Best opportunity in a generation to achieve MDGs in Sudan, says new report
Khartoum – Sudan’s progress towards achieving the globally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been stalled due to the detrimental effects of past and continuing armed conflict in parts of the country. Significant financial and human resources needed to support government authority have caused a reduction or suspension of expenditure increases on essential or basic services to people.
Today, with the three peace agreements and the ongoing efforts to reach a lasting and comprehensive peaceful settlement in Darfur, Sudan has its greatest opportunity in a generation to consolidate and sustain peace and improve the lives of all Sudanese and make progress towards achieving the MDGs.
These are some of the findings of the second Sudan Millennium Development Report, released here today. The Report that was tabled at the recent Millennium Summit in New York has been prepared by the National Population Council (NPC), with support of the United Nations development agencies based in Sudan. The project for the preparation of the national MDG report was led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“We in the Ministry of Welfare & Social Security has emphasized and advocate for the incorporation of the MDGs targets and indicators in the Sudan’s Five Year Strategic Plan 2011-2016 which is currently under preparation” announced H.E. Minister of Welfare & Social Security Mrs. Amira El-Fadil today in the launch of the Sudan 2010 MDGs Progress Report.
One of the key recommendations of the Report for enhancing time-bound progress in order to achieve the MDGs in the five years remaining to 2015 is the need for effective and efficient holistic interventions to address the challenges identified in the Report in the way of achieving each of the MDGs. The Report calls for according high national attention to strengthening statistical capacity to furnish reliable and accurate data that enable monitoring, tracking and evaluation of performance regarding the MDGs and in respect of other pivotal socio-economic development domains.
The MDGs are reflected in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) as a prerequisite to achieving stability in Sudan, and in the Sudan’s Constitution. Reliable data on the current state of socio-economic development in Sudan that are disaggregated by region, gender, income, and comparable data over time and with other states and regions is patchy and hard to obtain.
This Report assesses the progress made in Sudan towards achieving the MDGs and uses data from the most recent national census (2008), National Baseline Household surveys (2009) as well as the State Household Survey 2006. The Report reveals that economic growth in Sudan has not been broad-based, with investments and services concentrated in and around Khartoum state and to a lesser extent in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan.
UNDP Sudan Country Director addressed the audiences in the launch and emphasized on the strong partnership with the government; and explained that achieving MDGs in Sudan is possible if the challenges highlighted in the report been dealt with as opportunities for progress remain still. “UNDP and other sister UN agencies consider MDGs as an strategic aspect of intervention which goes beyond preparing this report to other important aspects such as capacity building and localization of MDGs in Sudan”; emphasized Mr. Claudio Caldarone, the UNDP Sudan Country Director.
The report reveals examples of progress that can be seen in the Gross Enrolment Rate in basic education which increased from 65% in 2004 to 71% in 2009 in North Sudan. Literacy rate for 15-24 years old persons increased from 27% in 1990 to 69% in 2009 and to 72.5% in 2010. Furthermore; the incidence and death rates associated with malaria also declined significantly: reported malaria cases declined from 7.5 million in 2001 to 3.1 million in 2009 and deaths from malaria declined from 35,000 in 2001 to 8,840 in 2009. Cellular subscribers per 100 populations increased from 9 in 2005 to 28 in 2009. Internet users per 100 populations increased from 8.2 in 2009 to 10.4 in 2010.
The Report reveals that poverty in Southern Sudan is widespread; approximately half of the population (50.6%) lives on less than the official poverty line. The poverty headcount ratio in rural areas (55.4%) is double the ratio in urban areas (24.4%). Poverty rates vary significantly between states – from three in four people in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state (75.6%) to only one in four people in Upper Nile state (25.7%).
Across the Northern states, the level of food deprivation varies significantly. It registered 44% in the Red Sea, 15% in the Gazira and River Nile. The survey shows that food deprivation is higher in female-headed household (37%) than in male headed households (31%), due an average to better access of male-headed households to education and income. Also the survey shows that the rate of food deprived differs according to household size, ranging from 5% for households of one or two members to 49% for households with more than 9 members.
The nutrition situation in Sudan is poor, characterized by high levels of underweight and chronic malnutrition, as well as persistently elevated levels of acute malnutrition. Nationally, one third (31%) of children under the age of five years in Sudan is moderately or severely underweight. Almost one third of children (32.5%) suffer from moderate or severe chronic malnutrition, underlining the long term and prevalent under nutrition and morbidity throughout the country. Nationally, the level of global acute malnutrition is just below internationally recognized standards for indicating a nutrition emergency. These figures vary significantly between states.
The significant development disparities between urban and rural areas and between regions have contributed to growing inequalities in the country. This state of affairs has aggravated migration from rural to urban centers that is believed to have weakened agricultural productivity and deepened poverty in both urban and rural areas, notes the report.
While the overall per capita income of the Sudan increased from US$ 777 in 2004 to US$ 1,454 in 2009, the distribution of the income reflects regional disparities and imbalanced growth among the states due to conflict in areas such as Darfur. The services that could be negatively affected could include education, health, clean drinking water, electricity supply, infrastructure, deteriorating environment and employment opportunities.
Sudan has launched a Five-Year Development Plan within a 25 years strategy (2007-2031). The Government of Sudan has stated in its Five-Year Development Plan (2007-2011) its intention to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
With land area of 2.5 million square kilometers, Sudan is the largest country in Africa and the ninth largest in the world. Sudan’s total population is estimated at approximately 39 million people. Close to 31 million or nearly 79 per cent of the population inhabits the Muslim-majority North and another 8 million live in Southern Sudan. Almost 2 per cent of the population is internally displaced.
Sudan's 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was signed by the Government of Sudan and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) put an end to the civil war and opened unprecedented opportunities for peace, development and prosperity. The CPA addressed directly the key causes of the conflict. The main provisions of the CPA include: the establishment of a Government of National Unity (GONU) for the country as a whole and a Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS); wealth sharing protocol, building on the emergence of oil as a major source of revenues; and other protocols for peaceful coexistence of the Sudanese communities in the north and south.
Kumar Tiku: Head, Communications Unit, UNDP Sudan: firstname.lastname@example.org