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Reaching the MDGs with Equity: Identifying Zambia’s Most Excluded People

We share a commitment to reaching the MDGs. Since 2000, our thinking and our actions have been driven by the achievement of these shared goals, and our results measured in terms of our progress. We are now in the last five years – the countdown – and our efforts are focused on the realisation of our collective commitment to our shared goals.

But we have to be sure that our efforts to reach the MDGs include and indeed prioritise the poorest, the most vulnerable and those who are most often excluded from our development successes. If our pursuit of ‘quick wins’ means picking the low-hanging fruit or taking the easiest route to ‘ticking the box’, we need be wary of strategies that exclude the most vulnerable. The poorest and most vulnerable should be central to the achievement of the MDGs. Indeed, evidence shows that throughout the world, countries that have made deliberate efforts to reach the poorest, and to step up efforts to deliver services to the ‘hard to reach’ and underserved, have made the greatest steps towards equitable economic and human development.

We need to identify these populations, and to address the factors that have repeatedly excluded them from the benefits of progress. To this end, we need to recognise that this might require additional efforts to overcome the geographical, social, gender and even individual barriers to participation. This paper presents an analysis of deprivation and exclusion in Zambia. By analysing available national data on the distribution of vulnerability, poverty, deprivation and rights failures, an index of vulnerability is constructed. Recommendations are made on priority areas for additional investment.




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