Millennium Development Goals

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The United Nations is set up to deal with several sectors of society – government, civil, business, and education. In the United States, we are very familiar with the UN’s work with the government sector primarily through the General Assembly (with the government representatives from all 193 member countries) and the Security Council (of which the US is one of the five permanent members with 10 rotating members). However we are less familiar with the UN’s work with the civil sector or the business sector.

The civil sector work is accomplished through a whole collection of UN Agencies such as UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, and others. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) has as its mission, “To promote and support international cooperation, to achieve development for all, and assist governments in agenda-setting and decision-making on development issues at the global level”. This is a broad statement and for several years since the birth of the UN in 1945 did a generally decent job.

However it became apparent in the 1990’s that for the Mission to be successful, there needed to be goals set. These goals needed to be identifiable, attainable, measurable and targeted within a set time frame in order to report on progress. In the year 2000, all of the government representatives in the General Assembly agreed on what became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The number one goal was to eradicate poverty, but there were seven other general goals and each of these eight general goals had from one to five sub goals which were very specific.

Although these goals were approved by the General Assembly, the accomplishments of these goals were not funded by the governments. So the achievement of these goals had to be done through the massive number of Non Government Organizations (NGO’s) through the leadership provided by the UN Agencies dealing with civil society. NGO’s are organizations with a mission to “help make society better”. In the United States, we tend to think in terms of non-profit organizations but there is a difference. NGO’s have as a mission to help make society better. While some non-profits may have that as their mission, many do not. Often, an NGO will be international in scope, but not always. Some of the more common NGOs would be the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, the Doctors Without Borders, Rotary International, the Girl Scouts/Girl Guides, etc. But NGOs may also include think tanks and other organizations that are not attached to any government operations.

MDG Goals

The MDG goals, both general and specific, are as follows:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

    1. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day.

    2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

    3. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

  2. Achieve universal primary education

    1. Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

  3. Promote gender equality and empower women

    1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.

  4. Reduce child mortality

    1. Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015 the under-five mortality rate.

  5. Improve maternal health

    1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio.

    2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health.

  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases

    1. Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS

    2. Achieve by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it.

    3. Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

  7. Ensure environmental sustainability

    1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources

    2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss.

    3. Halve by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

    4. Achieve, by 2020, a significant improvement of the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.

  8. Develop a global partnership for development

    1. Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.

    2. Address the special needs of least developed countries.

    3. Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and Small Island developing States.

    4. Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries

    5. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.

    6. In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.

The first seven goals are targeting the poor in the Least Developed Countries. (The UN categorizes countries as Least Developed Countries, Developing Countries, and Most Developed Countries.) The eighth goal is targeting the partnership required with the Developing Countries and the Most Developed Countries. The year 1990 was used as a base for some of these statistics because at the time the MDGs were published, the 10-year census information universally had not been gathered.

Reducing Poverty

In the forward to the report “Reducing Poverty and Achieving the Millennium Development Goals” published by the UN Population Fund (UN FPA) it states: A bold and ambitious agenda was set forth in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to raise the quality of life for all individuals and promote human development. The goals represent our collective aspirations for a better life, and a minimum roadmap on how to get there.” In 2010, the new Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, established an Advocacy Group to support the Secretary-General in building political will and mobilizing global action for the benefit of the poor and most vulnerable, aiming for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 target date. The World Bank, on its home page says “The World Bank is committed to helping achieve the MDGs because, simply put, these goals are our goals.”

The United Nations publishes an annual report showing graphically as well as statistically (and narratively) the progress that has been made toward each of these goals. The Annual Report of the MDGs for 2013 can be found here.

Many of the goals have been attained in some of the regions. In a Huffington Post article, Hayley Richardson, Policy and Advocacy Officer at United Nations Association – UK, states that “In 1990, 47 percent (1.9 billion) of the total population of developing countries lived on under $1.25 a day. The world celebrated in 2010 when, five years ahead of the MDG deadline, the target to halve this percentage had been met and stood at 22 percent (1.2 billion). (This was a reprint from a chapter in “Global Development Goals: Leaving No One Behind”, a 150 page PDF report published by the UNA-UK.) However, even in these regions that have made these goals there are individual countries that have not. Asia, for example has shown great progress, but this is because of the economic rise of both India and China. Other countries, especially in Southeast Asia, have not done as well. As a region, Africa has done the poorest.

