Information and stories on Millennium Development Goals

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

From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals
The final report of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) says it has been the most successful anti-poverty effort in history. But despite significant gains, there are many global poverty issues that still need to be addressed. These include sanitation, gender equality, maternal and children’s health, and access to family planning, among others.

After 15 years, the transition from MDGs to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) begins. The new goals will be adopted this September at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, which will provide a guideline for policy and funding for the next 15 years. There are set to be 17 goals and 169 indicators to measure the progress of these goals.

Among the proposed goals are the following:

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
  • Life Below Water
  • Life on Land
  • Peace and Justice, Strong Institutions
  • Partnerships for the Goals

The goals were conceived through a collaboration of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Development Group (UNDG), which undertook an unprecedented global conversation among a diverse group of stakeholders over the last three years. Stakeholders included women, young people, people with disabilities, the private sector and all levels of government.

For example, the UN’s online My World Survey, which asked participants to rank their six highest priority issues, gathered the ranked priorities for the future of 7.3 million people.

In addition, the UNDG collected the perspectives from over one million people on “the world we want,” eliciting 88 national consultations and input on 11 thematic dialogues.

“As member states consult on the shape and content of a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) beyond 2015, it is hoped that the opportunity to listen to these voices will contribute to reaching consensus on what is needed to move towards a common sustainable future,” states the World We Want website.

Partnerships will be key to realizing the proposed goals. Some of the important players that will assist in partnerships and collaboration between different entities are the Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, which will work with public and private sectors. The U.S. Agency for International Development will work with corporations, foundations, NGOs and others in developing countries through the Global Development Alliance.

Looking ahead, the need to work together across stakeholder groups is paramount. “World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity this year to shift the world onto a path of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development,” said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. And the message from the global conversation was clear: People want to be involved in the process of accomplishing these goals and to hold governments and businesses accountable for their promises and commitments.

Paula Acevedo

Sources: Millennium Development Goals Final Report, Devex, United Nations Development Programme
Photo: Flickr

The Millennium Development Goals Deadline Has Arrived
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) laid out eight specific targets to reduce extreme poverty and improve the living conditions of billions of people worldwide, from 2000-2015. The anticipated deadline has arrived and the results are positive, with a final report calling this “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history.”

Since 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than half, falling from 1.9 billion to 836 million. In addition, according to the report the proportion of undernourished people in developing regions fell by almost half, from 23.3 percent in 1990-1992 to 12.9 percent in 2014-2016.

Below are more updated figures of the success of the MDGs:

  • Water: The target was met of halving the proportion of people who lack access to improved sources of water. Since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to better water sources.
  • Mortality Rate: The under-five mortality rate has declined by more than half, from 12.7 million to less than 6 million and maternal mortality is down 45 percent worldwide.
  • Diseases: New HIV infections decreased by about 40 percent, from 2000 to 2013. In the same time period, tuberculosis prevention, treatment, and diagnosis solutions have saved the lives of 37 million. Since 2000, 6.2 million deaths of mostly children under 5 were prevented from malaria.
  • Education: The primary school enrollment rate in the developing regions has reached 91 percent with the number of children out of school dropping from 100 million to an estimated 57 million. There are also many more girls going to school compared to 15 years ago with an estimated two-thirds of developing countries closing the gender gap in education.

Despite significant gains, there are still issues to be addressed. The report indicates that gender equality, maternal health and extreme poverty and hunger remain problems in the effort to improve lives across the world.

Coming up this month, the global community will convene at the United Nations for a summit to establish a new development agenda and to adopt a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will provide a blueprint for policy and funding for the next 15 years.

Paula Acevedo

Sources:  United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Foundation Blog,
Photo: Flickr

Education and the Sustainable Development Goals
Long idolized were the Millennium Development Goals, a set of eight targets created and adopted by the United Nations in 2000. Central to their aim was the eradication of global poverty by improving maternal health and access to clean water, food and education while reducing the number of people living on under $1.25 a day across the developing world.

However, the days of the Millennium Development Goals are over. They expired this year after 15 years mixed with success and failure. A new set of global development goals is now on the horizon: the Sustainable Development Goals. Once again, there will be a specific goal tailored to improve equal education access for all. But before delving into how that goal is currently shaping up, it is worth examining how education fared with the Millennium Development Goals.

Goal two of The Millennium Development Goals aimed to achieve universal primary education. The goal only had one target: “ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.”

Unfortunately, this target was not met. On the bright side, the number of children globally that now attend primary school has risen dramatically since 1990. Enrollment in the developing world has risen to 91 percent, but the goal was for universal primary education, meaning all children everywhere. There is also still a fairly large gender gap in some areas. Of the 57 million kids out of school, 33 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa and 55 percent of those 33 million children are girls.

