In 2000, 187 countries came together at the United Nations to create the Millennium Development Goals. These were designed to eliminate extreme poverty and create a more equitable world by 2015.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are:
MDG1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
MDG2: Achieve universal primary education
MDG3: Promote gender equality and empower women
MDG4: Reduce child mortality
MDG5: Improve maternal health
MDG6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other disease
MDG7: Ensure environmental sustainability
MDG8: Develop a global partnership for development
Why do the MDGs matter?
The MDGs have become the world’s common set of development priorities. The credibility of the international development system – and the commitments that have been made to support its work – hinges on their realization by 2015. Official Development Assistance (ODA) from donor countries, including Canada, help fund these goals.
Are we close to meeting the goals?
Advances have been made in achieving the MDGs, especially when government leadership and good domestic policies are combined with financial and technical support.
* Significantly fewer people are living on less than US$1 a day.
* Eliminating school fees has contributed to increased primary school enrolment.
* Two out of three developing countries have achieved gender parity in primary school.
* Improvements in the provision of vaccinations have reduced child mortality.
What’s the problem?
Progress toward the MDGs remains off-track in many countries, particularly in large parts of Africa where some states are fragile and emerging from conflict. Progress appears most severely off-track on MDG5 (maternal health). The good news is that the MDGs remain achievable in Africa by 2015 with concerted action. African governments are doing their part. This effort now needs to be matched with scaled-up international support.
What’s the solution?
The world needs to fulfill commitments to provide the promised ODA to achieve the MDGs. Countries continue to reaffirm their commitment to the UN target of directing 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to ODA. However in 2008, Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members spent an average of just 0.47% of their GNI on ODA.
That same year, Canada was the ninth largest donor but achieved just 0.32% of GNI and ranked 16 out of 22 countries.