Millennium Development Goals [MDGs]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 1, 2023, 15:02

Leaders of 189 countries agreed upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2000 at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Until 2015, the international community would try to achieve these goals and end global poverty for the next eight years.

What Are The Millennium Development Goals?

The idea of an international strategy against poverty originated after the Second World War. In the early 1990s, several ideas were developed to combat poverty.

However, it wasn't until September 2000 that the goals became a reality. At this Millennium Summit of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, leaders of 189 countries adopted the Millennium Declaration to meet the objectives by 2015.

The Millennium Development Goals transform the United Nations (UN) goals from a purely humanitarian to an economic and social agenda.

8 Millennium Development Goals

The official English names of the 8 Millennium Development Goals are:

  1. eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. achieve universal primary education
  3. promote gender equality and empower women
  4. improve maternal health
  5. reduce child mortality
  6. ensure environmental sustainability
  7. combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  8. develop a global partnership for development

The MDGs are part of a larger framework of development priorities called "sustainable development", which aims to promote economic growth while preserving the environment.

With the development of new targets and timetables, poverty will no longer be eradicated by 2015, receiving less attention than food security, education, and health. The United Nations (UN) has developed a coherent development and poverty reduction agenda.

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Millennium Development Goals - Goals and Targets

The goals set out both economic and social targets for what should be achieved between 2015 and 2025.

These include certain goals and targets as set out below -

  1. Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Adequate and inclusive education
  3. Improved reproductive health, with the elimination of female genital mutilation, induced abortion, and child marriage
  4. Universal access to reproductive health services
  5. Reduction of maternal mortality
  6. Reduced child mortality

Millennium Development Goals Needs

The Millennium Development Goals were developed in response to the economic and social disparities between the richest and poorest countries and people.

The wealthiest 20 per cent of the world population earns 85% of its income, while the poorest 20 per cent live on 1.4%. This growing disparity between rich and poor is extremely serious as it perpetuates poverty, prevents development, and threatens peace.

There is also a strong correlation between poverty and other human rights violations, such as torture, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial executions, violence against women and girls (including female infanticide), child labour, and forced labour.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have arguably been among the most successful international development goals. The MDGs have been at the heart of many countries' policies and have served as a catalyst for expanding the global foreign aid system. They have increased cooperation within and between nations and promoted effective policies in many ways.

Many people have seen this as an example of how successful aid can bring change to impoverished countries. However, if the goal is to rid of poverty globally, it has not been fully achieved yet.

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FAQs on Millennium Development Goals

Q1. What are the 8 Millennium Development Goals?

The 8 Millennium Development Goals are - to reduce poverty, hunger, and disease; achieve universal primary education, reduce child mortality rates; promote gender equality and empower women; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases and environmental degradation and expand access to safe water.

Q2. What are the differences between Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals?

Sustainable Development Goals are the result of Agenda 2063 which was developed as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals have replaced the Millennium Development Goals and focus on achieving sustainable development rather than reducing poverty.

Q3. What is the UN's role in Millennium Development Goals?

The Millennium Development Goals are a collective responsibility and everybody has to contribute. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was instrumental in making the goals a reality. It also monitors their implementation, collects and analyses information on progress made, provides technical assistance to developing countries for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal, and advocates for the reduction of poverty.

Q4. Is it feasible that the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved? How important are the Goals?

It is not possible to guarantee that the Millennium Development Goals will be met, but it is very important that they are met as they will herald a new era (MDG1). The economy of developing countries will benefit from the greater volume of foreign aid, which will be at a more advanced level from 2015 onwards coupled with the fact that they have already been spending more and more on MDG programs. The importance of the Goals is clear as they will help reduce poverty significantly and therefore improve the standard of living in developing countries.