Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

The disappointing balance of development in the 1980s led to the calling, in the early 1990s, of a number of international conferences in the UN framework that dealt with various aspects of social and ecological development one such conference was the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development. Among other things, the conference adopted a 10-point Declaration on Social Development that later formed the basis of the MDGs. At the end of the decade, there was a large measure of consensus on numerous development related issues and it was this that paved the way for the adoption of the Millennium Declaration. In particular, the conferences served to establish a broad consensus on a common goal system as well as on strategic approaches for translating it into practice.

In September 2000, the Millennium Declaration was adopted at the Millennium Summit, held in the framework of the 55th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). The summit was attended by the heads of state or government of nearly all UN member states. In the wake of the Millennium Summit, a joint working group was constituted with representatives from the UN, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other international organisations. It extracted 08 Goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators. Most of the goals are set to be implemented by 2015. In September 2001, the MDGs were approved by the 56th UN General Assembly. The international community was thus in possession of a common goal system that has been agreed upon by all relevant actors and that is both measurable and set to be implemented by a fixed date.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and targets come from the Millennium Declaration, signed by 189 countries, including 147 heads of State and Government, in Setember 2000. The eight (8) Goals as under:

  • Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
  • Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
  • Goal 3:Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
  • Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality
  • Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
  • Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB
  • Goal 7:Ensure Environmental Sustainability
  • Goal 8:Develop Global Partnership for Development

Eighteen (18) targets were set as quantitative benchmarks for attaining the goals. The United Nations Development Group (UNDG) in its 2nd Guidance note (endorsed in 2003) on ‘Country Reporting on the Millennium Development Goals’ provided a framework of 53 indicators (48basic + 5 alternative) which are categorized according to targets, for measuring the progress towards individual targets.
Subsequently the targets and indicators under the 8 goals have been increased to 21 and 60 respectively. The objectives are specified in many different ways.
Some objectives are set out in proportional terms:

  • reducing the proportion of people who live in poverty or hunger by one-half
  • reducing child mortality rates by two-thirds
  • reducing maternal mortality rates by three-fourths
  • or reducing the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities by one-half.

Other objectives loss in bio-diversity or improve the lives of slum-dwellers are set out in terms of completion: universal primary education; gender equality in school education; productive employment with decent work for all; or universal access to reproductive health. Yet other objectives are set out as statements of intentions: reduce loss in bio-diversity or improve the lives of slum-dwellers.