The United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that was held from the 20th to the 22nd of September 2010 in New York ended with the adoption of a global action plan to achieve the eight anti-poverty goals by the year 2015. The Plan also includes major new commitments for women’s and children’s health and other initiatives against poverty, hunger and disease.Indeed, in a few notable areas the report indicates that Kenya has actually lost ground. Overall, for Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa, there has been some progress, but not enough and not fast enough. President Mwai Kibaki who attended several meetings in New York,including the high level
summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) shared the Kenya experience in the attainment of a new Constitution, especially on the Bill of Rights that guarantees all citizens access to basic and fundamental rights.
The eight MDGs include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development .
On the run-up to the UN Millennium Development Goal Summit in New York, the Africa Progress Panel, chaired by Mr. Koffi Annan published a resource guide highlighting the critical necessity of achieving the full participation and empowerment of women and girls in all aspects of political, economic and social life in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The guide, "Women and the MDGs in Africa", is a new resource for policy-makers, presenting key statistics and insights alongside the most important reports and best practice examples. Bringing important information into one place, the guide aims to mobilize action and contribute to better informed decision-making. The guide highlights the contribution of women on each of the MDG’s and the progress their successful implementation will have on women globally.
Also, the new Kenyan constitution recognizes the Legislature as a crucial arm of government; the proposed constitution proposed to reverse the current status of low representation of women in the legislature as the current number of female legislators is twenty eight compared to the 119 seats held by men. Specific articles in this regard include Article 90 and 97 which sets the increment of the number of women to be elected in the counties and the senate.
The judiciary is also an area that has seen an increase in women with female judges and magistrates currently 119 out of a total of 345. The new constitution promises more involvement of women in the Judiciary. However, the Executive arm of the government has women only from the posts of assistant ministers and below and this has not changed much in the new constitution as gender allocations have not been specified.
Overall, the constitution guarantees greater representation of women in various levels of government thereby contributing to the third millennium development goal that advocates for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. It also secures gender equality in many other areas including fundamental freedoms, health, and education.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015 are to provide a framework for the entire international community to work together towards a common end – making sure that human development reaches everyone, everywhere. The goals are both global and local, tailored by each country to suit specific development needs. If these goals are achieved, world poverty will be cut by half, tens of millions of lives will be saved, and billions more people will have the opportunity to benefit from the global economy.