So where are the Sustainable Development Goals heading in terms of education development in the next 15 years? First off, education gets another specific goal for itself. The target this time is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” not all that different from the Millennium Development Goal before it.

The Sustainable Development Goals’ “vision is to transform lives through education, recognizing the important role of education as a main driver of development.” Looking to continue with the progress created by the Millennium Development Goals, goal four of the Sustainable Development Goals will look to expand access to all by providing 12 years of free, publicly-funded, high quality equal education. Nine of these years will be compulsory.

Particular emphasis is put on the quality of education going forward. By increasing quality of education, the 100-year education gap between the developed and developing has the potential to be reduced. Another benefit of an improvement in the quality of education is that it will improve learning outcomes. How can this be done? By “strengthening inputs, processes and evaluation of outcomes and mechanisms to measure progress.”

Another facet to quality education is ensuring that the teachers are well trained, empowered, motivated and supported. This ensures a higher level of quality when it comes to education.

Often seen as a gateway out of poverty, education is an extremely important issue when it comes to development in the developing world. It will be interesting to track the evolution of the Sustainable Development Goals’ development toward a fully-fledged goal. Hopefully it can continue the inroads created by the Millennium Development Goals and improve education for the millions of children without it.

Gregory Baker

Sources: UNDP, UNESCO UN Millennium Goals, UN Sustainable Development,
Photo: Flickr

Sustainable Development Goals Build on Millennium Goals
In 2000, the United Nations set out to complete a long list of goals with the ultimate goal of ending global poverty. This year marks the expiration of the so-called Millennium Development Goals and the advent of the United Nations’ latest set of Sustainable Development Goals.

The United Nations set in motion eight core goals at the start of the new millennia, each with individualized target goals and ideal success rates. These broad goals were:

1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2) Achieve universal primary education
3) Promote gender equality and empower women
4) Reduce child mortality
5) Improve maternal health
6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7) Ensure environmental sustainability
8) Global partnership for development

Some of the specific rates of success targeted under individual goals include: halving the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day and the number of people suffering from hunger, eliminating gender disparity in education, reducing child mortality by two-thirds and stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. These targets were supposed to have been met by 2015.

While great strides have been made in the last decade and a half, the United Nations was not 100 percent successful in reaching their goals. With the 2000 set of goals expiring, a new set of updated goals was drafted to continue their focus effort toward ending global poverty.

The Sustainable Development Goals of 2015 build upon the foundation laid by the Millennium Development Goals of 2000 and “seek to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs, and respond to new challenges,” according to the proposal statement from the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

The 2015 set of goals expands and goes beyond the original goals, addressing an updated list of challenges faced by people of developing nations. The new set of goals includes:

1) End poverty in all forms everywhere
2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
3) Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages
4) Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation
7) Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
10) Reduce inequality within and among countries
11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15) Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
16) Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

The new and expanded list retains many of the original target goals of the Millennium Development Goals, including ending global poverty (established as living on less than $1.25 a day), ending global hunger, expanding education and enhancing women’s rights, as well as encouraging a focus on sustainable development options.

As with the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations hopes to meet their Sustainable Development Goals in fifteen years, by the year 2030.

– Gina Lehner

Sources: UN, Sustainable Development
Photo: Daily Development

Water and sanitation. Proper access to both is an issue that bedevils developing countries all over the world, and Kenya is no different. A new water-dispensing service is trying to change that.

Water has always been a huge issue in development work. Its importance is paramount to life itself – without water, humans cannot survive. While millions of people in the developing world do have access to water, often times it is not safe for drinking. This causes diseases to spread and death to follow.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set out targets for clean drinking water. Goal 7, Target 7.C’s aim was to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.” This goal was met five years ahead of schedule – between 1990 and 2012, 2.3 billion more people gained access to safe drinking water. However, some have claimed that Target 7.C set the bar too low in terms of achievement.

A major issue connected to clean drinking water is access to proper sanitation for all. While the clean drinking water MDG has been met, sanitation has not done as well. One billion people still openly defecate all around the world, for lack of a better option. This then affects drinking water – it is a vicious cycle.

Part of the problem with supplying clean drinking water to the world’s population is that it is growing, making the task even harder. The population of Nairobi in 1963 was 300,000. Now, it is home to 4.2 million, and this figure is expected to grow to 14 million by 2050. If the world cannot supply its current population with clean drinking water, then how will it possibly keep up with the globe’s rapidly expanding populace?

The answer might begin with four new water dispensers that have been installed in Nairobi’s slums, which might help to change Kenya’s water infrastructure. They operate like vending machines – put money in, and water is dispensed out. This has reduced both the cost of water for slum residents as well as the distance needed to travel to acquire it. The water is purer and cleaner than other options – before the machines were installed, many residents got their water from sellers that dragged jerry cans on carts through the streets. Without water pipes in the slums, this was the only option.

