Saturday, 9 May 2009

How do G8 countries do on the MDGs?

So, um, how do the G8 countries stack up on the domestic implementation of the MDGs? The first (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger), second (universal primary education), fourth and fifth (low levels of child and maternal mortality) and sixth (combating HIV/AIDS and malaria) are, thankfully, pretty much irrelevant for our purposes. But we can have some fun with the remainder.

MDG3: ‘To reduce gender equality and empower women’. Now, there has been no better time in history to be a woman, and no better place, than in developed countries in the early 21st century. It would be facile to argue otherwise. But how do we measure up against developing countries on one of the indicators used to measure MDG3: the proportion of women representatives in the national parliament?

Using UN statistics for 2007, a few interesting facts emerge. Within the G8, Germany comes out on top, with women making up 31.6 per cent of the national parliament. Meh. It’s a smaller proportion than Cuba (43.2) and Mozambique (34.8). Canada comes next, with 20.8 per cent; it trails (among others) Namibia (26.9), Guyana (29), and – get this! – Afghanistan (27.3) and Iraq (25.5). The UK is next, with 19.7 per cent. Then there’s Italy on 17.3 (many of these are semi-nude). The USA is on 16.3; on this measure, women in Zimbabwe (16.7) are doing better. Then, lamentably, we have France (12.2), the Russian Federation (9.8, beaten by Mali on 10.2) and – picking up the booby prize of a year’s subscription to Nuts magazine – Japan (9.4, just ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo on 8.4). Jesus, they’re not even trying.

And here's the doozy: the world leader in terms of women in parliament? Following elections in the autumn of 2008, it's Rwanda, with 56.6 per cent. That's more than Sweden (47.3). Read how they did it here.

Further appropriate uses of the word ‘lamentable’ – and, indeed, deplorable, regrettable, terrible, wretched, woeful and distressing – are to be found in the G8’s performance on MDG8 (‘developing a global partnership for development’). Back in October 1970, the UN asked OECD countries to spend 0.7 per cent of their gross national income on development aid by the mid-1970s. Thirty years later, this indicator was incorporated into the MDGs, and nearly forty years later, the role of shame is as follows (again, figures are for 2007): Japan, 0.17; Italy, 0.19; the USA, 0.16; Canada, 0.28; UK, 0.36; Germany, 0.37; and France, 0.39. (Data for the Russian Federation are not available.)

Hey, let’s look at MDG 7 (‘ensuring environmental sustainability’). Indicator 7.2 concerns CO2 emissions per capita, and I don’t want to boastful, but we totally hit it out of the park on this one. France, 6 tons per capita per annum; Russia and the UK, 10; Australia, 16; the USA, 20 big ones! And these are 2004 figures, so they’ve probably gone up since then.


  1. Only just found you were here! Isn't Twitter a tool for good.

    xxx Cappy

  2. Yay! It sure is. Unlike FB, which is the drool of Satan himself. (Maybe.)