What are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and why are they important?
At the close of the 20th century, governments around the world agreed on a set of common goals for developing countries, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals pave the way forward, from this moment to the year 2015, to cut world poverty by half. With the accomplishment of these goals, billions more people can benefit from the global economy. Tens of millions of lives can be saved.
The MDGs are time-bound and targeted – they have a set beginning and end date, and they have set outcomes and achievements – in order to tackle extreme poverty in its many dimensions: income poverty, hunger, disease, inadequate shelter, and exclusion. At the same time, the goals have been created to promote gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are based on the rights of every person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security as pledged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Millennium Declaration.
The goals also provide a framework for the entire United Nations system to work with developing countries together toward a common end – making sure that globalization becomes a positive force for all of the world's people.
For the billion-plus people still living in extreme poverty, the MDGs are a life-and-death issue. These Goals are the means to a healthy, productive life.
How will the world look in 2015 if the Goals are achieved?
Compared with the year 2000, when the MDGs were inaugurated, more than 500 million people will be lifted out of extreme poverty. More than 300 million will no longer suffer from hunger. There will be dramatic progress in children’s health. Rather than dying before reaching their fifth birthdays, 30 million children will live. And the lives of two million mothers will be saved.
There’s more: achieving the Goals will mean 350 million more people will have safe drinking water and 650 million more people live with the benefits of basic sanitation, allowing them to lead healthier and more dignified lives. Hundreds of millions more women and girls will go to school, have access to economic and political opportunity, and have greater security and safety.
Behind these large numbers are the lives and hopes of people seeking new opportunities to end the burden of grinding poverty and to contribute to economic growth and renewal in their respective countries.
In this spirit, UNDP has developed the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) to assist countries in maintaining momentum of MDG progress in the next five years. The MAF was produced to coincide with the MDG Summit on 20-22 September 2010. It provides a systematic way of identifying bottlenecks and possible high-impact solutions, leading to a concrete plan of action with coordinated roles for the government and all its development partners for achieving the country’s MDG priorities. It is one component of UNDP’s MDG Breakthrough Strategy, and has benefited from the technical guidance of other UN agencies, to ensure that resources are directed to MDG acceleration from now till 2015.
MDG Fast Facts, June 2010
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