This report is being released at the midway point of two efforts to realise real change for the world’s poor: in the longer-term effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) between 2000 and 2015, as agreed in the Millennium Declaration of 2000, and the short-term effort to get Africa on track to achieve these goals between 2005 and 2010, as agreed and pledged by the G8 and EU in 2005. It is an important time to take stock of progress to date and to correct the course of action.
The third annual DATA Report is intended to help policy-makers do just that – take stock and correct the course of action. It is an annual snapshot of progress and a record of the extent to which the 2005 commitments have thus far been delivered.
Assistance has increased slightly, and Africans have in fact made tremendous progress using the resources that have reached them. However, even as stories of success should be reassuring the global community that its commitments were worthwhile and that its role in partnership with Africa can truly save lives and offer hope for the future of millions, donors are stalling the full delivery of that which they committed. This should be a year in which the mechanisms for increasing assistance should be fully functional and scaling up rapidly towards the 2010 target. Instead, change remains incremental and tremendous success stories on the ground are not being taken to scale in the manner necessary to realise the shared goals of the international community.
Unfortunately, as in the past two years, donors are yet again 'off track' in delivering upon their commitments and, with every 'off track' year that passes, fully delivering the commitments by 2010 becomes more difficult. Landmark commitments to increase assistance, to maximise its efficiency, to make trade finally work for Africa and to offer universal access to life-saving antiretroviral drugs or even to primary education are still taken seriously by the citizens in whose name they were made and by those in Africa striving to fight poverty. (Although this year’s DATA Report does not include a dedicated chapter to commitments made on food and sustainable agriculture, we are committed to including one in next year’s report.) Achieving them is still possible but it will require redoubled efforts, especially given the slow start. The DATA Report attempts to more clearly track progress and to outline the steps needed to reach the 2010 targets and help Africans get on the right track for 2015.