Peru Ahead on U.N. Millenium Development Goal Targets for 2015


Peru has reached the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals of  reducing the infant mortality rate and also the extreme poverty and poverty rates, in advance of the 2015 target. The announcement was made by United Nations representative Rebeca Arias in Lima this week.

Arias said the poverty reduction has been due to Peru's economic expansion, which has been moving at a brisk 6 percent clip over the past decade.

Arias noted that since 2000, Peru has reduced its overall poverty rate, not just extreme poverty, in half. Infant mortality has also halved in Peru in that time, making it one of the top countries in the world in that area.

Peru has also made progress in the area of universal education, as about 96 percent of the population now has access to basic schooling.

"Peru has made important progress in national averages," Arias said according to Andina."…these goals will be completed before 2014, which is very good news for Peru."

However, there is still a great deal to be done, Arias noted. She mentioned the wide gap between rich and poor, and the extent to which poverty remains widespread in rural areas, as issues that require future improvement in the Andean country.  Although the poverty rate is now 25.8% —compared to some 51% in 2000— rural poverty is still more than 50%, and the gap between urban and rural living standards is still wide.

"Although a high percentage of the population has come out of poverty and can consider itself middle class, these segments live in a very vulnerable situation, because if there is any change, a disaster or sickness, they can fall back into poverty," Arias said.

In 2000, the 189 members of the U.N. agreed on eight world-improvement goals to be met by 2015. Besides eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, other goals include universal primary education, gender equality and empowering women, reduction of child mortality, improving maternal health, environmental sustainability, fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria, and global partnerships for development.

The U.N. also met in 2010 to renew its commitment to the goals, focusing especially on women and children's health.

The reports on the Millenium Goals are being seen this week in New York, at the 68th session of the U.N. General Assembly. The president of the 68th Assembly, John Ashe, of Antigua and Barbuda, emphasized in his opening speech the need to set the stage for the next steps for sustainable development to ensure the long-term eradication of poverty.  The Post-2015 Development Agenda is expected to focus on the challenges faced by women and youth, and on the roles of water, sanitation and sustainable energy. A special high-level series of meetings on climate change are also being scheduled.