September 2010 — The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has made notable strides in improving the health, education, and standard of living of its people. But countries in the region face a number of challenges, including social and economic gaps between rich and poor, high youth unemployment, and persistent gender differentials.
All MENA countries with the exception of Djibouti, Iraq, and Yemen stand to meet or narrowly miss most of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).
What are the Millenium Development Goals ?
Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the MDGs are both global and local, tailored by each country to suit specific development needs. The MDGs are the most broadly supported, comprehensive and specific development goals the world has ever agreed upon. These eight time-bound - by 2015 - goals provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions. They include goals and targets on income poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality, environmental degradation and the Global Partnership for Development.