A Brief History of Millennium Development Goals
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Achieve universal primary education
Promote gender equality and empower women
Reduce child mortality
Improve maternal health
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Ensure environmental sustainability
Develop a global partnership for development
In September 2000, 189 Heads of State and Government of the UN General Assembly adopted the Millennium Declaration, making a firm commitment to free all people from the "abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty", to "free the entire human race from want" and to make "the right to development a reality for everyone."
The Declaration establishes the fundamental development goals that the international community intends to achieve by 2015, with the ultimate aim of making the world a more secure, prosperous, and equitable place for all. The main themes of the Declaration include Peace, security and disarmament, Development and poverty eradication, Protecting our common environment, Human rights, democracy and good governance, Protecting the vulnerable, Meeting the special needs of Africa and Strengthening the United Nations.
Some of the most important objectives of the Declaration have been underlined/summarised in the "Eight Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs), which are subdivided into a number of sub-goals accompanied by a series of indicators to measure their achievement. In order to achieve them, the countries involved are committed to the formation of a new global partnership aimed at reducing poverty in its many dimensions.
As noted in several United Nations reports, despite the progress made to date we are still a long way from witnessing a positive shift in the fight against poverty, most notably in Africa. Five years after the commitments were made (between 14th and 16th September 2005), world leaders met again to evaluate the progress made towards the MDGs. This meeting, referred to as the UN Millennium Review Meeting, resulted in the formulation of a concrete plan of action.
Among the most important recommendations, leaders agreed that by 2006 each country should establish a comprehensive national development strategy to achieve the MDGs, to be submitted to international scrutiny. Ten years after the Millennium Declaration, from 20th to 22nd September 2010, world leaders gathered once again in New York for the conference officially known as the High Level Plenary Assembly General, to review the progress made and, above all, to establish new strategies and concrete programmes to facilitate the achievement of the MDGs by 2015.
Those present at the meeting – including Heads of State and Government, representatives of organised civil society, foundations and the private sector – agreed on a joint action plan to facilitate the achievement of all of the MDGs by the deadline, which was elaborated with particular attention to the challenges posed by the global economic crisis, ongoing conflict and rising levels of inequality. The conference placed particular emphasis on gender equality in education, basic services, health care, and decision-making at all levels. World leaders stressed the ongoing dependence of the MDGs upon female empowerment, with such empowerment held to be indispensable for equal development and for greater democratic quality, due to the experience and capabilities that can be brought to the table by empowered women. World leaders also stressed that the achievement of the objectives would require economic growth that was more stable, sustainable, inclusive and fair, allowing everyone to benefit from the opportunities it provides.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of greatest concern and is most frequently mentioned in institutional reports due to the persistence of food insecurity, the high rates of maternal mortality, and the large numbers of people who continue to live in slums.
Asia, on the other hand, is seen to have made the greatest progress since 2000. Yet even here hundreds of millions of people continue to live in extreme poverty and internal disparities persist, particularly in Southern Asia.
In Latin America and the transition economies of the Middle East and North Africa, progress has been slow and has remained limited to certain objectives, while persisting inequalities continue to undermine progress.
Official UN site for the MDG indicators
the EU site on the MDGs
Global Call Against Poverty
Coalizione Italiana Contro la Povertà – Italian Coalition Against Poverty
Campaign for the Millennium