How many countries are on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015? How many countries are off target, and how far are they from the goals? And what factors are essential for improving the odds that off-target countries can reach the goals? This year's Global Monitoring Report: Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs, examines these questions. It takes a closer look at the diversity of country progress, presents the challenges that remain, and assesses the role of growth, policy reforms, trade, and donor policies in meeting the MDGs.
Two-thirds of developing countries are on target or close to being on target for all the MDGs. Among developing countries that are falling short, half are close to getting on track. For those countries that are on track, or close to it, solid economic growth and good policies and institutions have been the key factors in their success. With improved policies and faster growth, many countries that are close to becoming on track could still achieve the targets in 2015 or soon after.
Yet challenges abound. Even the middle-income countries on track to achieve the MDGs are home to indigenous and socially excluded groups that are still very poor and often well behind in reaching the goals. Moreover, progress could stall without stronger global growth, expanded access to export markets for developing countries, and adequate assistance from donors.
This year's report also presents findings and lessons from impact evaluations in health and education to better understand results on the ground. Such evaluations often show that the quantity of services devoted to health and education has increased-but not the quality. This may be one reason that progress toward those MDGs measured by outcomes (as in health) is slower than it is for those MDGs measured by access (as in education). Enhancing the efficiency, incentives, and accountability in service delivery is essential to improving outcomes.
Global Monitoring Report 2011 is prepared jointly by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It reviews progress toward the MDGs and sets out priorities for policy responses, both for developing countries and for the international community.