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Millennium Development Goals: Pushing back the Barriers in BiH

The Reality of Life Today for the Children of Bosnia and Herzegovina


Millennium Development Goals: Pushing back the Barriers in BiH

MDG1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger.
While poverty effects children more than adults, important gaps still subsist to guarantee the fulfilment of social protection rights for children. Child benefits, which are currently centralized in RS, and being currently provided in 4 out of 10 cantons in the Federation of BiH (FBiH) have limited funding and coordination. Msot municipal centres also remains an issue especially amongst Roma children: 24.2 % are moderately stunted and 12.1 % severely stunted.

  • The UNICEF 2006 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey showed that 82% of babies younger than 6 months are not exclusively breastfed.
  • 26.2 % of children live below absolute line of poverty and 18.8 % below the relative line.
  • The poorest fifth of the population receives only 18% of non-insurance benefits.

MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education.
While school enrolment in primary school is almost universal, it is still low in pre-school and secondary education. Quality remains a concern, especially in rural areas. Furthermore, the educators have limited expertise to take care of children with special needs.

  • 98.4% of children attend primary school, yet pre-school attendance was only 6.4% in 2006.
  • Only 79% of children in BiH attend secondary school.
  • Attendance is lower among vulnerable groups: around 67% of Romany children do not attend primary school, while only 20% are enrolled in secondary education and only 1% in academic institutions.

MDG 3: Promote Gender Equity and Empower Women.
While there is no significant gender gap in primary and secondary education, fewer men than women complete university, yet women comprise only 37% of the labour force and are underpaid in comparison with their male counterparts. Those in the grey economy remain particularly vulnerable.

MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality.
Immunisation remains a concern given that only 61% of children under five were fully vaccinated (according to MICS in 2006). There are indications that coverage rates have continued to decline. Data collected by mobile parenting education teams indicate a particularly low level of immunisation coverage among Romany children: Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV3) 29%, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) 47%, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Whooping cough (DTP3) 30%. The underlying causes can be attributed to social exclusion, service gaps, use of suboptimal vaccines, compromised cold-chain and or poor quality control.

MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health.
 Pregnant women in BiH suffer from high rates of iron-deficiency and anaemia, which may cause serious damages for the health and development of their newborns.

MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases.
While HIV/AIDS prevalence remains low in BiH, the reisk for new infections remains, as only 34.4% of young women have comprehensive knowledge on HIV/AIDS prevention and spreading.

MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability.
 Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) have a direct impact on the safety and livelihoods of about 900,000 people living in 1,631 mine impacted communities in BiH.

  • Landmines and ERW affect the lives of almost a quarter of the population of BiH.
  • Between the end of the war and 2009 there were 1,139 landmine/ERW victims including 165 children.
  •  The total potentially affected area is in the order of 2,000 square kilometers (1,21% of the total BiH surface)  and the bulk of it still requires surveying in order to determine the finite extent of the problem.

MDG 8: Develop Global Partnerships for Development.
As BiH moves into a new development phase the scale of donor resources will continue to decline and BiH authorities are now preparing to assume a greater level of responsibility for development issues.  

  • In January 2009, the BiH Ministry of Finance and Treasury assumed responsibility for the Donor Coordination Forum (DCF).
  • In January 2010 BiH signed Paris Declaration and met all necessary prerequisites for the realization of the full partnership between local authorities and donors.
  • Continued shortfalls in funding mechanisms further stress the necessity to rationalise and optimise available resources through improved efficiency and coordination.





Spanish MDG Fund contribution

In December 2006, UNDP and the Government of Spain signed a long-term agreement to establish a new fund to accelerate efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to support UN reform efforts at the country level. The MDG-F is intervening in a number of thematic areas, including democratic governance, gender equality and women’s empowerment, basic social services, economic and private sector development, environment and climate change, culture and development, conflict prevention and peace building.

Within MDG Fund, over 120 projects are implementing globally. BiH is one of the few countries in the world that has received the opportunity to implement four projects under this fund. These Projects are jointly implemented by UN agencies. All projects are focusing on strengthening capacities of government for evidence-based policy making and social mobilization.

UNICEF is involved in three out of four above mentioned project:
1.  Culture for Development,
2.  Youth, Employment and Retention,
3.  Democratic Economic Governance


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