The seventh goal, also, has not been successful. This is why the MDGs are being extended to “2015 and beyond” and will now become known as the Sustainability Development Goals, or SDGs. Some of the other MDGs will also carry over as an SDG so that a goal, such as hunger, will now not only be attained by providing food, but will be attained by providing sustainable food.

The MDGs were a big experiment, and were generally successful. They were tremendously successful in that they showed what it took to set goals for global problem and then to attain them. It has been a learning experience that will hopefully be useful in the setting of the SDGs.

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Poverty

MDG 1: Poverty

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

1.A Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day

1.B Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

1.C Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

The number one problem when the MDGs were established was deemed to be Poverty. So it was put in the list as the number one.

From the UN MDG – Poverty web site:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

    1. Halve between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day.

      1. The target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half was met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline

      2. The global poverty rate at $1.25 a day fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate. 700 million fewer people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990. However at the global level, 1.2 billion people are still living in extreme poverty.

    2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

      1. Globally, 384 million workers lived below the $1.25 a day poverty line in 2011 – a reduction of 294 million since 2001

      2. The gender gap in employment persists with a 24.8 percentage point difference between men and women in the employment-to-population ratio in 2012.

    3. Halve between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

      1. The hunger reduction target is within reach by 2015

      2. Globally, about 870 million people are estimated to be undernourished

      3. More than 100 million children under age five are still undernourished and underweight

The following is from the Millennium Development Goals – 2013 (published by the United Nations)

Fast Facts

  • Poverty rates have been halved, and about 700 million fewer people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990

  • The economic and financial crisis has widened the global jobs gap ty 67 million people

  • One in eight people still go to bed hungry, despite major progress

  • Globally, nearly one in six children under age five are underweight; one in four are stunted

  • An estimated 7 per cent of children under age five worldwide are now overweight, another aspect of malnutrition; one quarter of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa

Goal 1.A – Halve number of people with income less than $1.25 a day

Goal 1.A: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day

Extreme poverty rates have fallen in every developing region, with one country, China leading the way. In China, extreme poverty dropped from 60 per cent in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2005 and 12 per cent in 2010. However poverty remains widespread in areas like sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. In Southern Asia, the poverty rates fell by an average of one percentage point annually – 51 per cent in 1990 and 30 per cent 20 years later in 2010. However the poverty level I sub-Saharan Africa only dropped a total of 8 per centage points during the same time frame – from 56% to 48%. Nearly half the people here are still mired in extreme poverty.

Around the world, extreme poverty is found in areas where poor health and lack of education deprive people of productive employment; environmental resources have been depleted or spoiled; and corruption, conflict and bad governance waste public resources and discourage private investment.

Goal 1.B – Full employment including women and young people

Goal 1.B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.

The slowing of economic growth spells continued job losses, with young people bearing the brunt of the crisis.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), unemployment has increased by 28 million since 2007, and an estimated 39 million people have dropped out of the labor market, leaving a 67 million jobs gap as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. Young people have borne the brunt of the crisis. Negative labor market trends for youth accounted for 41 per cent of the decline in the global employment-to-population ratio since 2007 due to rising unemployment and falling participation.

These figures underscore the urgent need to improve productivity, promote sustainable structural transformation and expand social protection systems to ensure basic social services for the poor and most vulnerable workers and their families.

Goal 1.C – Halve Hunger

Goal 1.C: Halve, between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

The target reduction  is within reach if recent slowdowns in progress can be reversed.

About one in eight people worldwide did not consume enough food on a regular basis to cover their minimum dietary energy requirements over the period 2010 to 2012. The vast majority of the chronically undernourished reside in developing countries. However the proportion of undernourished people in developing regions has decreased from 23.2 per cent in 1990 to 14.9 per cent in 2012.

Progress has been made in several of the regions, but Western Asia is the only region that has seen a rise in the prevalence of undernourishment from 1990 to 2012. Behind these regional disparities are vastly different levels of vulnerability and markedly different capacities to deal with economic shocks, such as food price increases and economic recessions.

Despite steady gains, one in four children around the world show signs of stunted growth. (Stunted growth is defined as inadequate length or height for their age, captures early chronic exposure to under nutrition. Analysis shows that children in the poorest households are more than twice as likely to be stunted as children from the richest households.

The number of people uprooted by conflict or persecution is at its highest level in 18 years. Most refugees, excluding Palestinian refugees, originate from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, the Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic (55 percent). Most of these refugees live in refugee camps where the food, health, and education is provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and served by NGOs. Developing regions carry the heaviest burden in hosting these uprooted refugees.

