In Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America, countries that have been reported as off-track in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have in fact done better than expected given their starting points. Across all regions countries have particularly performed well on indicators that include reduction of maternal mortality, increases in secondary enrolment and access to cooking fuel and electricity.
However under-performance on indicators varies depending on the regional context. While Asia-Pacific has under-performed expectations on the use of modern energy services; for Latin America and the Caribbean, particular deficits are undernutrition and electricity; and for Africa they are sanitation and the maternal mortality ratio.
Knowing which regions and countries are lagging according to which indicators is invaluable to better targeting by governments and development partners. Recognition of how starting points matter is crucial for policy to focus on implementing the SDG call for country specificity alongside its embrace of the leave no one behind agenda.