On 7 July, UNIC Moscow launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report in Moscow, to an appreciative audience of 30 government officials, academics, experts, journalists and students. Each guest received a copy of the Report and a competent presentation was made by Dr. Lilia Ovcharova, Professor of Higher School of Economics (HSE) and Director of the Institute for Social Development Studies, followed by a question-and-answer session.
Dr. Ovcharova made a comprehensive 30-minute overview, focusing on key achievements of the MDG campaign and the main problems faced in the course of 15 years of its implementation. She stressed that the key MDG achievement was the improvement of the lives of millions. The Goals, she said, served as a framework for local, national, regional and global monitoring of development progress resulting in remarkable gains; in many parts of the world, especially in the poorest countries. Finally, Dr. Ovcharova mentioned the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme, which will focus on where the international community has left off, and the new challenges at the forefront of the global agenda.
In her overview, she pointed out some critical factors that affected the MDG programme. First, the abundance of political and, especially, military conflicts in certain regions of the world aggravated the situations and in many cases prevented the implementation of the right policies. Thus, the number of refugees and internally displaced people is at its highest since the Second World War and it impedes the progress. Second, the inequality in access to basic services between countries and within them still exists and, in many places, is on the same level it was 15 years ago, despite all our efforts.
Then the floor was opened for questions and comments, which were quite substantive. Those related to the role of institutions in the MDGs implementation process; the methodological issue of mix-up between the terms “malnutrition” and “hunger” in the Goal 1 of the MDGs and the summing-up of its results; the comparison between institutions: which of them help underdeveloped countries battle inequality better; and, of course, the role of the Russian Federation in the pursuit of MDGs. The last question sparked a lively discussion between several participants.
Most participants praised the Report as highly informative and were pleased by a thorough and illustrative presentation. Judging by the active participation of the guests in the discussion, the issues presented by the MDG review resonated deeply with the attendees.