Monday, August 14, 2006

[News Report] PNG failing on poverty targets

[sent around by a friend earlier today from SMH]

Mark Metherell
August 14, 2006

PAPUA New Guinea, Australia's most pressing foreign aid priority, is the least likely of any country in the Asia-Pacific region to meet international goals to reduce its endemic poverty, disease and illiteracy.
A report published today by World Vision says PNG is unlikely to achieve any of eight targets set to halve extreme poverty in developing nations by 2015.
On five of these goals - poverty reduction, primary education, reduced child mortality, reversing HIV/AIDS and other diseases and access to clean water and sanitation - PNG is "significantly off track", the analysis shows.
In addition ABC's Four Corners will screen a program tonight that details how Papua New Guinea has one of the fastest-growing infection rates of AIDS/HIV but shows that vital drugs, bought by the World Health Organisation's Global Fund, are soon to expire and are sitting in a warehouse run by the Papua New Guinea Department of Health.
World Vision, Australia's biggest non-government aid organisation, has assessed the performance of 22 regional countries against the Millennium Development Goals established six years ago.
PNG has the highest percentage of 15 to 49-year-olds with HIV/AIDS and the lowest proportion of the population with access to clean water, 39 per cent.
Unlike virtually every other country in the region, the rate of primary school completion has declined, and at under 60 per cent is the lowest.
PNG, administered by Australia until 31 years ago, depends heavily for foreign aid on Australia, which gives about $350 million a year.
That figure has remained largely unchanged in nominal terms since the late 1980s, meaning its real value has been heavily eroded by inflation.
The World Vision report, How Are Our Neighbours?, found that all 22 countries were failing to meet some goals, and eight countries, including PNG, Laos, Cambodia and East Timor, needed priority assistance.


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