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Kuwait on path to fulfill all MDGs by '15 deadline, will help others do so - nat'l report  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) - 02/07/2014
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(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Kuwait on Tuesday said it has made "significant progress" towards achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), reaching nearly 100 percent on some development targets and indicators, and reiterated its commitment, not only to achieve the remaining ones before the set deadline of 2015, but also to help other countries do so too

The Goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environment sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development - all by 2015

In a letter annexed to the first national draft report to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) released on Tuesday on the progress made since the Goals were approved by the Heads of State and Governments in September 2000, Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi said "Kuwait is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals for its citizens

"It is equally committed to effectively assisting the development efforts of other countries by providing Official Development Assistance (ODA), which amounted to 1.32 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) for 2011-12, thereby exceeding the threshold of 0.7 percent established in the development goal on partnership for development." He noted that Kuwait's development path is a "unique one; as such, not all Millennium Development Goal indicators and projected rates of change necessarily apply to it. The analysis presented in this report reflects as best as possible the progress made towards the attainment of those goals and their respective indicators in view of the Kuwaiti experience." On the first Goal regarding eradicating poverty and hunger, Al-Otaibi said "no cases of extreme poverty and hunger have been recorded in Kuwait." He said that in 2011, only 0.33 percent of the population earned less than USD 1.25 a day, noting that at USD 27 (7.7 Kuwaiti dinars) a day, daily household consumption exceeded the rate established by the World Bank, which ranges from USD 1.25 to USD two Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) per day

He further said that from 2005 to 2012, the Kuwaiti average per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was three times the global average, and four times the average for Arab countries for the same period

He noted that since 2001, the proportion of the population below the minimum level of dietary energy consumption has been steadily declining and, by 2012, no person was below that level, adding that the proportion of underweight children has not exceeded 1.7 percent since 2009

On the second Goal regarding achieving universal primary education, Al-Otaibi said Kuwait has made "outstanding progress," recalling that in 2012, some 97 percent of Kuwaiti children of both sexes were enrolled in primary school

He said that in that same year, 98.3 percent of children completed the primary level of education, and since 1999, Kuwait has closed the gender gap in education. Primary, secondary and post-secondary school enrolment rates for girls have exceeded those of boys, he stated, adding that in 2012, some 97.2 percent of girls were enrolled in primary school, compared to 96.7 percent of boys

"Kuwait's successes have extended to non-formal education," he said, recalling that in 2012, the ratio of literate women to men who were 15 to 24 years old and enrolled in pre-primary, secondary and tertiary education was 99.9 percent

As to the third Goal on closing the global gender gap, the Kuwaiti Ambassador said "considerable improvement was made in the indicator on the educational achievement of Kuwaiti women," adding that Kuwait rose to 57th out of 136 countries in 2013 after ranking 60th of 135 countries in 2012, and in 2013, some 46.7 percent of Kuwaiti women were employed

As to the equal pay for equal work, he said Kuwait rose to 65th out of 136 countries in 2013 after being ranked 71st of 135 countries in 2012

He also recalled that in 2009, Kuwaiti women achieved an "unprecedented victory" when four became members of the legislature through the ballot box, noting that they now hold eight percent of the seats in the National Assembly

In 2005, Al-Otaibi further recalled, Kuwaiti women assumed ministerial positions for the first time in history, "a qualitative leap in that regard," conceding, however, tht the extent to which women participate in the legislature and occupy senior management positions, whether in business, the diplomatic service or the judiciary, is "limited," representing a "significant obstacle" to achieving Goal Three

On reducing the under-five mortality rate - Goal Four -, Al-Otaibi said Kuwait made "notable progress," reducing it by 47.1 percent between 1990 and 2012, explaining that the child mortality rate dropped from 17 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to nine deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012

Kuwait, he added, also made "great strides" towards reducing the infant mortality rate, with the number of deaths per 1,000 live births dropping from 14.8 in 1990 to 7.7 in 2012 - a 48 percent decline, noting at the same time that in 2012, some 97.4 percent of one-year-old children had been immunized against measles at least once

With regard to Goal Five, related to improving maternity health, he said Kuwait has "significantly reduced" the maternal mortality ratio from 11 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 1.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2012

He noted that the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel in Kuwait rose to 99.89 percent in 2012, and the proportion of married women of childbearing age using contraception grew from 39.2 percent in 1990 to 56.7 percent in 2012, an average annual increase of 2.1 percent and an overall 44.6 percent increase, and the antenatal care coverage indicator reached 100 percent in 2007

As to Goal Six on HIV/AIDS, he said screenings are compulsory for persons wishing to marry, pursuant to Act No. 31 of 2008, insisting that this requirement has been "strictly enforced" since 2009

He said that from 2009 to 2013, some 18 cases of HIV/AIDS were detected through pre-marital medical screenings, accounting for 0.016 percent of those screenings

"Effectively, the transmission rate of HIV/AIDS is zero," he stated

He said Kuwait has also made tangible progress in combating tuberculosis; cases per 100,000 persons dropped by 28.1 percent between 2010 and 2012, and deaths per 100,000 persons dropped by 14.5 percent in the same period. In 2011, the proportion of cases of tuberculosis detected and treated fell by 93 percent, he said

On ensuring environmental sustainability - Goal Seven -, he said Kuwait reduced consumption of ozone-depleting substances by 27.1 percent between 1993 and 2012, adding that in 2011-12 Kuwait continued not to consume chlorofluorocarbons. However, he added, carbon dioxide levels remain a major challenge for Kuwait, and such emissions, in tons per capita, rose by 48 percent between 1990 and 2010

He indicated that Kuwait lending to other countries rose from USD 14.2 billion in 2009 to USD 16.8 billion in 2013, adding that between 2009 and 2013, the Kuwait Fund awarded USD 28.9 billion in loans to the transport and communications sectors, USD 20.2 billion to the energy sector, USD 9.3 billion to the agriculture and irrigation sectors, USD 7.5 billion to the water and sanitation sector, and USD 5.8 billion to the manufacturing sector; with loans to social services and development banks accounting for USD 2.8 and USD 2.3 billion, respectively

In addition to loans, he stated, Kuwait, acting also through the Kuwait Fund, provided 163 grants and technical assistance valued at USD 306.5 million in 2008-09, and increased that number to 194 grants valued at USD 331.2 million in 2012-13

He also indicated that Kuwait made "great progress" in the use of modern communications technology as landline subscriptions dropped from 24.1 per 100 inhabitants in 2000 to 13.2 in 2013, while the rate for cellular telephone services in 2013 was approximately 161.7 per 100 inhabitants, as opposed to 24.5 per 100 inhabitants in 2000, and the number of Internet users increased from 6.7 per 100 inhabitants in 2000 to 82 in 2013

The report was prepared for the Annual Ministerial Review, scheduled to be held here July 8-9, while the high-level segment of 2014 ECOSOC Session is underway

Kuwait, along with nine other countries, including Qatar, Britain and Mexico, will make national voluntary presentations and share their experiences on progress made and remaining obstacles in the final year to achieving the MDGs

A Kuwaiti delegation will travel from Kuwait to addend the Ministerial meeting. It will be headed by Ambassador Al-Otaibi


Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)

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