Basic Capabilities Index (BCI) 2007 - FAR FROM WHERE WE SHOULD BE

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July 7 (07/07/07) marks the middle date between the year 2000, when the leaders of the world committed themselves to achieve specific targets in the fight against poverty and the year 2015, which is when those Millennium Development Goals should be achieved. Yet, at the current slow rate of progress, in most countries the commitments will not be achieved.

The Basic Capabilities Index (BCI), produced annually by Social Watch, compares and classifies countries according to their progress in social development. The BCI gets closer to 100% when countries ensure universal access to a minimum (or “basic”) set of social services (health, education, etc.). Achieving that level does not mean meeting all desirable social welfare objectives of any given society. It only signals a starting point towards them.

The BCI numbers for 2007 reveal that half of the countries have a BCI reading of low or below and 24 countries are in a critical situation. If there is no substantial acceleration in the rate of progress by 2015 the average BCI value for countries in South Asia will not surpass critical, while Sub-Saharan Africa will have progressed only up to the very low level and all other regions except Europe and North America will still be far from “acceptable”.

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