Education

MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Goal 2.A: Primary Schooling for all boys and all girls

Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

Fast Facts

The following facts are from The Millennium Development Goals Report – 2013 (published by the United Nations).

  • Literacy rates among adults and youths are on the rise and gender gaps are narrowing

  • New national data show the number of out-of-school children dropped from 102 million to 57 million from 20000 to 2011

  • Primary education enrollment in developing countries reached 90 per cent in 2010

  • Achieve universal primary education

    • Ensure that, by 2016, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling

      • Enrolment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999, which means more kids than ever are attending primary school.

      • In 2011, 57 million children of primary school age were out of school

      • Even as countries with the toughest challenges have made large strides, progress on primary school

      • Even as countries with the toughest challenges have made large strides, progress on primary school enrolment has slowed. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of out-of school children of primary age fell by only 3 million

      • Globally, 123 million youth (aged 15 to 24) lack basic reading and writing skills. 61 per cent of them are young women

      • Gender gaps in youth literacy rates are also narrowing. Globally, there were 95 literate young women for every 100 young men in 2010 compared with 90 women in 1990

Picture from UNDP – Millennium Development Goals – Education

Developing regions have made impressive strides in expanding access to primary education with an enrolment rate from 83 per cent in 2000 to 90 per cent in 2012. Even after 4 years of primary schooling, as many as 250 million children cannot read and write worldwide causing difficulties in further learning. Early school leaving remains persistent. About one in four children who enter first grade are likely to leave before reaching the last grade of primary school. (The same rate as in 2000.) Literacy rates are rising with the greatest rise in Northern Africa (from 68 to 89 per cent) and Southern Asia (from 60 to 81 per cent).

Poverty, gender and places of residence are key factors keeping children out of school. Children and adolescents from the poorest households are three times more likely to be out of school than children from the richest households. Even in the richest households, girls are more likely to be out of school than boys although this gap is narrowing.

Progress in reducing the number of out-of-school children has come to a standstill as international funds to basic education in 2011 fell for the first time since 2002.This stalled progress, combined with reductions in aid, has put the chances of meeting the 2015 target at risk.

With the “Let Us Learn” initiative, under guidance of UNICEF, 3,917 five-year-olds (60 per cent girls) were enrolled in school readiness programs, including 153 disabled children from the most disadvantaged regions of rural Bangladesh. This program was done in other countries also such as Afghanistan. UNICEF helped some 3.56 million children and adolescents gain access to formal and non-formal basic education. Successful programs were also executed in Cambodia, Brazil, Guatemala, United Republic of Tanzania, ...

Gender Equality

MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

Goal 3.A – Eliminate Gender disparity and education

3.A - Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015

The following is from the UN Millennium Development Goals web site

  • The world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but only 2 out of 130 countries have achieved that target at all levels of education

  • Globally, 40 out of every 100 wage-earning jobs in the non-agricultural sector were held by women in 2011. This is a significant improvement since 1990

  • In many countries, gender inequality persists and women continue to face discrimination in access to education, work and economic assets, and participation in government. For example, in every developing region, women tend to hold less secure jobs than men, with fewer social benefits

  • Violence against women continues to undermine efforts to reach all goals

  • Poverty is a major barrier to secondary education, especially among older girls

  • Women are largely relegated to more vulnerable forms of employment

Fast Facts

  • Steady progress has been made towards equal access of girls and boys to education, though disparities remain between regions and education levels

  • Globally, the share of women employed outside of agriculture rose to 40 per cent but rose to only 20 percent in Southern Asia, Western Asia, and Northern Africa

  • The global share of women in parliament continues to rise slowly and reached 20 per cent in 2012 – far short of gender parity, though an increase of one percentage point was seen during 2012

Disparities are greatest at the university level. In Southern Asia, only 77 girls per 100 boys are enrolled in tertiary education. The situation is most extreme in sub-Saharan Africa, where the gender gap in enrolment has actually widened from 66 girls per 100 boys in 2000 to 61 girls per 100 boys enrolled in 2011

Poverty is the main cause of unequal access to education, particularly for girls of secondary-school age. Women and girls in many parts of the world are forced to spend many hours fetching water, and girls often do not attend school because of a lack of decent sanitation facilities. Child marriage and violence against girls are also significant barriers to education. Girls with disabilities are also less likely to go to school. If they get pregnant, many girls drop out of school.

Affirmative Action continues to be the key driver of progress for women.

Women’s share of paid employment outside the agricultural sector has increased slowly from 35 to 40 per cent between 1990 and 2010, though it remains under 20 per cent in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Asia. Globally, women occupy only 25 per cent of senior management positions.

