Millennium Development Goals
Launched in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent an unprecedented global push to reduce poverty. However, in 2010 these goals seem largely distant, and if they are to be achieved in the next 5 years, by 2015, significant action remains to be taken. Broken down into 8 goals, the MDGs highlight areas of greatest need in the global process of development.
To read more about these goals and their desired outcomes, click here
MDG Summit 2010
In his speech to the UN General Assembly at the MDG "Summit" on September 22, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama said, "If the international community just keeps doing the same things the same way, we will miss many development goals. That is the truth. With ten years down and just five years before our development targets come due we must do better."Successes:
A number of successes were noted at the MDG Summit. Countries like Ghana and Malawi were heralded as examples. Their intentional focus on economic and social development shows how countries can make significant progress towards the goals, and perhaps exceed expectations.
Several of the goals, like Goal 6 on lessening the impact of HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria; Goals 4 and 5 on child and maternal health; Goal 2 on access to primary education have country specific success stories that were also presented throughout the summit.
The summit also held some concrete outcomes. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, announced the launch of a new Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. This $40 billion initiative calls for enhanced financing, strengthened policy and improved service delivery to ensure that all women and children get the prevention, treatment and care they need.
Similarly, the U.S. made proposals on how to "do better." President Obama announced his new Global Development Policy, which aims to restructure how U.S. federal agencies work in the field of global development. Some believe it will help foreign assistance become more effective and bolster efforts in Congress to reform U.S. aid programs.
Worth noting is a shift in both language and action by the international community, particularly among donor countries and multi-lateral development agencies, broadening the approach of aid for development. For better or worse, programs like HIV and AIDS specific clinics will shift into efforts focused more on comprehensive health system building and reform. Additionally, efforts for development enterprises like democracy building, government accountability and transparency, anti-corruption and security will be integrated into economic assistance programs. Not without fault, if these elements are implemented successfully achieving the MDGs will become markedly more plausible.Challenges:
However, sizable challenges still remain. Non-governmental organizations, such as Amnesty International, cite the need for justice and human rights to be incorporated into the efforts of the global community in seeking to achieve the MDGs. The risk being, if individuals are not empowered to know their rights and actively seek them, governments will not be held accountable for their role in the slow rate of progress.
Tackling corruption and dependency was highlighted by President Obama at the summit. He called for, "a new approach to development that unleashes transformational change" rather than reliance on assistance that only continues dependency.
In addition, the complex nature of 'development' must be acknowledged. The very definition of successes or failures of the MDGs are subjective. For instance, countries like India and China, have both, undeniably, made gargantuan economic gains since the launch of the MDG process.
However it is critical to look deeper than statistics like a nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or their base-line economic status to infer their level of development. Issues like the growth in disparities between rich and poor, the viability/ growth of the middle class, human rights conditions, access to government, access of essential services and access to a fair judicial process are all indicators of development that are often times overlooked.
No one purports this to be an easy process, but the world has changed drastically since the year 2000, and will continue to change into the future. For now, the reality remains that much more work is needed for the Millennium Development Goals to be met. We commit to follow the effects of different strategies and policies designed to relieve the burden of poverty off the least of these throughout the world, and with your help we can use faith to guide our continued presence in the public square on this critical issue.
Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Target A: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day.
Target B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.
Target C: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Target A: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Target A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all level of education no later than 2015.
Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Target A: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Target A: Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio.
Target B: Achieve universal access to reproductive health.
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
Target A: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Target B: Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it.
Target C: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and major diseases.
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Target A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources.
Target B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2015, a significant reduction in the rate of loss.
Target C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Target D: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Target A: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.
Target B: Address the special needs of least developed countries.
Target C: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and Small Island Developing States.
Target D: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries.
Target E: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.
Target F: In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.
Find out more about the outcomes of the MDG Summit: United NationsONE.org
What can you do?Sign up
to join the UN Millennium campaign. Resources
ELCA-Episcopal study guide
"God's Mission in the World: An Ecumenical Christian Study Guide on Global Poverty and the Millennium Development Goals".Summary
of Informal Interactive Hearings of the General Assembly with Non-governmental organizations, Civil society organizations and the Private sector that took place at the United Nations Headquarters, New York 14-15 June 2010 to
provide input to the preparatory process for the MDGs summit.