Information and stories on Millennium Development Goals

Millennium_Development_GoalsAs 2015 comes to a close and the world takes a look at the progress that has been made in global poverty relief, it is clear that significant progress has been achieved. The list of what has been accomplished is extensive, but here are some of the top Millennium Development Goals successes:

  1. Between 1990 and 2015 the number of people living in extreme poverty went from 1.9 billion to 836 million people. That’s 1,090 million people who no longer live in poverty.
  2. The number of primary school age children who were out of school dropped globally from 100 million to 57 million. That’s 43 million more children able to go to school.
  3. In 1990, for every 100 boys that attended school in Asia, there were only 74 girls attending. That number has now risen from 74 to 103 girls.
  4. The number of infant deaths under age 5 has declined from 12.7 million to in 1990, to 6 million today.
  5. In 1990, only 2.3 billion people had access to clean drinking water. That number has now climbed to 4.2 billion.
  6. 99 percent of all countries have more women in parliament than they did in 1990.
  7. The child mortality rate has been reduced from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births to 43 deaths per 1,000 live births, and it continues to fall.
  8. The number of people living on only $1.25 a day has gone from 47 percent in 1990 to 14 percent in 2015.

While the Millennium Development Goals have had many successes, some goals have not been reached. World leaders have come together once again to decide on the new long-term sustainability goals, building on the past successes.

According to the UN, The Sustainable Development Goals, “will break fresh ground with ambition on inequalities, economic growth, decent jobs, cities and human settlements, industrialization, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, peace and justice.”

Drusilla Gibbs

Sources: The Guardian, UN
Photo: Flickr

millennium_development_goalsIn the year 2000, world leaders agreed upon the Millennium Development Goals to address extreme poverty.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.”

Now that 2015 is coming to an end, the world is evaluating the success of the MDGs. While the overall targets were not met, significant progress has been made toward achieving several of the stated goals.

The official report declares, “The 15-year effort to achieve the eight aspirational goals set out in the Millennium Declaration in 2000 was largely successful across the globe, while acknowledging shortfalls that remain. The data and analysis presented in the report show that with targeted interventions, sound strategies, adequate resources and political will, even the poorest can make progress.”

In terms of fighting poverty, the MDGs produced the largest and most successful anti-poverty movement so far in the world’s history. With every country focused on the effort, the results have been impressive and inspirational.

For example, looking closer at the goal of education: “Primary school enrollment figures have shown an impressive rise, but the goal of achieving universal primary education has just been missed, with the net enrollment rate increasing from 83 percent in 2000 to 91 percent this year,” according to The Guardian.

Each target area received similar improvements. But the biggest result that has come from the MDGs is a determination to succeed in ensuring sustainability for future generations of the world’s citizens. Since the conclusion of the MDGs, countries have regrouped and pushed on into phase two: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN has caught hold of the vision and is pressing forward. “The United Nations is… defining Sustainable Development Goals as part a new sustainable development agenda that must finish the job and leave no one behind.”

Katherine Martin

Sources: UNDP 1, UNDP 2, The Guardian, UN
Photo: Pixabay

MDG Failures MDGs
As 2015 comes to a close and the world takes a look at the progress that has been made, it is clear that while much has been accomplished — with more than a billion people having been lifted out of poverty — many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were not complete successes, and some failed outright. Discussed below are the MDG failures and their implications.


Shortcomings: Assessing the MDG Failures


One of the major MDG failures is the fact that the success of the goals was not experienced equally across the globe; this in itself is a major defeat. Consider a few of these statistics from different countries concerning the same MDGs.

Extreme Poverty 50 Percent Reduction Rate:

  1. Southeastern Asia exceeded the goal for extreme poverty reduction by 16 percent
  2. Southern Asia exceeded the goal by 12.5 percent
  3. Northern Africa scraped by at about 1.2 percent
  4. Sub-Saharan Africa was by far the most behind. It did not even meet the goal for extreme poverty reduction and was 12.5 percent away from doing so.

