Rising unemployment and declining share of the poorer populace in national income are two major challenges for the country in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), says a government report. “Appropriate interventions are required so that benefits of economic growth reach the poorest quintile,” observes the report prepared by Planning Commission on progress towards MDGs. In 1992, the poor’s share in national income was 6.5 percent. But it dropped to 5.3 percent in 2005, marking a decline of 18.46 percent in 13 years. A steady annual growth around 5 percent on average in the 1990s and 6 percent in the 2000s helped the country to draw nearer to implementation of many of the MDGs, eight goals that the United Nations member states have pledged to accomplish by the year 2015. Halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, ensuring universal access to primary education, eliminating gender disparities, reducing child mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio, and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases are among the targets officially adopted in 2000. One of the shortcomings in Bangladesh’s efforts to attain MDGs is failure to make growth process sufficiently pro-poor, says the report, adding that depleting share of the poorer segments of the society in national income and consumption shows that the poor are not benefiting from the growth. It said youth unemployment has shot up to 13 percent in 2003 from 3 percent in 1990. Nearly 64 percent of those unemployed have secondary or post secondary and higher education. According to draft Labour Force Survey 2005-06 of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, unemployment rose by one lakh or 5 percent between 2002-03 and 2005-06. “The challenge is clearly to create employment opportunities at a much faster pace,” reads the report on the MDG campaign. Dr Zaid Bakht, research director of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said the government should provide policy support and fiscal incentive for the labour-intensive industries to overcome the growing unemployment. Ensuring that all boys and girls complete primary school remains a difficult task. A remarkable success has been achieved in increasing primary school enrolment, but that is under threat from problems in preventing dropouts, the report adds. The country requires continued support and assistance from its development partners to beat off the hurdles getting in its way of meeting the MDGs. It may not be able to generate required resources from domestic sources and so will need sustained support from the donors, notes the Planning Commission study. Besides, it continues, the developed countries failed to contribute 0.7 percent of gross national income (GNI) that they have pledged for the developing countries seeking to achieve MDGs. Moreover, official development assistance (ODA) to Bangladesh has been falling over the years. Given by the 30-country grouping named Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the development aid to the country was $1,240 million in 1990, but it plummeted to $110 million in 2006. Bangladesh is behind schedule in achieving gender parity in tertiary education, reducing maternal mortality and fully containing the spread of communicable diseases and reducing the proportion of population without safe drinking water. “The targets that we are struggling to reach would be given emphasis in the next poverty reduction strategy papers, now being drafted,” said a senior official of the Planning Commission. However, it’s not all gloomy. Bangladesh achieved gender parity in primary and secondary schooling in 2005. Besides, it is well on course to halve the proportion of population below national poverty line and minimum level of energy consumption as well as gain universal access to primary education and reduce the under-five child mortality and infant mortality rates. However, we, the all the people of Bangladesh should come forward to solve this massive problem.