Record-breaking survey: World should prioritise education and health

Elementary school students. Tanzania, 2007. [David Dennis/Flickr]

So far, more than 5 million people from all over the world have replied to a survey, called MyWorld2015, conducted both online and on paper, the preliminary results of which show that good education and better healthcare are considered to be the two main priorities to boost development.

According to data released by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) office in Madrid, “Good education” has received so far 3.3 million votes, “Better healthcare” almost 2.8 million votes, and in third place “Better job opportunities” received 2.6 million votes.

The fourth and fifth entries are “An honest and responsive government” with more than 2.4 million votes and “Protection against crime and violence” with more than 2.2 million votes.

This survey is the “the largest ever made”, according to Amalia Navarro, coordinator in Spain for the Millenium Campaing 2015.  She explains that its goal is to reach 7 million people surveyed, but adds that from the results obtained so far it’s already clear that there is “a global claim to make education the centre of the new Development Goal Agenda”.

The data was released by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) office in Madrid, in the framework of the workshop “Inclusive education and opportunities”, recently organized by the Spanish NGO “Entreculturas” in the Spanish capital.

“My World”, a global survey for citizens led by the United Nations and its partners, aims to capture people’s voices, priorities and views, so that global leaders can be informed as they begin the process of defining the new development agenda for the world after 2015.

A direct say in post-2015 MDGs

This is the first time that people have a direct say in the global development agenda. The data collected will be used by decision makers around the world to define the new “road map” as from 2015, when the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire, and the new ones (sustainable and universal) will be put in place.

MY World asks individuals which six of sixteen possible issues they think would make the most difference to their daily lives. These issues have been built up from the priorities expressed by people in developing countries in existing polling exercises and they cover the current MDGs, but also include issues like transparency, security, governance and sustainability.

The survey consists of 16 options to vote:  Better job opportunities; Support for people who can’t work; A good education; Better healthcare; Affordable and nutritious food; Phone and internet access; Better transport and roads; Access to clean water and sanitation; Reliable energy at home; Action taken on climate change; Protecting forests, rivers and oceans; Equality between men and women; Protection against crime and violence; Political freedom; An honest and responsive government; and Freedom from discrimination and persecution.

58 million children have no access to education

According to Valeria Méndez de Vigo, chief of studies and analysis in “Entreculturas”, 58 million children in the world still have no access to education. “Inclusive education makes the difference. It is an asset, not an obstacle. Behind a model of education, there is also a model of society. That is why governments should do more to boost integration in education,” she said.

Girls who live in remote rural areas, ethnic minorities and disabled people have more difficulties to have access to education, according to the last report by Entreculturas  

MY World will continue gathering responses up to 2015. The results will be shared with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and global leaders as they prepare the next “development road map”.

In the year 2000, the United Nations established eight Millennium Development Goals, to be achieved by 2015. These goals are:

  • Eradicate 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
  • Develop a global partnership for development

In 2015, the UN hopes to launch an ambitious programme of "sustainable development", to improve and extend the eight Millennium Development Goals.

  • 2015: Deadline for 0.7% aid target to be met
  • 2015: Deadline for Millennium Development Goals to be reached                
  • September 2015: UN Summit proposed to set new sustainable development goals

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