BANGLADESH’S PROGRESS ON THE MDG
Bangladesh has already met several targets of the MDGs like reducing poverty gap ratio, attaining gender parity at primary and secondary education, under-five mortality rate reduction, containing HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs, children under five sleeping under insecticide treated bed nets, detection and cure rate of tuberculosis under directly observed treatment short course and others. In addition, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in the areas of poverty reduction, reducing the prevalence of underweight children, increasing enrolment at primary schools, lowering the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio, improving immunization coverage and reducing the incidence of communicable diseases.
The Household Income and Expenditure Survey of 2010 data show that the incidence of poverty is declining at a rate of 2.47 percent per year since 1991-92 in Bangladesh. It can be said that the target of halving the population living below the poverty line is already achieved in 2012.On the other hand, areas in need of greater attention are hunger-poverty reduction and employment generation, increases in primary school completion and adult literacy rates, creation of decent wage employment for women, increase in the presence of skilled health professionals at delivery, increase in correct and comprehensive knowledge on HIV/AIDS, increase in forest coverage, and coverage of information and communication technology.
Where we are…
Bangladesh has made commendable progress in respect of eradication of poverty and hunger. It has sustained a GDP growth rate in excess of six percent in recent years that has played a positive role in eradicating poverty. The robust growth has been accompanied by corresponding improvements in several social indicators such as increased life expectancy and lower fertility rate despite having one of the world’s highest population densities.
The inclusive growth has resulted in impressive poverty reduction from 56.7 percent in 1991-92 to 31.5 percent in 2010; the rate of reduction being faster in the present decade than the earlier ones. The latest HIES 2010 data show that the incidence of poverty has declined at an annual rate of 2.47 percent in Bangladesh during 1992-2010 against the MDG target of 2.12 percent. Bangladesh has already met one of the indicators of target 1 by bringing down the poverty gap ratio to 6.5 against 2015 target of 8.0.
The estimated figures suggest that the MDG target of halving the population living below the poverty line (from 56.7 percent to 29.0 percent) has already been achieved in 2012. Unemployment as well as underemployment is especially dominant among the young people between 15 to 24 years of age. This age group comprises nearly nine percent of the country’s population and 23 percent of the labour force.
Moreover, while Bangladesh has demonstrated its capacity for achieving the goal of poverty reduction within the target timeframe, attaining food security and nutritional wellbeing still remains a challenge. The challenges with regard to reducing income inequality and the low economic participation of women also remain as major concerns.
Where we are…
Significant progress has been made in increasing equitable access in education (NER: 98.7 percent; girls: 99.4 percent, boys: 97.2 percent), reduction of dropouts, improvement in completion of the cycle, and implementation of a number of quality enhancement measures in primary education. Bangladesh has already achieved gender parity in primary and secondary enrolment. Initiatives have been taken to introduce pre-school education to prepare the children for formal schooling.
The government is in the process of implementing a comprehensive National Education Policy (2010) to achieve its objectives. The Constitution of Bangladesh has provision for free and compulsory primary education. The challenge under MDG 2 include attaining the targets of primary education completion rate and the adult literacy rate. A large part of physically and mentally challenged children remain excluded of the schooling system. The quality of education is also a challenge at the primary and higher levels.
Where we are…
Bangladesh has already achieved this goal i.e. gender parity in primary and secondary education at the national level. This positive development has occurred due to some specific public interventions focusing on girl students, such as stipends and exemption of tuition fees for girls in rural areas, and the stipend scheme for girls at the secondary level. Bangladesh has made significant progress in promoting the objectives of ensuring gender equality and empowerment of women.
There has been steady improvement in the social and political empowerment scenario of women in Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh is committed to attaing the objective of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),the Beijing Platform for Action and MDGs in conformity with the fundamental rights enshrined in the Bangladesh Constitution. It has adopted the National Policy for Women’s Advancement (2011) and a series of programs for ensuring sustainable development of women.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of women parliamentarians elected (20 percent of total seats) in the last national election. However, wage employment for women in Bangladesh is still low. Only one woman out of every five is engaged in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector.
Where we are…
Bangladesh has already met the target of reducing under-five mortality rate: against the target of achieving 48 per 1,000 live births in 2015, it has already achieved 44 per 1,000 live births in 2011. The target of reducing the infant mortality rate is also on track. The successful programs for immunization, control of diarrhoeal diseases and Vitamin A supplementation are considered to be the most significant contributors to the decline in child and infant deaths along with potential effect of overall economic and social development.
