National reports

One cannot discuss policy priorities and challenges in Lebanon without first addressing the dangerous developments the region is currently experiencing. Oppression, backwardness and the shortcomings of democracy in the region as a whole are serious hindrances that could turn the tide and reverse the more positive trends. Despite the challenges they raise, the current developments clearly demonstrate the potential for change in the region: people are no longer willing to stand idle in the face of tyranny, poverty, unemployment and marginalization. Lebanon is still facing the systemic challenges of the political confessional system. The state must be an institutional and constitutional expression of democracy and people’s rights. Genuine citizenship cannot be achieved without the rule of law, without a system that gives citizens their rights and duties towards both society and the state, which are also preconditions for an effective civil society. Thus the main obstacle to true citizenship in the country is still the partition of state offices and institutions among the different religious confessions.
Los logros en la lucha contra la pobreza que las estadísticas por ingreso atribuyen al gobierno de Venezuela desde 1999 se ven opacados por la violencia y la inseguridad, que impiden el ejercicio pleno de los derechos a la educación, a la salud, al esparcimiento y al goce de los espacios públicos. Las reformas constitucionales y legales que se han sucedido desde 2008 suponen otro retroceso tras los avances de los derechos básicos en el primer periodo de Hugo Chávez en la presidencia, al centralizar el poder político, restringir la participación y las libertades democráticas y el pluralismo, y aumentar la militarización de la sociedad. Al mismo tiempo, las autoridades insisten con la criminalización de la protesta social.
In Hungary a system has developed that is disrespectful to both the rule of law and constitutionalism. Hungary has turned against the democratic ideals of the world, civil liberties are restricted and today it is on a declining economic path. Political life is characterized by a murderous policy divergence, confrontation and a dangerous ideology-based polarization. The majority of the society is struggling with unjust and unequal relationships without even the hope offered by mutual solidarity. Hungary's international prestige, integrity and credibility are now at its lowest point.
Serbia’s lack of any long-term vision or commitment as well as any comprehensive development strategies, make it difficult to counter the negative impact of the global economic crisis and establish a solid basis for economic growth, including increased jobs and livelihoods. In this context, with weak democratic institutions and lacking the rule of law, that the MDGs are unlikely to be achieved by 2015. There is thus a strong need to change the current neoliberal economic development paradigm to one that will focus on achieving human development for all.
Despite the vision of the Somali Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), a pro-poor instrument and support from the international community, Somalia is unlikely to meet most, if not all, of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Almost 66% of the population is living in severe poverty. Moreover, with another food crisis looming on the horizon, Somalia will not be able to recover from the worst famine in 60 years, one that affected over one-third of its population in 2011. Armed conflict continues in many areas of the country and the international aid system is unable to meet basic needs: again 857,000 are now in need of emergency aid. Ambitious plans of governments are always thwarted by fierce armed insurgency, and the aid agencies strive to mitigate the impacts as the disasters come and go. Somalia is amongst the largest aid recipients in the world. But why progress is not made towards the MDGs? Why the country is unable to break the vicious cycle of crisis?
Slovenia has had the sharpest decline in GDP since 2008 of any euro-zone member apart from Greece, although it has so far avoided having to ask for external aid owing to having entered the crisis with a far lower sovereign debt burden. The new Government has indicated that it will continue to avoid a bailout by driving through changes including bank restructuring, privatizations, and pension and labour reforms. However, poverty has increased and many people are no longer able to meet basic needs; without state assistance, the poverty rate is estimated to rise to 24%. Those who can’t find work have dropped out of the labour force. As a result, Slovenia has joined countries where people have taken to the streets to call for a more just and balanced economy, more participatory democracy and the rule of law.
This report tracks the extent to which Zambia is making progress towards achieving the MDGs focuses on Goals 1 to 7 and assesses Zambia’s national development plans, the main tools for achieving economic and human development, particularly the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP). It also analyses problems in the way the MDGs are formulated, arguing that unless these are taken care of, the human development conditions of countries such as Zambia will remain poor for a long time. Finally, it makes proposals for post 2015 reform.
The main problem with the MDGs, globally, is that the overall approach towards development they represent is quite narrow, limiting countries’ incentives to institute structural changes that would foster development. This is particularly evident in the case of Goal 2: ‘Achieve Universal Primary Education,’ which excludes economically active people in developing countries who are in need of further education, re-skilling or vocational training. Using the case of Cyprus, we can examine how the Lifelong Learning strategy it adopted made the link between LLL and sustainable development, and ask whether the Cyprus model provides a potential model for developing countries in the post-MDG agenda.
Unlike many developing countries, India’s economy has been growing at a fast pace, enabling the government to mobilize the necessary resources internally for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Its dependence on international aid, especially for financial resources is minimal; in fact it has declined bilateral aid from many countries. Despite this, however, the country has failed to achieve most of the goals and targets. The main reasons for this are inadequate funding, inappropriate administration and ignorance of policy and governance issues. Ultimately however, the failure is due to the absence of inclusiveness in the development model. Instead of enabling people to acquire basic needs such as food, sanitation, water, health care, the government is promoting ‘non-inclusive growth’ and has sought to provide basic services through subsidies with the associated problems of inefficiency and corruption. The organized sector, which provides quality employment, employs only 12% to 13% of the workforce. The remaining 87% are relegated to agriculture and the informal sector with low and uncertain earnings. The crisis in agriculture, seen in the millions of farmers’ suicides, is now being exacerbated by climate change. Although the government has prepared an ambitious climate change action plan, the focus so far in implementing the plan is limited to investment and technology, ignoring critical issues such as equity, institutional capacity and good governance.
In 2012, the authorities in Bahrain showed little if any readiness to engage with the political opposition and civil society in order to find a fair and sustainable solution to socio-political and socio-economic challenges facing the nation. If anything, officials intensified their repression of the democratic wishes expressed by a sizable number of people in February 2011. Sadly, by shunning repeated calls for face to face roundtable negotiations, officials have only succeeded in harming the country's potential, reputation and ranking in international economic, political and social development indices. This report focuses on the costs to the country's performance on various indicators as well as to the likelihood of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
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