2007 was the mid-point between the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals and the 2015 target. Progress has been achieved in many areas though there are huge disparities among and within different regions and countries. Still, sub-Saharan Africa remains under the less developed areas, experiencing a continuing rise in extreme poverty and stunningly high child and maternal mortality rates. In regard to Middle East and Arab countries, there has been some, slow or no progress on some of the Goals. Nevertheless disparities within and between the countries, between women and men and between rural and urban areas deeply mark such progress.
Some of the main results related to UNFPA mandate underlined in the progress report were:
· Net enrolment ratio in primary education in the developing regions increased to 88 percent in the school year 2004/2005, up from 80 percent in 1990/1991. Sub-Saharan Africa still trails behind other regions, with 30 percent of its children of primary school age out of school.
· Girls are still excluded from education more often than boys, a pattern that is particularly evident in Western and Southern Asia.
· Women's participation in paid, non-agricultural employment has continued to increase slowly.
· Attendance at delivery by skilled health personnel (doctors, nurses, midwives) who are trained to detect problems early and can effectively provide or refer women to emergency obstetric care when needed is essential to reduce maternal mortality. The regions with the lowest proportions of skilled health attendants at birth are Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which also have the highest numbers of maternal deaths.
· Preventing unplanned pregnancies alone could avert around one quarter of maternal deaths, including those that result from unsafe abortion. Still, an estimated 137 million women have an unmet need for family planning. An additional 64 million women are using traditional methods of contraception with high failure rates.
· Globally, 4.3 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2006, with Eastern Asia and the CIS showing the fastest rates of infection. In Southern and South-Eastern Asia, people are most often infected through unprotected sex with sex workers. The use of non-sterile injecting drug equipment remains the main mode of HIV transmission in CIS countries.
· Though sub-Saharan Africa is home to the vast majority of people worldwide living with HIV (63 percent), only about one in four of the estimated 4.8 million people there who could benefit from antiretroviral therapy are receiving it.