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Sep 28, 2005

Belize reports on progress toward Millennium Goals

Story PictureThis afternoon, the first national report on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals was presented in Belize City. In the year 2000, one hundred and ninety-one members of the U.N. signed a pact to achieve eight goals and eighteen targets by the year 2015. Here in Belize, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Development Hugh O’Brien, explains that Belize’s progress has been mixed.

Hugh O’Brien, C.E.O., Min. of National Development
“These targets range from the first goal being to reduce poverty and extreme hunger and the last target, more focussed on developing a global partnership for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”

Janelle Chanona
“In hindsight five years since the goals were established, where is Belize as a country in fulfilling those goals?”

Hugh O’Brien
“Belize is doing fairly well especially on the MDGs that focus on education, health, but we do have some challenges with respect to the one that talks about how we could begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. We do have some challenges with respect to empowering women for example, and one of the critical hard work of the MDG is reducing poverty, and that naturally is a great challenge for most countries of the world.”

“Belize has made progress. Last year, the 2003 assessment for Belize, we were actually at ninety-nine in our human development index and this year we are down to ninety-one. So we have made progress. But I must admit too that there are challenges for the country. There is the present debt situation and that naturally will create shrinkage in investment and those things can have new challenges. If we are not careful, some of the progress we have made, there can easily be slippage.”

As part of today’s ceremony, Belize’s first honorary Millennium Development Commissioner was officially appointed. According to O’Brien, Nurse Dorothy Bradley embodies the spirit of the development goals.

Hugh O’Brien
“There are people who live these MDGs, they practice it in their day-to-day life, they help other people, they deliver babies, they work in educating not only themselves and their kids, but the larger population. And so there are people who live every single day, a life that achieves human development. And to a large extent, the reason why we have not had the kind of human development worldwide that creates more equality and so on is because there is a greater sense of selfishness, there is a greater sense of myself over everybody else that has sort of procreated the world. And if we truly want to achieve these MDGs, we can create policies, we can write papers, we can do research, have presentations. But deep down it has to do with a heart and soul mentality that somehow has to be cultured and that is more easily said than done.”

The first Millennium Development Report was published by the Ministry of National Development and U.N.D.P.

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