The water-dispensing machines present a cheaper and cleaner option than the street vendors. It is a win-win situation for all involved – the government, who has put the machines in place, makes money on the water, and the citizens pay cheaper prices. Before, people would venture to neighborhoods with water pipes and break them to siphon off water, essentially stealing water from the government.

Now, prices are six times cheaper than they were before. Pre-dispensing machine, water prices hovered around three shillings, the equivalent of around three pennies in the U.S. Now, prices have been reduced to half a shilling. This might not seem like much, but to some that are unemployed or only make US$2 a day, the reduction is huge.

The payment system is done through mobile payments or water smart cards that residents can load money on. The machines are also operated by local residents who earn up to 40 percent of the profits from the machines as an incentive to keep them running and prevent vandalism. If Nairobi can continue to set an example for what these machines can do, they might go much further than a few slums in Kenya’s capitol.

– Gregory Baker

Sources: The Guardian, All Africa, UN
Photo: Stratfor

Established in 2000, one of the Millennium Development Goals was to increase the availability of clean drinking water. More specifically, the United Nations aimed to reduce the number of people without access to safe drinking water in half. In 2010, this goal was met. In fact, it was the first Millennium Development Goal to be met.

Despite these advancements, over 750 million people lack access to clean drinking water even today. That’s almost two and a half times the population of the United States without safe water. That’s about 1 in 9 people in total.

This is what Italian designer Gabriele Diamanti wanted to change with the Eliodomestico, a solar powered ceramic water purifier. The Eliodomestico boils water to separate the unwanted elements from the clean drinking water.

Diamanti wanted to make something simple and inexpensive, using materials found in the area so that a local craftsman could put it together. In the end, Diamanti built the Eliodomestico to work like “an upside-down coffee percolator”.

The Elliodomestico is made of terracotta, anodized zinc and recycled plastic. It consists of two ceramic containers, one atop the other. Salt water is poured into the top container, which then gets heated by the sun and converted to steam. The increase in pressure forces the steam to travel through a tube to the lower container where it re-condenses. The clean drinking water gathers at the bottom of the lower container.

The Eliodomestico collects about 5 liters of clean drinking water per day, and it only costs $50 with no operating costs. In addition, the bottom container can be easily removed and transported on the head of the user, a common practice in developing countries.

Because the Eliodomestico doesn’t use electricity or filters, it is easier to maintain and more efficient than other solar water purifiers. Most solar powered water filters use a solar panel, which increases the cost and the style-factor, but not the efficiency. The Eliodomestico is efficient, cheap and easy to use and maintain, making it a simple solution to a wide spread problem.

Hannah Resnick

Sources: Gabriele Diamanti, Giz Mag, Global Citizen, Inhabit, UN Millennium Project,
Photo: Gabriele Diamanti


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) progress, endorsed exactly fifteen years ago in 2000, was recently reflected upon in July 2015. This substantial success set a significant precedent for the upcoming United Nations summit at the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly in New York this September.

The MDGs proved the power behind global action. This reassured the United Nations that this methodology demonstrates success and shows encouraging results. The United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations monitored more than 28 countries during the fifteen years to determine the results of eight MDGs, the first of which was a reduction in global poverty.

The results were highly satisfying. The United Nations noted that the MDGs showed shortcomings in its inability to reach the most vulnerable and did little to improve the conditions of the “ultra poor,” but the U.N. Secretary General firmly stated that these “successes should be celebrated [by] our global community,” while staying “keenly aware of where we have come short.”

The success of these developing countries was a direct consequence of “targeted interventions, sound strategies, adequate resources, and political will.” While the U.N. Secretary General’s special adviser, Jeffery Sachs, states that the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposal will be “the greatest, most complicated challenge humanity has ever faced” due to a “juggernaut of a world economy is pressing against the finite limits of the planet,” the MDGs are a shining beacon of hopeful resolve.

The global problems of the world are a global and generational responsibility that Sachs believes “requires the best intellects around the world to help solve [these] problems and design new, more sustainable systems.” Innovation is key. Sachs states that the world needs to reimagine its vision for the future in order to make the improvements envisioned in the SDGs to be proposed in September.

Millennium to Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations clearly visualizes a future that, as Ban states, “strives to reflect these lessons [learned from the MDGs], build on the successes and put all countries together, firmly, on track towards a more prosperous, sustainable, and equitable world.” The SDGs aim to take a working methodology, global action and universal cooperation to see extreme poverty eliminated by 2030.

– Felicia L. Warren

Sources: UN 1, UN 2, UN 3, The Guardian
Photo: The Guardian