The extreme poverty reduction goal of at least a 50 percent reduction in those living on $1.25 a day arguably had the best statistics for each country; from there it goes steadily downhill. This trend can be seen throughout the different Millennium Development Goals. Sub-Saharan Africa was far from reaching its goals, and not one country achieved the goal set for maternal mortality rate reduction.MDG_failures

Gender inequality was also a focus of the MDGs, but unfortunately, according to the United Nations, “gender inequality persists in spite of more representation of women in parliament and more girls going to school. Women continue to face discrimination in access to work, economic assets and participation in private and public decision-making.”

Although there were huge successes achieved through the MDGs, it is important to note that more than 800 million people continue to live in extreme poverty.

According to the U.N., “children from the poorest 20 percent of households are more than twice as likely to be stunted as those from the wealthiest 20 percent and are also four times as likely to be out of school. In countries affected by conflict, the proportion of out-of-school children increased from 30 percent in 1999 to 36 percent in 2012.”

In addition, the numbers for global emissions of carbon dioxide as well as water scarcity are disheartening. There has been a 50 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions and water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the world in comparison to 1990 statistics.

Although there have been failures in trying to implement the goals, all hope is not lost. Progress in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals is already being made.

Global leaders are regrouping, and as the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, “The emerging post-2015 development agenda, including the set of Sustainable Development Goals, strives to build on our successes and put all countries, together, firmly on track towards a more prosperous, sustainable and equitable world.”

Drusilla Gibbs

Sources: IRIN News, UN
Photo: Flickr, Pixabay

MDGsAt the Millennium Summit in 2000, history was made when a record number of world leaders gathered to adopt the U.N. Millennium Declaration, committing nations to cutting extreme poverty in half through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and eradicate poverty through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Through the agreement, the MDGs target different dimensions of poverty including hunger, disease, insufficient shelter, gender inequality, global education and environmental sustainability.

With an expiration date of December 2015, the achievements made through the MDGs provide evidence that poverty can be eliminated worldwide by 2030.

MDG 1: Cut Extreme Hunger and Poverty in Half

Since 1990, the amount of people living on less than $1.25 per day decreased from 1.9 billion to 836 million in 2015. While extreme poverty was cut in half, extreme hunger narrowly missed the mark, dropping from 23.3 percent to 12.9 percent.

MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Primary School Enrollment has seen a slight rise, increasing from 83 percent in 2000 to 91 percent in 2015.

MDG 3: Eliminate Gender Disparity in Education and Empower Women

Since 1990, approximately two-thirds of developing countries have achieved gender unity. In Southern Asia, the primary school enrollment ratio favors girls over boys in 2015.

MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality by Two-Thirds

The child mortality rate decreased from 12.7 million in 1990 to 6 million in 2015. In addition, the measles vaccine compared to 2000 covered almost 10 percent more children worldwide.

MDG 5: Reduce the Maternal Morality Rate by 75 Percent

Compared to 1990, the maternal mortality rate has been cut in half, narrowly missing the 75 percent benchmark.

MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases

Since 2000, the number of new HIV infections decreased by 40 percent, dropping from 3.5 million to 2.1 million in 2013.

MDG 7: Increase Environmental Sustainability

In 2010, the goal to increase access to clean water was achieved five years early. Since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water.

MDG 8: Develop an Open Partnership for Development

Overseas development assistance from developed nations to developing countries increased 66 percent. With the expansion of technology, Internet infiltration increased significantly from 6 percent in 2000 to 43 percent in 2015.

Alexandra Korman

Sources: The Guardian
Photo: NaijaLog

Victories of the MDGsThe Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the development foundation for the past 15 years, and as the movement comes to an end, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon describes it as “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history.” At the beginning of the millennium the world leaders gathered at the United Nations to strategize methods for fighting poverty; they created eight goals to guide them in fighting poverty in its many elements. The victories of the MDGs are as follows:

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

The extreme poverty rate in developing countries was at 47 percent in 1990 and has since dropped to 14 percent in 2015. In those same 25 years the global number of people living in extreme poverty has dropped from 1,926 million to 836 million. And undernourished percentage in developing countries has dropped from 23.3 to 12.9.

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

The number of out-of-school children has dropped by half between 2000 and 2015: 100 million to 57 million. In sub-Saharan African, net enrollment rate has increased by 20 percent from 2000 to 2015. The global 8 percent increase in literacy rates has also narrowed the literacy gap between men and women.

Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

In Southern Asia, for every 100 boys enrolled in primary education, 74 girls were enrolled in 1990, and now 103 girls are enrolled for every 100 boys. In 1990 women made up 35 percent of the paid workforce outside the agricultural sector; today they make up 41 percent of said work force.victories_of_the_MDGs

Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality

The global number of deaths for children below the age of 5 has dropped from 12.7 million to 6 million between 1990 and 2015. The measles vaccination has prevented 15.6 million deaths between 2000 and 2013.

Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health

Globally, the mortality ration has dropped by 45 percent since 1990 with most of its decline occurring since 2000. Contraception use has increased by 9 percent among women between the ages of 15 to 49.

Goal 6: Combat HI/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases

In 2003 0.8 million people with HIV were receiving Antiretroviral Therapy Treatment (ART), and by 2014 13.6 million people with HIV were receiving ART. Nine hundred million insecticide-treated mosquito nets were delivered to malaria prone countries in sub-Saharan Africa between 2004 and 2014.

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Since 1990, 1.9 billion people have gained access to clean, drinking tap water. Improved sanitation is now available to 2.1 billion people.

Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Between 2000 and 2014, the official development assistance from developed countries rose from USD $81 billion to USD $135 billion. The global effort of the MDGs has also brought mobile-cellular signal to 95 percent of the world population, and access to Internet has grown from 6 percent to 43 percent between 2000 and 2015.

According to Ban Ki-moon, the MDGs results have taught world leaders lessons that will help with carrying out the Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years. He said, “Reflecting on the MDGs and looking ahead to the next 15 years, there is no question that we can deliver on our shared responsibility to end poverty, leave no one behind and create a world of dignity for all.”

Marie Helene Ngom

Sources: UN, The Guardian
Photo: Pixabay, Wikipedia

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed leaders from all over the world in September, calling on them to join him in ending poverty.

“Our aim is clear,” he said during the 70th UN General Assembly meeting. “Our mission is possible. And our destination is in our sights: an end to extreme poverty by 2030, a life of peace and dignity for all.”

Ki-moon proposed a new UN framework for addressing global issues. The new 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a continuation of the eight Millennium Development Goals introduced in 2000. The 17 goals focus on the UN’s agenda for the next 15 years.

The new framework, he said, “weaves the goals together, with human rights, the rule of law and women’s empowerment as crucial parts of an integrated whole.”

Poverty was a top priority during the 70th UN general assembly. President Barack Obama, among many other world leaders, voiced concern about global poverty, citing urgency and opportunity at this year’s meeting.

Obama’s speech drew attention to the importance of collective diplomacy between nations on issues of poverty and economic inequality. He commended the gathering of nations for securing, as he said, “a global economy that has lifted more than a billion people from poverty.”

At the same time Obama warned that much is left to be done, saying “the march of human progress never travels in a straight line,” and that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more disordered world.”

Obama summarized the UN meeting with a sense of hope. He emphasized progress requiring “a sustained commitment to our people — so farmers can feed more people; so entrepreneurs can start a business without paying a bribe; so young people have the skills they need to succeed in this modern, knowledge-based economy.”

Obama and Ki-moon’s speeches were preliminary descriptions of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals project proposal. The proposal creates a novel structure of how the UN concentrates on global issues.

The UN Sustainable Development agenda outlined problems nations face in the next 15 years. The UN document acknowledges global issues but also envisions, as it says, “a world in which every country enjoys sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all.”

The document both analyzes challenges and presents solutions.

Nations are meeting at “a time of immense opportunity,” the document says in its message. “Within the past generation, hundreds of millions of people have emerged from extreme poverty.”

The 17 development goals for 2030 aim to make the dimensions of the environment, economics and government sustainable. Human rights are at the forefront of the goals, with the alleviation of poverty and curable diseases major points.

“What counts now is translating promises on paper into change on the ground,” Ki-moon said, concluding his speech. “We owe this and much more to the vulnerable, the oppressed, the displaced and the forgotten people in our world.”

Michael Hopek

Sources: General Assembly of the United Nations, Millennium Project, The White House, UN, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform
Photo: Wikimedia

Target Year 2015: Increases in Water Access Mark Progress in Achieving Millennium Development Goals
When the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were established in 2000, 2015 was designated as the target year to achieve many improvements in access to basic human rights such as water and basic sanitation.

