Decoding the Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Goals
What are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and how far are we from reaching them?

The Millennium Development Goals are a blueprint to end global poverty and include eight international development goals. All 189 United Nations agreed to achieve the eight goals by 2015. Here is a breakdown of the eight goals:

1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

The target is to halve the population living in extreme poverty. We have made a huge progress toward this goal to end extreme poverty. In 2010, about 700 million fewer people lived in extreme poverty than in 1990. Despite major progress, one in eight still go to bed hungry.

2. To achieve universal primary education.

The target is to ensure that children everywhere, boys and girls, can complete full courses of primary schooling. In 2011, 57 million were out of school, which is lower than the 102 million of school in 2000. The highest rates of illiteracy occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and more effort needs to be focused on this region to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

3. To promote gender equality and empower women.

The goal is to empower women and promote gender equality. Forty out of 100 wage-earning job are held by women. In North Africa, the percentage of women in the parliament grew significantly from three percent to 17.6 percent from 2000 to 2013. However, the world average share of women in national parliament was only just over 20 percent.

4. To reduce child mortality. 

The goal is to reduce by two-thirds, the under 5-years-old morality rate, from 93 of every 1000 to 31 of every 1000 by the year of 2015. In Sub-Sarah Africa, major progress has been achieved. The under 5-years-old morality rate drops from 178 of every 1000 to 109. Even though we achieve huge success, we need to double the effort to meet the requirement.

5. To improve maternal health.

The goal is to reduce by three-fourths the maternal mortality ratio and ensure universal health care for pregnant women. In Eastern Asia, North Africa and Southern Asia, the maternal mortality has dropped by two-thirds. Even though the maternal mortality ratio in Sub-Africa dropped from 850 in 1990 to 500 in 2010, there is still big room to improve.

6. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

There are good news in the battle against HIV/AIDS and malaria. In 2011, 230,000 fewer children under age 15 were infected with HIV than in 2001. More than two thirds of the new infected are in Sub-Saharan Africa. There is still lack of knowledge of HIV/AIDS and necessary condom use at last high-risk sex.

7. To ensure environment sustainability.

The target is to integrate the principles of sustainable development into nations’ polices.  However, the CO2 emissions have increased, and marine fish stock has been exploited and more species are facing extinction.

8. To develop a global partnership for development.

The developed countries have the obligation to help less developed countries to reach environment sustainability by sharing research information and providing modern infrastructure.

There is huge success along the way, but it is far from meeting the targets. There is still 1.52 years to go until 2015 and we should keep up our efforts.

– Jing Xu


Sources: UNDP, WHO, UN Millennium Project
Photo: The Road to the Horizon