Encouraging statistics have revealed Dominica’s achievement thus far in pursuing a 100% target in the eight Millennium Development Goals.
Millennium Development Goals or MDG’s are specific areas in which people’s lives should be improved. Those goals seek to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations.
Dominica’s Chief Statistician and Head of the Millennium Development Goals Monitoring Committee, Prayma Carrette delivered a presentation on the island’s progress in achieving those goals.
Beginning with goal one which is to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, Carrette reported a decrease in Dominica’s poverty level from 39% of the population in 2002 to 28.8% in 2009.
She concluded therefore that if sustained, Dominica has met the millennium development goal number one.
Goal two is to achieve universal primary education.
“Dominica has already attained Universal Primary Education and achieved Universal Secondary Education in 2005 and is continuing to implement programmes towards Universal Tertiary Education. However, attention should be given to reason for student dropouts, particularly at the secondary level. A tracer programme should be put in place to ensure that no youth is left behind within the education system, by this meaning either within the academic or vocational education system. Thus close collaboration should be established between education planners and youth workers for tracing with respect to dropouts. Current reviews have also suggested and recommended mathematic syllabus for secondary schools and also an English syllabus. This is expected by the 2013-2014 academic year. This is before the 2015 MDG global reporting.”
Carrette noted the need to train more secondary school teachers especially in the area of child psychology.
Goal three aims to promote gender equality and empower women.
The indicators are based on the share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector, and the proportion of seats held by women in National Parliament.
“Dominica has progressed in increasing the number of women employed in the non-agricultural sector, moving from 46.7% in 2005 to an estimated 49.1% in 2011 that is of total women employed. However, the proportion of seats held by women in Parliament is significantly low recording only 14.8%. National programmes should promote and encourage gender equality and empowerment of women in various sectors. The gender disparity at the Parliamentary level needs to be addressed. Further steps need to be taken to encourage women’s participation in the decision making process, one of which is creating a conducive environment for participating in the political process. Women should be motivated to participate in the political process and that opportunities should be given for representation. It is recommended that women occupy at least 40% of seats in Parliament by 2015.”
Dominica’s effort to achieve the fourth goal of reducing child mortality is sufficient to see a steady decline in the child mortality rate. Carrette says intervention programmes are being implemented to significantly reduce infant mortality.
Millennium development goal number five is to improve maternal health and Chief Statistician, Prayma Carrette says that has generally been achieved.
Carrette reported on Dominica’s progress on goal number six to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
“Dominica has virtually eradicated the incidence of malaria. Deaths associated with malaria are 0.0. According to local health officials, no transmission of malaria has occurred since the 1960’s. Deaths from tuberculosis have no occurred since 2007. Deaths associated with HIV/AIDS have remain relatively stable over recent periods accounting for 0.25 – 0.8% of deaths over the last four years.”
She also stated that the island can expect to see a continued decline in the number of HIV/AIDS related deaths.
Goal seven is to ensure environment sustainability and according to Carrette, there has been a decrease in imports of ozone depleting substances and an increase in land area covered by forest.
“Dominica continues to work toward the process of integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources. Dominica is committed to preserving its natural endowment of flora and fauna in the establishment of protected areas, enforcement of environment protected laws and continued advocacy in environment education.”
Indicators also show that 95.5 per cent of Dominica’s population have access to an improved drinking water source; 84 per cent are using improved sanitation facilities and 71.7 percent enjoy secure home tenure.
This means they have a right to continue to occupy property and enjoy secure state protection against unlawful evictions.
Dominica is playing is part in partnering with other countries for development which is Millennium development goal number eight.
“Dominica pursues and maintains a free market and liberal economy. No restrictions exist on any country. The main trading partners in exports are the Caribbean region registering 70 to 80% followed by the United Kingdom with 11 to 13%. The main trade suppliers are the United States of America accounting for 36 to 40% of imports and the Caribbean region 29.8%. Dominica’s trade expansion with other countries is evident over the last four years. Import trade with Venezuela moved from 1.7%, in 2007 to 7% in 2010. The country is in a position to achieve the targets, given the participation in global economic development, relations with other countries, collaboration with regional and international partners and investment in communication and technology, the country is well poised to achieve these targets.”
The promise to achieve those eight goals by 2015 was made in 2000. All 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve these goals by the year 2015.