UN Millennium Goals Can Be Met

Sept. 23, 2010, 3:34 p.m.

Boys at a school in Mumbai, India The Millennium Development Goals aim to cut poverty and improve health and access to education

The Millennium Development Goals can still be met if enough work is done, the UN secretary general has said.

Ban Ki-moon told world leaders, meeting in New York over three days to review the targets, that they had already achieved much to be proud of.

But he said "the clock is ticking" and there was much more to do if the goals were to be met by the 2015 deadline.

Created in 2000, the eight goals aim to reduce poverty and hunger and improve health standards around the world.

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

Uneven progress of MDGs

Mr Ban acknowledged that there was "scepticism" that the targets could be met, amid a global economic downturn that is putting pressure on aid budgets in rich countries and slowing growth in poorer ones.

The UN itself concedes that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to meet some of the targets.

But Mr Ban insisted the work must go on.

"Being true [to the Millennium Development Goals] means supporting the vulnerable despite the economic crisis," he told the summit.

"We should not balance budgets on the backs of the poor. We must not draw back from official developmental assistance, a lifeline of billions for billions."




The Millennium Development Goals aim to tackle global poverty and improve living standards for developing countries. We've taken key indicators, broken down by UN-defined regions as shown here, and set the 2015 target as a baseline to reveal the true picture of how each region is faring.
Developing nations are on track to meet the poverty target largely because of progress in China. But in Sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia the proportion of hungry people has increased. Globally, the number of hungry people rose from 842 million in 1990-92 to 1.02 billion people in 2009.
While countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have seen great improvements by abolishing school fees and offering free school lunches, the target is unlikely to be met. The drop-out rate is high, and although there has been some investment in teachers and classrooms, it is not enough.
Gender gaps in education have narrowed, but remain high at university (tertiary) level in some developing countries because of poverty. Employment for women has improved but there are still many more women than men in low-paid jobs. There have been small gains for women in political power.
Child deaths are falling but at the current rate are well short of the two-thirds target. They more than halved in Northern Africa, Asia,Latin America and the Caribbean but remain high in parts of Southern Asia. In Sub-Saharan Africa the absolute number of children who have died actually increased.
Although in all regions there are advances in providing pregnant women with antenatal care, the maternal mortality rate is unacceptably high, with progress well short of the decline needed to meet the target. Those at most risk are adolescent girls, yet funding on family planning is falling behind.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has stabilised in most regions, but new infections are rising in some areas and antiretroviral treatment has mushroomed. Global funding has helped control malaria but is still far short of what is needed. On current trends tuberculosis will have been halted and started to reverse.
The world will meet the drinking water target on current trends but half the population of developing regions still lacks basic sanitation. The 2010 target to slow decline in biodiversity has been missed. Improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers has been achieved but their actual numbers are rising.
Levels of aid continue to rise, but major donors are well below target. In terms of volume the USA, France, Germany, UK and Japan are the largest donors. G8 countries have failed to deliver on a promise to double aid to Africa. Debt burdens have been eased for developing countries.



"High-income countries have spent trillions of dollars on war and unfortunately they just haven't sufficiently invested in peace yet”

Professor Jeffrey Sachs Development economist and Goals architect

He said they had consistently failed to live up to their pledges on aid and dismissed suggestions that economic recession was affecting governments' capability to live up to their promises.

"High-income countries have spent trillions of dollars on war and unfortunately they just haven't sufficiently invested in peace yet," Professor Sachs said.

"I think it's not really a question of whether they have the money, it's a question of how they use it."

US President Barack Obama is due to address the summit at the UN's headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao are also attending.



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