What are the Millennium Development Goals?

The Millenium Development Goals were adopted at the turn of the century, built on a decade of major United Nations summits and conferences. The goals  form a blueprint agreed by all the worlds’ countries and all the worlds’ leading development institutions, with a target date set at 2015. The content and their aims are vital to improving development around the world, which is why I refer to them regularly. The goals are:

  1. End Poverty and Hunger (1.A: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day, 1.B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people, 1.C: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger)
  2. Universal Education (2.A: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling)
  3. Gender Equality (3.A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015)
  4. Child Health (4.A: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate)
  5. Maternal Health (5.a: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio, 5.B: Achieve universal access to reproductive health)
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS (6.A: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, 6.B: Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it, 6.C: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases)
  7. Environmental Sustainability (7.A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources, 7.B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss, 7.C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, 7.D: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers)
  8. Global Partnership (8.A: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system, 8.B: Address the special needs of least developed countries, 8.C: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, 8.D: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries, 8.E: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries, 8.F: In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications)
Are the Millennium Development Goals likely to be met?
  1. Possibly (The UN is confident poverty levels will be halved, but the recent food crisis has pushed the hunger target off track)
  2. No (High drop-out rates are making  the goal unachievable)
  3. No (Girls are still more likely to be out of school than boys)
  4. No (Funding for immunisation need to be renewed for this target to be met)
  5. No (Under reporting also makes this difficult to assess)
  6. No (Targets for HIV infection rates and treatment will not be met – the target for malaria could be met with, again, more funding)
  7. No (Except access to water)
  8. Debatable (Debt levels have dropped, but the pledges made by developed countries in terms of aid have yet to be fulfilled)

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