Millennium Development Goals in Cambodia
The road to development is unpaved and very expensive. A developing country in the 21st century faces stark challenges as it grows. Neoliberal policy dominates the global economy, making capital a necessity for development. Capital may come easy to some states, especially those that are rich with natural resources, but many developing states continue to struggle from past events likes wars, natural disaster, or dictatorial rule. History has left much of the developing world bombed, hungry, and in debt. The people of these countries, often malnourished and exploited, reflect the status of the state. Uneven development does not put just those in the given country at a disadvantage, it also cripples global efforts. Capital-based systems require an ever growing consumer market in order to succeed. In order to increase capital, sales must be increased, requiring more funding for production and a larger base of consumers. Development breeds consumers, allowing capital systems to succeed. Still, development makes more than just consumers; it creates ideas, opportunities, leadership, and equality. Established in the year 2000 following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) address eight of humanity’s current great developmental challenges. These challenges were debated and articulated by UN members for nearly two years before the eight MDGs we know today were defined and agreed upon. Upon adoption, all 193 UN member states agreed to work toward reaching these goals by a 2015 end date (Peeters, 2010).
Now thirteen years in, and just two years away from the 2015 deadline, the real effects left from the MDGs are beginning to be seen. Progress has been uneven and scattered, but undeniable improvements have been reported worldwide. In Ethiopia, primary enrollment increased from 22% to 72% in 16 years, while the proportion of those living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 61% to 29% in 18 years (ODI, 2010). In other countries, categories have had less positive results, especially in Africa’s sub-Saharan region. Nonetheless, many other countries have reaped benefits from the MDGs, showing reductions in poverty and mortality, and increasing numbers of educated populations and equal treatment. Cambodia is Southeast Asia’s greatest challenge to reaching the targets of the MDGs. War and genocide left the state in ruins just before the turn of the century. A vicious dictator named Pol Pot claimed millions of Cambodian lives and nearly destroyed the entire country. In last two decades, and with the help of the MDGs, Cambodia has redeveloped significantly. Research Objective
Since their creation, the MDGs and the effectiveness of their implementation have been widely disputed. While supporters point to statistical improvements in several areas the goals cover, detractors question the effectiveness of aid given to developing states. Critics often point out that more than half of the aid received by developing states is used in debt relief to other states, making no developmental changes. Cambodia’s uniquely horrific history sets the country apart from its neighbors. While Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries in the region have reached “western” levels of development, Cambodia remains far behind. Since the inception of the MDGs in Cambodia, significant change has been reported in the country. This paper will outline the targets of the MDGs and evaluate Cambodia’s performance in the given areas. The effectiveness of policy implemented as a result of the MDGs will be examined, as well as the challenges that Cambodia faces. Literature Review
The MDGs are a result-oriented project that, if successful, would provide positive quantitative results in several fields. Evaluation of each individual goal is provided through the use of individual targets and sub-targets set for each goal. The...
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