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The Millennium Development Goals In The Arab Region 2007: A Youth Lens

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This booklet is the result of a collaborative effort between several United Nations agencies in the Arab region and the League of Arab States that has been coordinated by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).This booklet provides a brief overview of current trends and progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Arab countries at the regional and subregional levels. This booklet highlights critical development issues faced by male and female youth in the Arab region along with overall progress in meeting the eight goals.

GOAL 1: ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY AND HUNGER

GOAL 2: ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION

GOAL 3: PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN

GOAL 4: REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY

GOAL 5: IMPROVE MATERNAL HEALTH

GOAL 6: COMBAT HIV/AIDS, MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES

GOAL 7: ENSURING ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

GOAL 8: DEVELOP A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT

SUBREGIONAL GROUPINGS

Mashreq: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syrian Arab Republic.

Maghreb: Algeria, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Tunisia.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates.

Arab Least Developed Countries (LDCs): Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen.

GOAL 1: ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY AND HUNGER

„« Target1: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day.

There was a slight decrease in the proportion of the population living below the national poverty lines in the Arab region as a whole between the periods (1990-1995) and (2000-2004). The proportion fell from 19.6% in the first period to 18.2% in the second period. At the subregional level, in the Mashreq, the proportion decreased from 21.2% in the first period to 16.5% in the second period. In the Maghreb, the proportion decreased from 9.7% to 6.8%. In the Arab LDCs the proportion rose from 37.1 in the first period to 46.8% in the second period.

„« Target2: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

The regionÐŽ¦s malnutrition rate decreased sluggishly, the proportion of underweight children under five years of age (U5) remained relatively high in 2000 at 12.7% with no noticeable improvement from its 1990 level of 13.2% this is due to the slow pace of progress in the economic and social determinants of the indicator. In the Mashreq and the Maghreb, the proportion of underweight children declined from 10.8% to 9.1% and from 8.4% to 7.5% between 1990 and 2000, respectively. The Arab LDCs continued to suffer from the highest malnutrition rate in the region, at 27.4% in 2000, down from 37.6% in 1995.

Individuals living on less than the minimum level of dietary energy consumption accounted for 8.8% of the Arab population in 1991 and 8.6% in 2002. In the Maghreb and Mashreq, the proportion of people living below the food deprivation line remained low in 1991 and 2002. The Arab LDCs also did not make any noticeable progress in this area. The number of food-deprived persons amounted to 26.5% of the population in 1991 and 26.3% in 2002. Only the GCC countries showed good progress on this front. The proportion of the food deprived in the GCC countries dropped from 5.5% in 1991 to 3.4% in 1996, but remained unchanged since then.

GOAL 2: ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION

„« Target 3: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

The net enrolment rate in primary education in the Arab region increased by 10 percentage points since 1990/1991; it reached 80.5% in the school year 2004/2005. The Arab region needs to accelerate the rate of progress substantially in order to ensure universal primary enrolment by 2015. The net enrolment rate in primary education and the rate of progress achieved since 1990 vary significantly across the subregions.

Completion rates reflect the extent to which the educational system is capable of retaining children in school. In the Arab region, completion rates in primary education were 70.5% in 1990/1991, it reached 74.5% in 2000/2001 and it increased to 81.4% in 2004/2005. Arab LDCs had a very low average completion rate of 48.3% in 2005. The Maghreb countries have registered the highest rate of progress.

In line with enrolment and completion rates, youth literacy in the Arab region has improved notably since 1990 when only two thirds of the population aged 15 to 24 were able to read and write, in 2006 the youth literacy rate in the region increased to 83.4%. The average youth literacy rate in the GCC countries rose to 95.9% - the highest rate in the Arab region. The lowest literacy level was in the Arab LDCs.

GOAL 3: PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN

„« Target4: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and to all levels of education no later than 2015.

Gender Parity in Education

Though gender parity at the primary and secondary level has not been achieved for the region as a whole, most subregions are on track towards reaching the target by 2015. Between 1990/1991 and 2004/2005, Ratio of girls to boys at the primary level rose from 0.79 to 0.90, at the secondary level it rose from 0.77 to 0.91 and at the tertiary level it rose from 0.71 to 1.00 .

Increased access for girls to education at all levels has been accompanied by a marked reduction in the literacy gender gap across the region. The Mashreq countries succeeded in increasing the proportion of literate young women by 30 percentage points to 83%.On the other hand, female youth literacy rates are still low in a number of Arab countries, particularly in Mauritania and Morocco.

Gender Parity in Employment

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