanitation almost tripled in 2010 to approximately 70%. This is partially due to the revised standards of basic sanitation, United Nations (2016). The efforts made to achieve this goal include the execution of policies that involve job creation in areas related environmental sustainability.
The final millennium development goal was to develop a global partnership for development. The main targets for this goal were to attend to the needs of the countries with the lowest levels of development and provide everyone with access to the advantages of technologies such as information and communication technology, United Nations Development Programme (2016). According to the International Monetary Fund (2017), Zambia’s domestic public debt had doubled by 2016 to approximately 24% of the Gross Domestic Product. “Undertaking an ambitious industrial development strategy that recognizes that while extractive industry remains an important anchor of growth, industrial diversification will drive the medium- to long-term economic development” (United Nations, 2016).
In conclusion, it can be seen that Zambia has had mixed results in achieving the millennium development goals. They have performed well in areas such as education and combatting of disease while are still lacking in areas such as environmental sustainability and economic related aspects. Therefore, even though the country made massive improvements to achieve these goals, the overall performance was poor.