Despite these improvements, there are challenges ahead. While the mortality rates have improved, major inequalities among the population still need to be addressed. Childhood injuries, especially drowning, have emerged as a considerable public health problem responsible for a full quarter of the deaths among children from one to four years of age.
Where we are…
According to the country’s first MDG Progress Report, the maternal mortality ratio in 1990 was 574 per 100,000 live births in Bangladesh. However, according to Bangladesh Maternal Mortality Survey (BMMS), maternal mortality declined from 322 in 2001 to 194 in 2010, a 40 percent decline in nine years.
The average rate of decline from the base year has been about 3.3 percent per year, compared with the average annual rate of reduction of 3.0 percent required for achieving the MDG in 2015. The BMMS 2001 and 2010 show that overall mortality among women in the reproductive ages has consistently declined during these nine years.
Where we are…
Bangladesh has performed well in halting communicable diseases under this goal. Available data show that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh currently is less than 0.1 percent and thus is still below an epidemic level. There was a significant improvement in the reduction of malarial deaths in the country over the years.
Major interventions for malaria control undertaken include expanding quality diagnosis and effective treatment of 90 percent of malaria cases; promoting the use of long lasting impregnated nets and insecticide-treated nets in 100 percent households in the three hill districts; and intensive information, education and communication campaigns for increasing mass awareness of prevention and control of malaria. Bangladesh has already achieved the MDG targets of tuberculosis case detection and cure rates.
Where we are…
At present there is only 19.4 percent of land in Bangladesh having tree cover with density of 10 percent and above. Based on the spatial dimension, the area having tree cover is much closer to the target (20 percent) set by the government but the density is much less than the target (>70 percent). Since 1991, there has been a steady increase in CO2 emission in Bangladesh. In 2007, the emission was 0.3 tonne per capita. At present the proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected is 2.3 percent which is much less than the target of 5 percent.
Data shows that without considering the issue of arsenic contamination, 98.2 percent of the population of Bangladesh is using improved drinking water source; 63.6 percent of population is using improved sanitation in 2011. However, access to safe water for all is a challenge, as arsenic and salinity intrusion as a consequence of climate change fall out will exacerbate availability of safe water especially for the poor.
Where we are…
Between 1990-91 and 2010-11, the disbursed official development assistance (ODA) as a proportion of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) has declined from 5.6 percent to 1.6 percent. During this period, per capita ODA disbursement fell from US$ 15.75 to US$ 12.01. During the period of 1990-91 to 1996-97, the share of grants and loans in total ODA was about the same. After the period, the share of grants is consistently declining while that of loans is rising. However, in 2010-11, the share of grants has increased to 48 percent of total ODA after a long period.
Out of 34 member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), only nine countries provided US$ 363.99 million ODA to Bangladesh in 2010-11. The amount was only 20.5 percent of the total ODA received by Bangladesh in the year. It is observed that of the nine OECD countries, only three–Netherlands, Sweden and Norway– comply with their commitment to provide more than 0.7 percent of their GNI as ODA to the developing countries. If we consider Bangladesh’s ODA received from the OECD countries as percentage of their Gross National Income, South Korea is ranked first, followed by the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden. Moreover, if we consider ODA received by Bangladesh as percentage of total ODA from OECD countries, South Korea tops the countries followed by Japan, United Kingdom and Denmark.
It is observed that total ODA disbursement in MDG sectors like education, health, social welfare, labour, public administration and social infrastructure have been receiving higher attention. These MDG sectors together along with agriculture and rural development received about 51 percent of total ODA disbursement in 2011. All ODA received from bilateral OECD/DAC donors was fully untied in 2011 against 82 percent in 2005 and 94 percent in 2007.
The Government of Bangladesh has taken up plans to ensure universal access through harmonious development of telecommunication network and building a well-developed, strong and reliable telecommunication infrastructure for effective implementation of its ICT policy and ultimately for complementing the ‘Vision 2021’ of the government. Cellular subscribers per 100 population are 64.6 in 2012 which was zero in 1990. The internet users per 100 population is 20.5 in 2012, which was 0.15, 0.20 and 3.4 in 2005, 2006 and 2008 respectively.
MAY 06, 2015