By FikreJesus Amahazion,
A UN delegation headed by Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director of UNDP/RBA, and Chairman of UNDG-ESA Mission, recently visited Eritrea to monitor development work and engage in dialogue with development partners. One of his findings was that Eritrea is “making huge progress on [the UN] MDGs.”
As a brief reminder, there exist eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include halving extreme poverty rates, stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS, and ensuring the provision of universal primary education, amongst others. As goals, the MDGs set specific standards for individual countries to achieve – all by 2015. Importantly, the MDGs also provide a blueprint established by the international community and various global development entities, effectively seeking to improve the lives of the world’s poor.
Mar Dieye’s statement noting Eritrea’s MDG progress mirrors that made earlier this year by John Ging, OCHA Operations Director. At the conclusion of a two-day visit to Eritrea in July of 2013, Ging stated that “Eritrea continues to make impressive progress towards achieving several Millennium Development Goals.”
As a poor, developing country, Eritrea’s unique, multi-faceted approach to development may provide useful lessons to other countries throughout the developing world. Acknowledging the admirable progress of Eritrea in terms of the UN MDGs, Christine Umotoni, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Eritrea, even went so far as to state that “Eritrea needs to give Africa and the rest of the world lessons on how these successes were achieved.”
While Eritrea has certainly made tremendous strides in an array of socio-economic and development sectors, it is acknowledged that numerous challenges still exist. Moving forward, the development community, international partners, as well as various state and local actors should remain committed to building upon Eritrea’s past success. Efforts can include promoting regional peace and stability, supporting new development programs, augmenting existing projects, and working with the Eritrean government (and local or international Eritrean organizations) to improve the lives of citizens.
The UN and Eritrea have signed a Strategic Partnership Cooperation Framework (SPCF) on January 28, 2013 and approved its needed budget close to US $188 million for the next four year. The SPCF will have five strategic area of focuses: Capacity development, Social protection, Energy and environment, Gender and Food Security. The high level UN mission visit is then well-timed to provide the UN and the Government of Eritrea with the opportunity to discuss implementation of the SPCF in much more details.
 Mar Dieye, UNDP Africa: Eritrea
 John Ging, OCHA Operations Director: Eritrea
 Christine Umotoni, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Eritrea: Analysis of MDG success: https://www.shabait.com/articles/nation-building/15104-lesson-from-eritrea-meeting-mdgs-as-soon-as-possible