What is Working

  • Somalia: UNICER-supported program offers a comprehensive scholarship package to help overcome the barriers that prevent girls from enrolling in and staying in school.

  • Brazil: UN women, UNICEF, and UN-Habitat launched an online website to help address the problem of sexual violence in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. This provides abuse hotline numbers and information about rights, as well as the responsibilities and locations of Specialized Women’s Attention Centers, which provide psychological, social and even legal support.

  • Rwanda: UN Women is working with 15 cooperatives to increase women’s participation in agriculture and decision-making in their families and communities. Women farmers are trained in budgeting skills and male farmers and district officials are being encouraged to better include and provide for women.

  • Yemen: World Bank recruited and trained more than 1,000 female teachers to work in rural areas and granted conditional cash transfers to encourage parents to allow girls to attend school.

  • UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) actively promotes girls’ education and gender equality. It works with civil society actors and governments in select countries to support key legislative and policy changes that are making education more accessible to girls in Nepal, and in Uganda among other countries.

  • UNESCO partners with Procter & Gamble to empower girls through literacy programs. This partnership has provided educational kits and digital resources to train and support teachers who then devoted many hours of literacy and life skills teaching to girls in Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, and the United Republic of Tanzania, with partners including the Packard Foundation and the GEMS Foundation.

The following is from the book “The Millennium Development Goals Report – 2013” published by the United Nations

In sub-Saharan Africa, the net enrolment rate for girls has risen substantially – from 47 per cent to 75 per cent between 1990 and 2011. Over the same period, the rate for boys rose from 58 per cent to 79 per cent.

More women than men are enrolled in tertiary education in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Caucasus and Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Northern Africa and South-Eastern Asia.

Women are gaining ground in the labor market, though not in all regions and not in all areas of work.

Women’s access to paid employment is an indication of their integration into the market economy. As women benefit from more regular income, they are more likely to achieve greater autonomy, self-reliance in the household and in their personal development, and decision-making power.

In the majority of countries, women’s share in public sector employment is much higher (at least 5 percentage points) than in other non-agricultural sectors. In fact, in many countries it exceeds 50 per cent. Women are, however, more likely to work in local rather than central government offices.

Only six parliamentary chambers in the world today have no women members.

It is widely recognized that increasing women’s bargaining power within the household contributes to improvements in children’s nutrition, survival rates and literacy. Yet recent surveys in a sample of 37 developing countries, mostly in Africa, show that women’s decision-making power at home remains significantly lower than that of men when it comes to large household purchases, visiting family, relatives and friends, and women’s own health.

Two-thirds of the world’s 799 million illiterate adults ages 15 and over are women.

Uneducated girls are more at risk than boys to become marginalized. They are more vulnerable to exploitation. They are more likely than educated girls to contract HIV/AIDS, which spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls that have even some schooling.

Women earn only one tenth of the world’s income and own less than one per cent of property, households without a male head are at special risk of impoverishment. These women will also be less likely to immunize their children and know how to help them survive.

In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV prevalence among teenage girls is five times higher than among teenage boys. The danger of infection is highest among the poorest and least powerful, particularly children who live among violence, suffer sexual exploitation or have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

 

Reduce Child Mortality

MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality

Goal 4.A: Reduce child mortality by 2/3

4.A Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate

The following is from the UN Millennium Goals web site – Child health

  • Despite population growth, the number of deaths, in children under five worldwide declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012, which translates into about 17,000 fewer children dying each day – mostly from preventable diseases.

  • Since 2000, measles vaccines have averted over 10 million deaths

  • Despite determined global progress in reducing child deaths, an increasing proportion of child deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa where one in ten children die before the age of five and in Southern Asia where one in 16 die before age five

  • As the rate of under-five deaths overall declines, the proportion that occurs during the first month after birth is increasing

  • Children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before the age of five as those from wealthier families

  • Children of educated mothers – even mothers with only primary schooling – are more likely to survive than children of mothers with no education

  • Gains have been made in child survival since 1990, making it possible to increase child survival for future generations.

  • Newborns now account for almost half (44 per cent) of under-five deaths. Also, undernutrition contributes to 45 per cent of all under-five deaths. Children who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life are 14 times more likely to survive than non-breastfed children.

  • Solutions don’t have to be complicated. There are inexpensive and simple responses that save children’s lives, by preventing and by treating illnesses.

What’s Working

  • Bangladesh: UNICEF supported local-level efforts such as training community healthcare workers have led to a sharp decline in maternal and child mortality.