Access to water ensures reliable sources of safe drinking water, and basic sanitation guarantees hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact. The MDG established a mission to halve the number of people worldwide without sustainable access to sanitation and drinking water between 1990 and 2015.

According to the United Nations, the world successfully halved the number of people without access to drinking water by 2010, and by 2015, a total of 2.6 billion people gained water access. Meanwhile, 2.1 billion people have gained sanitation access in this time. However, 2.4 billion people have still not seen improvement in this area.

The benefits of clean water access and sanitation are countless, as safe water is a fundamental building block to security in other areas of life. According to ONE, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is at least $4 of increased economic opportunity in developing nations.

Also according to ONE, with universal water access and sanitation, the globe would receive approximately $32 billion of economic benefits annually due to reductions in healthcare costs and increased work productivity from increased standards of life.

A reporter from ONE notes that $22 billion would be generated just in Africa and that African women would be especially impacted by such access. Research has demonstrated that clean water and sanitation has had the power to increase school enrollment rates for females by more than 15 percent in relevant areas.

Despite improvements, the world still has a far journey to travel, which has been a big topic of discussion throughout MDG Target Year 2015. Especially with regard to sanitation, the world has reaffirmed its commitment to improving sanitation standards moving forward.

The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) annually hosts World Water Week to discuss these issues. This year’s theme was Water For Development, accordingly, to reestablish a global focus on sustainable development for impoverished nations.

Held recently at the end of August, world leaders gathered to discuss the importance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the future.

Arin Kerstein

Sources: ONE, United Nations Millennium Goals, United Nations Water
Photo: Google Images

Malaria Infection Rate Drops 50% Since 2000
In 2000, the UN released the Millennium Development Goal to “halt by 2015 and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria.” Reflecting back on the start of the twenty-first century, a recent study conducted at Oxford University has revealed an impressive decline in the rate of malaria infection across endemic Africa.

Using data gathered from approximately 30,000 malaria field surveys taken from sites across sub-Saharan Africa, researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Zoology investigated trends in infection by Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malarial parasite.

What they found was the overall rate of malaria infection in the affected regions of Africa has declined by 40 percent since 2000. This translates into roughly 700 million cases of malaria prevented over 15 years.

The study also compared several methods of intervention implemented, along with which of these methods had the most substantial effect. Of these solutions, research indicates that insecticide-treated bednets accounts for 68 percent of the total prevention.

Other tactics included Artemisin-based combination therapy, an efficacious anti-malarial drug, and indoor residual spraying, or the application of insecticide to the inside of homes.

Another report jointly released by UNICEF and WHO confirmed that malaria death rates have declined by 60 percent since 2000. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, praised these preventative disease measures when she said, “Global malaria control is one of the great public health success stories of the past 15 years.”

These studies prove the effectiveness simple solutions can have in saving thousands of lives globally, as access to nets and the spraying of dwellings alone have significantly contributed to the process of eliminating an ancient disease. They also provide important evidence on how to proceed with future control planning.

While these findings indicate a confident direction in the prevention and eradication of global disease, there is still enormous progress to be made. 438,000 people have died by malaria since the beginning of 2015, of which most were children living in the poorest regions of the world.

With half of the world’s population still at risk of contracting malaria, the journey is not quite over. In just 15 years, the percentage of children under the age of five sleeping beneath a bug net reached 68 percent from an initial 2 percent.

Imagine what could be done in the next 15 years with the effective implementation of preventative measures. With the solution already available, it would seem that the proper way to celebrate progress is to continue more heavily than ever before in efforts to end malaria.

Kayla Lucia

Sources: Nature, University of Oxford, IFLScience
Photo: Wikimedia

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are set to expire at the end of 2015, and a new proposal of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be discussed in September. MDGs have helped alleviate poverty and hunger, reduce fatality rates for children under 5, improve maternal health and help prevent HIV/AIDS from spreading.

For the last 15 years, the MDGs have been the most important global humanitarian effort to help improve living conditions in developing countries. The SDGs have an even more ambitious agenda and will involve all member states instead of just developing countries.

Here are 5 things you can expect from the Post-2015 Development Agenda:

Goal 1 is to end all forms of poverty, and achieving this goal is realistic. The MDGs halved the number of people living on less than $1.25 per day. From 1990 to 2008, the extreme poverty rate fell from 47 percent to 24 percent. To eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, it would cost about $66 billion a year.

