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Report on Progress towards MDGs in Africa Highlights Social Protection Policies

6 October 2011: The annual joint report titled "Assessing Progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals" has been released. This year's report highlights the need for targeted social protection policies that increase the strength and resilience of Africa's poor. The report emphasizes that such policies are not "handouts" but measures to address immediate needs of the vulnerable, and can positively contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Launched on 6 October 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, the report is published by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the African Union (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA, or UNECA).

It contains a number of case studies outlining successful social policies, and notes that these policies can reduce unemployment, increase food security and nutrition, and improve access and attendance to schooling. It finds that progress is being made in the region, but not fast enough, and highlights five areas where progress and policies can have significant impacts, namely: agriculture and food security; health; education; infrastructure and trade facilitation; and national statistical systems.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, at the launch of the report, noted that the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) will assist in identifying synergies and linkages between issues such as energy, food and water security and economic growth. She stressed that the UNCSD also will provide an opportunity to rethink the approach for addressing these issues, in order to achieve progress in development and poverty reduction. [Publication: Assessing Progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals: MDG Report 2011] [Statement of UN Deputy Secretary-General] [UNDP Press Release] [AfDB Press Release]