2013-07-01 | News
Women and Children’s Lives Improving in Caucasus and Central Asia: UN report

Countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia continue to advance towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, according to a new UN report.

 The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013, launched today by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Geneva, finds many positive results for the Caucasus and Central Asia region, which includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

 The eight Millennium Development Goals, with a number of sub-targets covering a range of poverty, hunger, health, gender equality, education and environmental indicators, were agreed by all countries as an outgrowth of the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, most with a due date of 2015.

 According to the report, the Caucasus and Central Asia region has almost met the target of halving hunger by 2015. The proportion of undernourished people in the total population has decreased from 13.9 per cent in 1990-1992 to 7.4 per cent in 2010-2012. The region reached the target of halving the proportion of undernourished children, with the proportion of underweight children under age five declining from 14 per cent to 4 per cent from 1990 to 2011.

 Armenia together with other UN Member States set eight concrete goals in 2000 and the country adopted the MDGs and included them into the national priorities.

 Maria Dotsenko, Representative of the UN Department of Public Information greeted Armenian authorities and general public on the progress made towards achievement of the MDGs and said: “The MDG have helped set global and national priorities, mobilize action, and achieve remarkable results.  We have achieved a lot during more than twenty years of cooperation with our Armenian partners.”

Big gains for women and children

 In the region, parity in the number of women and men holding wage-earning jobs has been nearly achieved, with women holding 44 out of every 100 wage-earning jobs in the non-agricultural sector in 2011. The report says women in the region are also gaining more power in politics. The proportion of seats held by women in single or lower houses of national parliament increased from 7 per cent in 2000 to 18 per cent in 2013.

 The region has one of the lowest maternal mortality ratios among all developing regions – 46 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010. Nearly all mothers – 97 per cent – were attended at birth by skilled health personnel in 2011.

 The Caucasus and Central Asia region reduced its child mortality rate by 45 per cent between 1990 and 2011. The mortality rate for children under five dropped from 76 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 42 in 2011. However, the report says more needs to be done for the region to reach the MDG target of a two-thirds reduction in the child mortality rate by 2015.

 Tangible progress has also been made in the area of reduction of child mortality in Armenia. In particular, since 1990 under-five mortality rate has dropped from 24 deaths to 13.7 per 1,000 live births in 2011, while infant mortality rate (children below 1) - from 18.5 to 11.6 per 1,000 live births during the same period. However, given the current trends in child mortality rate, it will be hard for Armenia to achieve its national targets for under-five and infant mortality set at less than 10 per cent and less than 8 per cent respectively by 2015. 

 “I am proud that Armenia has seen a more than significant decline in the maternal mortality rate: from 71 down to 6 per 100,000 live births between 2000 and 2010.  This is a solid claim for achieving MDG 5, Improve Maternal Health.  However, to fully reach this MDG, we still need to take steps towards ensuring universal access of the women of Armenia to reproductive health services,” Maria Dotsenko added.

 The report says that the region continued to advance on promoting gender equality and empowering women, and achieved parity in primary and secondary education between boys and girls. The ratios between the enrolment rate of girls and that of boys are 0.98 per cent and 0.97 in primary and secondary education, respectively, falling within the accepted range for parity. At the post-secondary or tertiary level, more women are enrolled than men.

According to UN data, Armenia has been able to maintain high enrollment of children in basic education. However, some groups of children still continue to be left out of the education process. Children with disabilities as well as those from other vulnerable groups still do not have full access to education and additional efforts will be required to ensure that country fully meets its national targets under the 2nd MDG, Achieve Universal Primary Education. 

Mixed results on infectious diseases, water and sanitation 

 In the past decade, the incidence of tuberculosis declined significantly in the Caucasus and Central Asia region, according to the report. The estimated number of new tuberculosis cases, which had increased from 132 to 324 per 100,000 people between 1990 and 1999, dropped sharply to 116 by 2011.

 On the negative side, the incidence of HIV has doubled in the region between 2001 and 2011, from 0.03 per 100 people aged 15-49 to 0.06, while it has declined steadily in other developing regions. An estimated 27,000 people were newly infected with HIV in that region in 2011.

 Globally, the MDG drinking water target was met five years ahead of schedule. The proportion of people using an improved source of drinking water increased in all regions except the Caucasus and Central Asia, where that rate dropped from 89 per cent in 1990 to 86 per cent in 2011.

 On a positive note, the region reached the target of halving the proportion of people without basic sanitation ahead of schedule. The proportion of the population using an improved sanitation facility, such as latrines or toilets, increased from 91 percent to 96 per cent between 1990 and 2011.

 Among developing regions, the Caucasus and Central Asia saw the lowest increase in protected areas, which grew from 2.8 per cent to 3.6 per cent of the land surface between 1990 and 2012.  Protected areas, which are dedicated to safeguarding and maintaining biological diversity and natural resources, with their associated cultural value, are used as an indicator of the MDG goal on environmental sustainability.

 The Millennium Development Goals Report, an annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the Goals, reflects the most comprehensive, up-to-date data compiled by over 27 UN and international agencies and is produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. A complete set of the data used to prepare the report is available at

For more information, press materials and an inter-agency media contact list, see

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