World Development Indicators 2006
The developing world has made remarkable progress. The number of people living in extreme poverty on less than $1 a day has fallen by about 400 million in the last 25 years. Many more children, particularly girls, are completing primary school. Illiteracy rates have fallen by half in 30 years. And life expectancy is nearly 15 years longer, on average, than it was 40 years ago. The demand for statistics to measure progress and demonstrate the effectiveness of development programs has stimulated growing interest in the production and dissemination of statistics. And not just in the traditional domains of debt, demographics, and national accounts, but in new areas such as biodiversity, information, communications, technology, and measures of government and business performance. In response World Development Indicators (WDI) has continued to grow and change. In 1999 members of the statistical community, recognizing that the production of sound statistics for measuring progress is a global responsibility, established the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the twenty-first century (PARIS21) to strengthen statistical capacity at all levels. In 2000 the United Nations millennium summit called on all countries to work toward a quantified, time-bound set of development targets, which became the millennium development goals (MDG). In the five years since the millennium summit, the idea of working toward specific goals has evolved into a general strategy of managing for development results. Countries are reporting on progress toward the MDG and monitoring their own results using a variety of economic and social indicators. Bilateral and multilateral development agencies are incorporating results into their own management planning and evaluation systems and using new indicators to set targets for harmonizing their joint work programs. All of these efforts depend on statistics.
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