  • Peru: Indigenous children from Peru’s remote regions are among the most disadvantaged in the world. In some areas, half the children suffer from chronic malnutrition and many are anemic and Vitamin A-deficient. Rural families are now getting assistance from the MDG-Fund for Farmers – a program that provides training on agricultural and management techniques to farmers to improve their children’s health and nutrition.

  • Chad: UNICEF has expanded immunization programs in Chad – one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world. This program uses community outreach, workers, radio broadcasts and campaigns.

  • Nigeria: Saving One Million Lives by the Nigerian Government. This is an ambitious initiative to expand access to essential primary health services to women and children, including telephone lines for health workers, equipment to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, bed nets, and other life-saving tools.

  • India: Newborns saved by rural healthcare. The second-largest state in India has the highest infant mortality rate in the country. The state government and UNICEF are turning things around by setting up healthcare facilities linking rural communities to district hospitals, and establishing health centers where there were none. The Special Newborn Care Unite of the hospital has alone saved more than 6,000 children.

  • Cambodia: Efforts target measles in hard-to-reach communities. The number of children less than 1 year of age who were immunized against measles went up by 71 per cent, but 7 per cent were still not being reached. The World Health Organization (WHO) helped the national immunization program identify communities at high risk of missing out on vaccines. Measles immunization sessions were then held in market places and village leaders’ homes in those communities. Cases of measles went down from 722 cases in 2011 to none in 2012.

  • Every Woman Every Child is an unprecedented global movement to mobilize and intensify global action to save the lives of 16 million women and children around the world and improve the health and lives of millions more. Working with leaders from over 70 governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society, Every Woman Every child has secured commitments from over 280 partners.

The following is from “The Millennium Development Goals Report – 2013” published by the United Nations

  • Most of the infant deaths occurred in the poorest regions and countries of the world, and in the most underprivileged areas within countries

  • Newborns in their first month of life now account for a growing share of child deaths.

  • India and Nigeria account for more than a third of all deaths in children under five worldwide.

  • The main causes of infant mortality are pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and undernutrition

  • Children are at greater risk of dying before age five if they are born in rural areas or to a mother denied basic education

  • Eight of the 10 countries with the world’s highest under-five mortality rates are marked by conflict or violence or are characterized by weak central governments

  • Between 2000 and 2011, global coverage of the first-dose measles vaccine (two doses are required) increased from 72 per cent to 84 percent. Over the same period, it rose from 53 per cent to 74 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, with similar progress in Southern Asia. (The goal is 90 per cent.)

Improve Maternal Health

MDG Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health

Goal 5.A: Reduce maternal mortality ratio by 3/4

The following information is from the UN Millennium Development Goals – Maternal web site

5. A Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio

  • Maternal mortality has nearly halved since 1990. An estimated 287,000 maternal deaths occurred in 2010 worldwide, a decline of 47 per cent from 1990. All regions have made progress but accelerated interventions are required in order to meet the target. This still falls far short of the MDG target of reducing by three quarters.

  • In Eastern Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Asia, maternal mortality has declined by around two-thirds

  • Nearly 50 million babies worldwide are delivered without skilled care

  • The maternal mortality ratio in developing regions is still 15 times higher than in the developed regions

  • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed

Universal access to reproductive health

5. B Achieve universal access to reproductive health

  • More women are receiving antenatal care. In developing regions, antenatal care increased from 63 per cent in 1990 to 81 per cent in 2011

  • Only half of women in developing regions receive the recommended amount of health care they need

  • Fewer teens are having children in most developing regions, but progress has slowed

  • The large increase in contraceptive use in the 1990s was not matched in the 2000s

  • The need for family planning is slowly being met for more women, but demand is increasing at a rapid pace

  • Official Development Assistance for reproductive health care and family planning remains low

Fast Facts

  • Only half of pregnant women in developing regions receive the recommended minimum of four antenatal care visits

  • Complications during pregnancy or childbirth are one of the leading causes of death for adolescent girls

  • Some 140 million women worldwide who are married or I union say they would like to delay or avoid pregnancy, but do not have access to voluntary family planning

  • Most maternal deaths in developing countries are preventable through adequate nutrition, proper health care, including access to family planning, the presence of a skilled birth attendant during delivery and emergency obstetric care

  • While progress falls short of achieving MDGs by the 2015 deadline, all regions have made important gains

  • Improving maternal health is also key to achieving MDG 4 of reducing child mortality. Giving good care to women during pregnancy and at the time of childbirth is crucial not only for saving women’s lives but their babies, too

  • Births attended by skilled health personnel have increased; however, disparities in progress within countries and populations groups persist.

