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In 2010, The United Nations made an extensive review of the progress towards the MDGs based on the following eight goals that countries agreed to achieve by 2015:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
- Achieve universal primary education;
- Promote gender equality and empower women;
- Reduce child mortality; Improve maternal health;
- Combat HIV/AIDS;
- Ensure environmental sustainability;
- Develop a global partnership for development.
Conscious of the difficulties facing many countries to accelerate progress toward achieving the MDGs, the Secretary-General of the United Nations launched a series of initiatives. One of which is the UNDP’s MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) that provides United Nations Member States with a methodological framework to assist in identifying obstacles and solutions to achievement of the MDGs. The MAF approach is based on four points:
- Identification of the strategic interventions required to accelerate MDGs that are presently not on the target for 2015
- Analysis of key bottlenecks that have delayed implementation of the interventions
- Selection of cost-efficient solutions
- Development of an action and monitoring plan including a precise definition of the roles of institutions and partners in implementation
In this way, the MAF seeks to identify practical, targeted, short-term solutions to accelerate achievement of MDGs. The MAF is a strategic vehicle for prioritization, focus, streamlining and cohesive programming which considers the best possible combination for highest impact.
Vanuatu was one of the three Pacific Island Countries (with Tonga and Tuvalu) selected to prepare the MAF in the run-up to the December 2012 Summit. The MDG target to accelerate was chosen based on the following selection criteria:
- Should have the potential to achieve significant results within the following two years;
- Should have strong political and community support; and
- Should have the potential to accelerate and impact other targets that are also lagging (i.e. cross-sectoral impact).
Based on the above criteria, the Government of Vanuatu with assistance from UNDP chose to address the MDG target 5B on improving reproductive heath with emphasis on reducing the adolescent birth rate (indicator 5.4), especially in rural areas, and reducing the unmet need for family planning (indicator 5.6).
In addition to the acceleration of MDG 5B, the Vanuatu Government and the development partners have identified 3 key priority areas of intervention among several on-going ones. These are:
- Strengthening and improvement of delivery of quality family planning (FP) services
- Establishment of school-based family life education (FLE) programme and
- Increase access to, and use of Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS).
UNDP agreed to assist the Government of Vanuatu to implement this project by providing support in the following areas pertaining to the identified key priority areas and related selected interventions in the Vanuatu MAF as follows:
- Policy Advisory Services
- MDG Planning and Monitoring
- MAF Advocacy and the Post 2015 Agenda
- Programme Management and M&E
- Resource mobilization for the implementation of the MAF