President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says that due to the lack of consultation at the inception, and in the early years of implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), most Least Developed Countries (LDCs) did not take ownership of the global objectives nor did they believe it to be solutions to their problems.
President Sirleaf made the observations on Thursday, July 9, 2015, when she delivered the keynote address to the High Level Segment of the Annual Ministerial Review of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. She spoke on “Implementing a post-2015 development agenda that works for the Least Developed Countries.”
“Moreover, by utilizing a uniformed set of targets, the methodology overlooked differences in country conditions and capacities, leading to challenges in assessing progress made by respective countries,” President Sirleaf said.
The Liberian leader pointed to the lack of capacities and accurate measurements for progress as serious issues in assessing the real impacts of the MDGs in Least Developed Countries such as Liberia.
Nevertheless, she noted, the MDG framework became an important tool for improving human development, especially in the Least Developed Countries. She added that significant progress was achieved globally in addressing poverty, malnutrition and communicable diseases, as well as in human development indicators such as education and health.
According to the Liberian leader, even though when the MDGs were launched in the year 2000 Liberia was still mired in conflict with no knowledge and participation in the formulation of the MDGs, Since 2006,the country has made significant progress, especially in Education, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, HIV /AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, and resource management.
“These have enabled Liberia to attract investment, and promote sustained and inclusive growth, aimed at raising people’s well-being and expectations,” she said.
President Sirlreaf, however, stated that the Ebola outbreak exacerbated Liberia’s economic growth decline, and its transformation which was already being affected by decline in the country’s main exports of rubber and iron ore.
President Sirleaf said the experience of Liberia and its neighbors with the Ebola virus highlighted the fact that while all countries are at risk of such outbreaks, the Least Developed Countries are particularly vulnerable to public health emergencies, with severe impacts on lives and livelihoods and on the economies of these countries.
She concluded that Liberia’s experience suggests the fundamental importance of infrastructure and essential skills development, as well as training to strengthen the capacities of Least Developed Countries to respond to public health challenges and emergencies, and to mitigate shocks to health systems.
Liberia currently serves as a Member of the Global Coordination Bureau of the Least Developed Countries within the United Nations.
About Author: Edmund Neblett
Liberian Permanent Mission to the UN 886 United Nations Plaza, NY NY