  • African countries show wide disparities in maternal and reproductive health. Maternal mortality tends to be lower in countries where levels of contraceptive use and skilled attendance at birth are relatively high.

  • Education for girls is key to reducing maternal mortality. The risk of maternal death is 2.7 times higher among women with no education, and two times higher among women with one to six years of education than for women with more than 12 years of education.

What’s Working

  • Bangladesh: Midwives go back to school. The government has committed to deploying 3,000 midwives by 2015. Supported by UNFPA, Bangladesh is creating a cadre of full-time midwives trained according to international midwifery standards. Hundreds of nurses are now upgrading their knowledge, spending several months in the classroom followed by practical training.

  • India: Cash transfers attract women to safely deliver in health centers. More than two-thirds of all maternal deaths in India occur in just a handful of impoverished states, and the inability to get medical care in time is one of the major factors contributing to this tragedy. UNICEF and its partners are working to avoid these preventable maternal deaths through innovative schemes such as a conditional cash transfer program for women who deliver in health facilities.

  • Rwanda: SMS saves lives. The UNICEF-supported Rapid SMS system helps community health workers track pregnancies, report on danger signs during pregnancy, and subscribe to emergency alerts to ensure that women can access emergency obstetric card if complications occur. The system also provides a real-time national surveillance mechanism for maternal health.

  • Sierra Leone: Free health care yields huge gains. A year after the launch in 2010 of the Free Health Care initiative for women and children under five years old, there was a 150 per cent improvement in maternal complications managed in health facilities and a 61 per cent reduction in the maternal mortality rate.

  • Somalia: National plan reduces maternal and child mortality. Spacing births more widely can dramatically reduce maternal mortality and improve the chances that children will survive. The Somali Reproductive Health National Strategy and Action Plan focuses on three priorities: birth spacing, safe deliver and addressing harmful practices like female genital mutilation. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been working with a consortium of international NGOs, UNFPA and UNICER to support the authorities.

Combat HIV

MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

The following information is taken from the UN Millennium Development Goals – Aids web site

Goal 6.A – Halted and reversed spread of HIV/AIDS

6.A - By 2015 have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS

  • New HIV infections continue to decline in most regions.

  • More people than ever are living with HIV due to fewer AIDS-related deaths and the continued large number of new infections with 2.5 million people are newly infected each year.

  • Comprehensive knowledge of HIV transmission remains low among young people, along with condom use.

  • More orphaned children are now in school due to expanded efforts to mitigate the impact of AIDS.

Goal 6.B: Universal access and treatment for HIV/AIDS

6.B - Achieve by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it

  • While the target was missed by 2011, access to treatment for people living with HIV increased in all regions.

  • At the end of 2011, 8 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV. This total constitutes an increase of over 1.4 million people from December 2010.

  • By the end of 2011, eleven countries had achieved universal access to antiretroviral therapy.

Goal 6.C: Halted and reversed malaria and other diseases

6.C - Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

  • The global estimated incidence of malaria has decreased by 17 per cent since 2000, and malaria-specific mortality rates by 25 per cent.

  • In the decade since 2000, 1.1 million deaths from malaria were averted.

  • Countries with improved access to malaria control interventions saw child mortality rates fall by about 20 per cent.

  • Thanks to increased funding, more children are sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Treatment for tuberculosis has saved some 20 million lives between 1995 and 2011.

Fast Facts

  • The global estimated incidence of malaria has decreased by 17 per cent since 2000, and malaria-specific mortality rates by 25 per cent.

  • In the decade since 2000, 1.1 million deaths from malaria were averted.

  • Countries with improved access to malaria control interventions saw child mortality rates fall by about 20 per cent.

  • Measles Global deaths have declined by 78% according to WHO:

  • Thanks to increased funding, more children are sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Treatment for tuberculosis has saved some 20 million lives between 1995 and 2011.

Where We Stand

The incidence of HIV is declining in most regions. Worldwide, the number of people newly infected with HIV dropped 33 per cent from 2001 to 2012. Still, 2.3 million people are newly infected by HIV each year, with 1.6 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

The MDG target of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV has been met. In addition a record 9.7 million people living with HIV were accessing treatment in 2012 compared to just over 8.1 million in 2011––an increase of 1.6 million in one year alone.