Goal 2 is focused on ending hunger and improving nutrition. About 800 million people still live in hunger, and many children are underweight. Despite population growth, the number of hungry people has declined by 200 million since 1990, and it will cost $30 billion per year in order to end world hunger. By 2025, it would cost $300 billion, which is less than 1 percent of the world’s combined GDP.

Goal 4 builds off of the MDG to achieve universal primary education and calls for member states to ensure children have free quality primary and secondary education that results in effective learning outcomes. This means ensuring that gender disparities are eliminated. By 2009, 43 million children were enrolled in primary education worldwide, but there are still about 60 million children not enrolled, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. This will involve tackling child labor, building more classrooms and training more teachers.

Goal 9 promotes sustainable industrialization and the building of resilient infrastructure, including an increase in access to the Internet. About 66 percent of people globally do not have access to the Internet. The SDGs call for infrastructure developments in order to improve economic sustainability. Innovation will revolve around increased scientific research, enhanced technology and clean technologies and investments for Internet and technology in developing countries.

Goal 13 calls to take action on the impacts of climate change and may be one of the most challenging goals to reach. Climate change impacts poverty, economic growth and sustainability, but countries cannot work alone to reduce the impact of climate change. Individual cities will have to change climate policies because they generate 70 percent of carbon emissions. Partnerships between local governments, civil society and the private sector will help make this goal achievable.

If the commitment to the MDGs are a sign of things to come, then there will be many success stories involving the new SDGs.

Donald Gering

Sources: End Poverty 2015, Global Education, Green Biz, The Guardian, Huffington Post,, LA Times, UN
Photo: concorditalia

Ending Extreme Poverty
After the Millennium Development Goals for 2015 expired, world leaders worked on their next set of goals for the upcoming 15 years. These, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), offer specific global targets.

Unlike the MDG, the SDG initiatives are to be tackled primarily within countries, whereas the MDG initiatives were led by wealthy countries who gave money to poorer countries. There were eight MDG initiatives, which were later criticized for not addressing gender inequality, human rights and economic development.

There were 17 goals that national bodies would decide whether or not they’d work toward during the Sustainable Development Summit, which occurred September 25-27 this year. They included ending poverty globally; reducing inequality within and between countries; promoting just, inclusive, and peaceful societies and taking stronger action to slow climate change.

The first goal is to end poverty globally. This is to be completed by ending extreme poverty in which individuals live at less than $1.25 per day and reducing by at least half the number of individuals living at national poverty levels.

Other goals support this initial goal through their targets of eliminating malnutrition, increasing food production, access to clean water, sanitation and achieving universal health care coverage.

Twelve of the 17 goals include gender-sensitive targets. One goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; this ambitious goal includes targets on ending discrimination, eliminating trafficking, achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health care and ending practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

Otherwise, gender-sensitive targets are reflected in 11 other goals relating to health, education and community development. Targets include the reduction of maternal mortality rates, elimination of disparities for access to education at primary and tertiary levels, and having more inclusive cities, labor forces and societies.

Climate change and sustainable development also receive significant attention in the SDG. Goals include making sustainable development a global effort, taking urgent action against climate change and halting biodiversity loss. Targets include reversing deforestation, protecting more land, combating desertification and ending poaching.

Technology and innovations receive attention from the SDG proposal as well. There is an emphasis on sustainable consumption, reducing food waste and upgrading infrastructure to be more sustainable. Furthermore, the SDG advocate for increased access to telecommunications services and supporting research and development of technology.

Finally, the SDG also include goals on the promotion of peace, political freedoms and justice in societies. Targets listed include the reduction of violence, elimination of trafficking and modern slavery, providing birth registration for all, reducing gun trafficking, reducing corruption and promoting accountability and transparency of government bodies.

Nations had an opportunity to vote on whether or not they would adopt these goals on Sept. 25, 2015. To support these goals, individuals should advocate for themselves and contact their legislators.

The full list can be found here. If these are to be enacted, governments would have from January 2016 to start working to make great changes for the world by 2030.

Priscilla McCelvey

Sources: The Guardian, U.N.
Photo: Flickr