The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted by 189 nations during the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. Eight MDGs were developed which responded to the world’s main development challenges.
The goals ranged from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.
They have so far galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. The UN is also working with governments, civil society and other partners to build on the momentum generated by the MDGs and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.
The MDGs aimed to measure development in eight categories, using 60 separate indicators. The final two goals were aimed more at developed countries, aiming to monitor things such as carbon dioxide emissions, development aid donations and fair trade rules.
Following the success of the eight MDGs, they have since ‘developed’ into seventeen global goals for sustainable development
The Global Goals for Sustainable Development
The Millennium Development Goals – Progress to 2015 (selected)
The infographics below provide the headlines….
And some further MDG achievements….
- The proportion of undernourished people in developed regions halved between 1990 and 2015.
- In 1990, nearly half of the population in the developing regions lived on less than $1.25 a day. This rate dropped to 14 per cent in 2015.
- The average proportion of women in parliament has doubled
- The net loss of forests has reduced from an average of 8.3 million hectares annually in the 1990s to an average of 5.2 million hectares annually between 2000 and 2010.
Remaining Development Goals (selected)
- At the global level more than 800 million people are still living in extreme poverty
- Globally, an estimated 795 people are malnourished
- Globally, 300 million workers lived below the $1.25 a day poverty line in 2015.
- The proportion of the working-age population that is employed – has fallen from 62 per cent in 1991 to 60 per cent in 2015.
- In countries affected by conflict, the proportion of out-of-school children increased from 30 per cent in 1999 to 36 per cent in 2012.
- Globally, about three quarters of working-age men participate in the labour force, compared to half of working-age women.
- Women continue to experience significant gaps in terms of poverty, labour market and wages, as well as participation in private and public decision-making
- Between 1990 and 2012, global emissions of carbon dioxide increased by over 50 per cent.
The map below shows the regions where most and least progress was made over the 15 years of the Millennium Development Goals.
Some strengths of the MDGs as indicators of development
- Much broader range of indicators (60) – more validity! – Good for professional development workers!
- Includes the developed nations (these also have targets – 7 and 8 especially)
- NB – These have now become the ‘sustainable development goals’.
Some limitations of the MDGs as indicators of development
- Not very ambitious – halving poverty by 2015, given up on the idea of ‘economic growth’.
- Problems with some indicators – e.g. ‘finishing primary school’ doesn’t tell us about quality of education or how many days actually spent in school.
- Do the MDGs lack ambition?
The main source used to write this post was the United Nations ‘Millennium Development Goals Progress Page’.
United Nations: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015