Global malaria deaths fell by an estimated 26 per cent from 2000 to 2010. More than half of the 1.1 million lives saved were in the 10 countries with the highest malaria burden.

The tuberculosis (TB) mortality rate decreased 41 per cent between 1991 and 2011. Still, TB killed 1.4 million people who were HIV-positive. Multidrug-resistant TB is a major global challenge. Progress is being made in increasing the percentage of cases being detected, but the rate of people accessing treatment is too slow.

What’s Working

Cambodia: Dramatic progress in TB care and control. Facing one of the world’s highest tuberculosis rates, Cambodia has over the last 20 years, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and international partners, built a successful national TB care and control program, which has benefitted as well from economic development and a re-established primary health care system. According to a new survey, there has been a 45 per cent decrease in the number of people ill with TB from 2002 to 2011.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Mass mosquito net campaign reaches 24.6 million. Malaria is one of the major causes of morbidity in the country, and a significant contributor to child deaths. A mass campaign was launched on World Malaria Day 2012 with the aim of distributing 13.7 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to reach at least 24.6 million beneficiaries. The vast operation was possible thanks to a UNICEF partnership with the Government, together with funding from the World Bank and PMI-USAID and logistical support and transport from NGO and UN partners.

Thailand: Smart phones and volunteers fight drug-resistant malaria. In 2008, when reports appeared that malaria parasites in Cambodia and Thailand were developing resistance to artemisinin, the most effective single drug to treat malaria, the countries launched a joint monitoring, prevention and treatment project in seven provinces along their shared border, with support from WHO. In Thailand alone, more than 300 volunteer village malaria health workers were trained to provide free services to test for malaria and directly observe the treatment of patients with confirmed malaria in remote villages. Use of a smart phone to capture essential data on the patients and monitor their treatment has accelerated progress. An electronic malaria information system (e-MIS) uploaded on the health workers’ mobile devices shows malaria volunteers where to find patients, the status of their treatment, and the situation and trends.

Ethiopia: More HIV-positive mothers deliver babies free of the virus. An effective program, supported by UNICEF and its partners, is preventing transmission of the virus from HIV-positive mothers to their children, a critical measure in ensuring an AIDS-free generation. In Ethiopia UNICEF and partners are supporting the training of 2,000 nurses and midwives on emergency obstetric and newborn care, along with prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Zambia: Free HIV treatment reaches 400,000 people. The Ministry of Health, with UNDP support, is scaling up access to treatment by creating 68 new antiretroviral therapy (ART) sites and supplying drugs to all 454 existing ART sites nationwide, giving some 400,000 people access to free HIV/AIDS treatment. Global Fund support provided ART drugs to some 214,339 patients in 2012 and 195,679 in 2013, including HIV-positive pregnant women.

In 2013, WHO published new guidelines that simplify treatment and extend the benefits of antiretroviral medicines to a larger group of people. Earlier uptake of antiretrovirals will help people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives, and substantially reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others. The move could avert an additional 3 million deaths and prevent 3.5 million more new HIV infections between now and 2025.

Partners

The Getting to Zero initiative continues to grow as Heads of State and Government from the 10 countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have committed to making Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero HIV-Related Deaths a reality.

The Pan-American Health Organization and partners have spurred a growing number of countries to shift gears on HIV treatment, including the importance of non-discrimination against sexual minorities in the provision of services. Peru is amending its penal code to provide broader access to HIV treatment for youths. Colombia has launched a new communication strategy aimed at reducing barriers to access to HIV prevention and treatment services for members of sexual minorities. Brazil launched a new National Plan of Action against the HIV Epidemic among Homosexuals and Transsexuals, to improve sexual minorities’ access to health and education. Mexico is developing a guide to raise awareness among health providers and government officials of the importance of non-discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion and sexual orientation. In June 2013, the Organization of American States adopted a bold new Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of People Vulnerable to or Living With or Affected by HIV.

To combat the global AIDS crisis in countries where cricket is the leading sport, the Think Wise partnership, with UNAIDS, UNICEF and the players from the International Cricket Council, encourages young people to be informed, take action to prevent HIV infection and stand together against stigma and discrimination.

In December 2010, WHO issued policy guidance on the use of a new rapid molecular TB diagnostic test, Xpert MTB/RIF. Use of the test represents a sea change, in that TB disease and drug-resistance (to one of the most powerful drugs in TB treatment—rifampicin) can be identified in two hours rather than 4 to 6 weeks as with previous methods. To date, 88 countries have begun roll-out of the test with assistance from WHO and partners. Low- and middle-income countries are benefitting from concessional pricing from the supplier made possible through collaboration with the United States Government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNITAID.

