The Millennium Development Goals, and how countries are working to achieve them
In 2000, international leaders, including President Clinton and Canadian Prime Minister Chrétien, gathered for the UN Millennium Summit to combat global poverty. They acknowledged that in an age of unprecedented prosperity, there can be no excuse for the ongoing plague of abject poverty. These "Millennium Development Goals," endorsed by all 191 members of the United Nations, provide a clear plan to alleviate poverty, hunger, and disease by 2015.
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) Develop a global partnership for development.
In endorsing the Development Goals, the leaders of the world proclaimed: "We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected. We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want."
Five years out from the 2015 target date, the United Nations’ 2010 MDG report states, “Many countries are moving forward, including some of the poorest, demonstrating that setting bold, collective goals in the fight against poverty yields results.” Among the positive developments towards achieving the MDGs include the overall poverty rate, expected to fall to 15 per cent by 2015 – half the number in 1990 – and the number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy increasing tenfold, from 400,000 to 4 million.
However, the report goes on to observe that “unmet commitments, inadequate resources, lack of focus and accountability, and insufficient dedication to sustainable development have created shortfalls in many areas.” The report cites the estimated 1.4 billion people were still living in extreme poverty in 2005, and “only about half of the developing world’s population…using improved sanitation.”