The Millennium Development Goals
In September 2000, the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration as a set of universal development objectives. Following consultations among international agencies, the UN General Assembly recognised the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as part of the road map for implementing the Millennium Declaration.
The Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals require the international community to:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
- Achieve universal primary education;
- Promote gender equality and empower women;
- Reduce child mortality;
- Improve maternal health;
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
- Ensure environmental sustainability;
- Develop a global partnership for development
To measure progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, a framework of 18 targets and 48 indicators was agreed. The aim was to give the international community a number of tangible improvements to aim for by the target date of 2015.
The success in achieving the MDGs to date
The success in meeting the MDGs to date has been mixed. In 2007, the UN launched the Millennium Development Goals Reports to assess progress towards the MDGs. The 2010 report highlighted a number of measures where progress has been achieved:
- Progress on poverty reduction is still being made, despite significant setbacks due to the 2008-2009 economic downturn, and food and energy crises. The developing world as a whole remains on track to achieve the poverty reduction target by 2015. The overall poverty rate is still expected to fall to 15 per cent by 2015, which translates to around 920 million people living under the international poverty line - half the number in 1990.
- Major advances have been made in getting children into school in many of the poorest countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Remarkable improvements in key interventions - for malaria and HIV control, and measles immunization, for example - have cut child deaths from 12.5 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008.
- Between 2003 and 2008, the number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy increased tenfold - from 400,000 to 4 million - corresponding to 42 per cent of the 8.8 million people who needed treatment for HIV.
However, though progress has been made, it is uneven. And without a major push forward, many of the MDG targets are likely to be missed in most regions:
- The number of people who are undernourished has continued to grow, while slow progress in reducing the prevalence of hunger stalled—or even reversed itself—in some regions between 2000-2002 and 2005-2007.
- An estimated 1.4 billion people were still living in extreme poverty in 2005.
- Gender equality and the empowerment of women are at the heart of the MDGs and are preconditions for overcoming poverty, hunger and disease. But progress has been sluggish on all fronts—from education to access to political decision-making.
- The number of people dying from AIDS worldwide increased to 2.9 million in 2006.
Policy Coherence as a Means to Achieve the MDGs
In 2008, the OECD issued a declaration (PDF) reaffirming its commitment to policy coherence as a way of contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The EU has also acknowledged that effective improvement in the coherence of developed countries’ policies would put developing countries in a much better position to achieve the MDGs. In advance of the 2005 MDG Summit, the European Commission prepared specific PCD proposals for action in the areas of finance for development, policy coherence for development and focus on Africa.
UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, September 2010
With just five years to go until the 2015 deadline, the UN Secretary-General has called on world leaders to attend a summit in New York on September 20-22, 2010 to accelerate progress towards the MDGs.
The UN Millennium Development Goals website
A portal to background materials, ongoing analysis and research, and campaign initiatives undertaken at a national, regional, and international level to address the MDGs.
The World Bank Millennium Development Goals website
An excellent compendium of information and statistics on the MDGs and the specific targets and indicators, classified both by each of the eight Goals and by the main developing country regions
UN, Millennium Development Goals Report (PDF), 2010
Comprehensive report documenting what has been done and what needs to be done to achieve the goals by 2015.
UN Millennium Project, Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the MDGs (PDF), 2007
Extensive report that brings together the core recommendations of the UN Millennium Project – By outlining practical investment strategies and approaches to financing them, the report presents an operational framework on achieving the MDGs.