Reproductive Health & Millennium Development Goals

Reproductive Health

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994 in Cairo and attended by representatives from 165 nations came up with the following definition of reproductive health (RH):

"Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes. Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this last condition is the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health-care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant".

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Millennium Development Goals

The largest gathering of world leaders from 189 countries in September 2000 at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly as they ushered in the new millenium paved the way for the adoption of the Millennium Declaration. The Declaration outlines a vision and sets a roadmap for goals to be reached by 2015. These goals, which are based on the fundamental values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, health, respect for nature and shared responsibility inspired the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs or MDG).

The eight MDGs were based on agreements made at United Nations conferences in the 1990s where member-countries committed to reduce poverty and hunger, make available health and education services, ease gender inequality, and alleviate environmental degradation, among others.

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MDG Performance

A report by the ADB, The Millennium Development Goals: Progress in Asia and the Pacific 2007, said that no developing country in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines, will be able to meet all millennium development goals by 2015. It also said that of the 21 criteria under seven MDGs, the Philippines is either slow or showing no progress in nine categories.

In summary, it was noted that the Philippines lags in reducing the number of its population living in $1 a day, reducing the number of underweight children, providing sufficient water, and improved sanitation in rural areas. The country is either showing no progress or even regressing in the MDG criteria on the number of primary education enrollees, number of those able to reach 5th grade, forest cover, carbon dioxide emission and water accessibility in urban areas.

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Development Agencies

The MDGs focus on the development challenges that confront countries of the world. When the 189 representatives at the UN General Assembly came up with the Millennium Declaration, they gave their commitment to meet the MDG targets and meeting these targets would require the participation of all members of the society. The MDGs place the responsibility both on the developed and developing nations, on the private as well as the public sectors, giving them a specific timeframe in which to meet these targets.

Thus, aside from the UN and its various agencies, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other international financial institutions, governments of various countries, NGOs, private sector and civil society pledged and are bound to work together to meet the MDGs by 2015.

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