Tripling investments to meet the Millennium Development Goals
In the year 2000, Guyana along with 188 other countries adopted what is known as the Millennium Declaration which sought to improve the future and sustainability of humanity.
In this regard Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were crafted and used as time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions; income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability.
Since then, the Government of Guyana has ensured that the annual budget allocations to the social sectors were more than doubled, from GY$25.1 billion in 2000 to GY$72.4 billion in 2013, and those directed to the health sector increased more than three-fold, from GY$4.86 billion in 2000 to GY$19.0 billion in 2013.
In 2011, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) published Guyana’s third MDG Progress Report in an effort to track and analyse progress toward the achievement of the MDGs. This was led by former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh.
According to Dr. Singh, the findings of the report reflected the Government’s steadfast commitment to reducing poverty and improve the quality of life of the people of Guyana. Furthermore, the report identified key priorities for national attention.
In particular, Dr. Singh said that consistent progress was demonstrated in those targets related to nutrition, education, gender equality, child health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, environmental sustainability and water and sanitation.
Of the goals where targets were identified as potentially to be met by 2015, the improvement of maternal health was selected as a priority for increased and expanded focus. In recognising that the responsibility for the health of mothers is a national one, the previous Government displayed a commitment to ensuring that resources were are leveraged and allocated to address these issues.
Guyana’s MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) was developed by the then Government in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the view to accelerating progress toward achieving maternal health-related targets.
This was placed in the context of the National Health Strategy – Health Vision 2020 – which sets out the priorities for Guyana’s health sector over the period 2013-2020. The Action Plan that resulted from the application of the MAF to the Guyanese context will lead all interventions and discussions on the topic of maternal health and will serve to harmonise multi-sectoral response in this field, including that of development partners, creating the environment to more effectively leverage resources for achieving the initial outcomes.
From November 2012 to November 2013, a wide range of stakeholders – from public and private health sector officials to end-users and civil society representatives – were involved in the identification and prioritisation of ongoing interventions and challenges and the selection of acceleration solutions.
The former Finance Minister had noted that the achievement of the MDGs is fundamentally hinged on the commitment made under MDG 8 which essentially speaks to the need to develop a global partnership for development.
He had stated that the international community failed to make adequate provisions to accomplish this. In addition, Dr. Singh had said that only a handful of economically advanced countries have delivered on the four-decade-old resolution to channel 0.7 percent of gross domestic product to official development assistance to developing countries.
It was noted that Guyana’s MAF Action Plan presents a concrete opportunity for development partners to demonstrate a meaningful commitment to supporting countries to achieve the MDGs in a sustainable manner.
To be continued …