With less than 1,000 days remaining until the end of the 2015 target date for achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this report highlights the need to accelerate efforts to improve the lives of the poor in both rural and urban areas. The theme of Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2013 is rural-urban disparities in development and ways urbanization can better help achieve the MDGs. The GMR, jointly produced by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is an annual report card on the world’s progress toward the MDGs.
Not only is the theme highly relevant for assessing progress within the current MDG framework, but it also has the potential to inform discussions about the post-2015 development framework in which urbanization will be a major factor. The report calls for complementary rural-urban development policies and actions by governments to facilitate a healthy move toward cities without short-changing rural areas. Besides introducing the key findings of the GMR 2013, this roundtable discussion touched on the central challenges facing countries in the MENA region in their progress toward achieving the MDGs. The objective is to help explore the development assistance these countries need in order to accelerate their progress toward attainment of the MDGs.