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Barbados

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An exemplary performance, but this small island is vulnerable

The National Strategic Plan (2005-2025) of Barbados defines its approach to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to the recent Report by the Government of Barbados to the United Nations Special Summit on Progress Towards the Attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, Barbados has achieved and surpassed most of the global targets. Specifically, the country has achieved Goal 1, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; Goal 2, universal primary education; Goal 3, the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women; Goal 4, the reduction of child mortality; Goal 5, improvement in maternal health; Goal 6, halting the spread of malaria and other diseases. The country has therefore moved to the introduction of MDG-Plus, with localization of the existing MDGs to better reflect national realities and address specific country issues.

The biggest challenge to completing the achievement of the MDGs is in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Barbados has had considerable success in the reduction of morbidity and mortality rates among infected persons, but continues to grapple with the rates of new infections. Within the last five years, the country has seen an overall increase in rates of infection among all sectors of the population, particularly among females aged 15-24. Like many other Caribbean nations, Barbados is witnessing a change in the epidemiology, from problems with communicable diseases to increasing difficulties in dealing with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes. Childhood and adult obesity is also causing a problem, adding to the burden of disease and disability.

A different kind of challenge is in the lack of the required statistics and the absence of a monitoring framework to track progress towards the achievement of national goals. Barbados, like many of its Caribbean neighbours, is also very vulnerable, as a small island developing State whose MDG achievements are all too susceptible to the impact of natural disasters and external economic shocks.

Government policies and programmes direct national efforts to deal with these challenges. An HIV/AIDS programme has incorporated the use of behavioural change communication as a way to promote positive and responsible sexual behaviours. In its efforts to control the impact of non-communicable diseases, the government is promoting a National Healthy Lifestyle Policy and the implementation of practical measures such as nutrition programmes in the school system to encourage healthy diets and increased physical activity.

Last updated 1 November 2007

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Map of Barbados in MDG Monitor


The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Total population
(millions):
0.3
Surface area
(sq. km):
430
GDP per capita
(PPP US$):
N/A
GDP growth
(annual %):
N/A
Human Development Index
(Rank 1 - 177):
31
Life expectancy at birth
(years):
76.0
Population below PPP $1 per day
(%):
N/A
Net enrolment ratio in primary education
(% both sexes):
96.2
Carbon dioxide emissions per capita
(metric tons):
4.3607
Unemployment, total
(% of total labor force):
9.8

NOTE: The MDG data presented here is the latest available from the United Nations Statistics Division. The World Bank has recently released new poverty estimates, which reflect improvements in internationally comparable price data. The new data estimates set a new poverty line of US$1.25 a day and offer a much more accurate picture of the cost of living in developing countries. They are based on the results of the 2005 International Comparison Program (ICP), released in first half of 2008. Country-specific poverty estimates will be released by the World Bank in late 2008