MDG 5 progress uneven

The UN has published a new report on the world's progress toward meeting its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), noting that efforts to reduce maternal mortality have so far been "uneven".

According to the organisation's statement, the world has made "massive progress" to date in accomplishing the eight goals. Many countries, however, would need to work harder to meet the 2015 deadline.

MDG 5 stipulates that maternal mortality rates must be reduced to one-quarter of 1990 levels by the target date. Disparity was found "among and within countries", the UN said.

It acknowledged that efforts to combat HIV had made a substantial impact, with the number of new infections in sub-Saharan Africa dropping by 25 per cent between 2001 and 2011. However, some 2.5 million people around the world still became infected in 2011.

"Now is the time to step up our efforts to build a more just, secure and sustainable future for all," said UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon.