UN report on progress
The UN Human Development Report 2005 and publication of the 15th annual UNDP Human Development Index are presented at the World Summit in New York
The report ranks countries according to social factors such as their level of health care, education and income and details how far they have come in meeting targets set by the United Nations Millennium Declaration. In the latest list, comprising 177 states, Belarus occupies 67th position — alongside other countries with a tradition of high living standards. Norway has been ranked first in the report with Niger at the bottom. In 2004, only 0.11 percent of the Belarusian population were living on less than $2.15 a day; UN standards dictate that the minimum daily living wage is $2. Child mortality reduction bears weight with respect to human development and, in 2004, this index for children under 5 fell to 9.1 deaths per 1,000 live births — close to that of well developed countries. The level of maternal mortality is 17 deaths per 100,000 live births — the best among the CIS states.
The report also notes recent progress in slowing down the spread of HIV/AIDS — preventive measures have been undertaken in the last few years. The country has also established a network of anti-tuberculosis centres and monitors diagnosed cases closely. Gender equality is improving; women in Belarus have equal rights in society and equal opportunities in education and professional training. However, some jobs are still perceived as being traditional for men and traditional female jobs are less in demand and less well paid; the average woman′s salary is 79.4 percent of a man′s. Some rural and urban hospitals are under-equipped and there is environmental instability; about 70 percent of the rural population drink from contaminated wells.
However, the situation in Belarus is improving. Deputy Foreign Minister, Victor Gaisenok, told the press, "Our country has achieved the majority of the targets set by the Millennium Declaration and has even reached the same level as well developed countries in some areas."