National reports

Benin – Challenges in Health, Education and Energy The national “spotlight report” produced by Social Watch-Bénin in March 2020, before the arrival to the country of Covid-19, highlights some progress towards the SDGs and several challenges in the key areas of health, education and energy. Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, budget allocations to health have been reduced, from 7.9% in 2015 to 5% in 2019. As a result infant and maternal mortality, as well as the impact of malaria, TB and HIV-AIDS and health coverage for the vulnerable remain major challenges, while access to family planning is still weak, with an average of 5.7 children for women between 15 and 49 years.
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.
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