Environment

MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Goal 7.A – Integrate Sustainable Development into country policies

7.A - Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources

The following information was taken from the UN Millennium Development Goals – Environment web site

  • Forests are a safety net for the poor, but they continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

  • Of all developing regions, South America and Africa saw the largest net losses of forest areas between 2000 and 2010.

  • Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by more than 46 per cent since 1990.

  • In the 25 years since the adoption of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, there has been a reduction of over 98 per cent in the consumption of ozone-depleting substances.

  • At Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, world leaders approved an agreement entitled “The Future We Want,” and more than $513 billion was pledged towards sustainable development initiatives.

Goal 7.B – Reduce Biodiversity Loss

7.B - Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss

  • More areas of the earth’s surface are protected. Since 1990, protected areas have increased in number by 58 per cent.

  • Growth in protected areas varies across countries and territories and not all protected areas cover key biodiversity sites.

  • By 2010, protected areas covered 12.7 per cent of the world’s land area but only 1.6 per cent of total ocean area.

Goal 7.C – Halve population without sustainable access to water

7. C Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation

  • The world has met the target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water, five years ahead of schedule.

  • Between 1990 and 2010, more than two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources.

  • The proportion of people using an improved water source rose from 76 per cent in 1990 to 89 per cent in 2010.

  • Over 40 per cent of all people without improved drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • In 2011, 768 million people remained without access to an improved source of drinking water.

  • Over 240,000 people a day gained access to improved sanitation facilities from 1990 to 2011.

  • Despite progress, 2.5 billion in developing countries still lack access to improved sanitation facilities.

Goal 7.D – Improve lives of 100 million slum dwellers

7. D Achieve, by 2020, a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers

  • The target was met well in advance of the 2020 deadline.

  • The share of urban slum residents in the developing world declined from 39 per cent in 2000 to 33 per cent in 2012. More than 200 million of these people gained access to improved water sources, improved sanitation facilities, or durable or less crowded housing, thereby exceeding the MDG target.

  • 863 million people are estimated to be living in slums in 2012 compared to 650 million in 1990 and 760 million in 2000.

Fast Facts

  • The target was met well in advance of the 2020 deadline.

  • The share of urban slum residents in the developing world declined from 39 per cent in 2000 to 33 per cent in 2012. More than 200 million of these people gained access to improved water sources, improved sanitation facilities, or durable or less crowded housing, thereby exceeding the MDG target

  • 863 million people are estimated to be living in slums in 2012 compared to 650 million in 1990 and 760 million in 2000

Where We Stand

More than 240,000 people a day—1.9 billion people —gained access to a latrine, toilet or other improved sanitation facilities from 1990 to 2011. The greatest progress has been made in Eastern Asia, where sanitation coverage increased from 27 per cent in 1990 to 67 per cent in 2011. However, a strong push is needed to increase this number globally by another 1 billion people by 2015. Stopping open defecation—a practice that poses serious health and environmental risks to entire communities—is a key factor in continued progress in sanitation.

An estimated 863 million people reside in slums in the developing world. Between 2000 and 2010, more than 200 million slum dwellers gained access to improved water, sanitation or durable and less crowded housing, thereby achieving twice-over the MDG target of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, conditions improved to the point where an additional 44 million people were no longer considered to be living in slums.

Although the MDG slum target has been reached, the number of slum dwellers, in absolute terms, continues to grow, due in part to the fast pace of urbanization. The number of urban residents in the developing world living in slum conditions was estimated at 863 million in 2012, compared to 650 million in 1990 and 760 million in 2000. Stronger, more focused efforts are needed to improve the lives of the urban poor in cities and metropolises across the developing world.

Although more land and marine areas are under protection, many species of birds, mammals and others are heading for extinction at a fast pace. Significant progress has been made in increasing the coverage of protected areas dedicated to safeguarding and maintaining biological diversity and natural resources. 14.6 per cent of the world’s land surface is now protected, while marine protection has more than doubled since 1990, from 4.6 per cent to 9.7 per cent in coastal waters. At the same time, species are moving towards extinction at an ever-faster pace, and reduced biodiversity will have serious consequences for the ecosystem services upon which all people depend.

Forests are disappearing at a rapid pace, despite the establishment of forest policies and laws supporting sustainable forest management in many countries. The largest net loss of forests has occurred in South America —around 3.6 million hectares per year from 2005 to 2010. Deforestation is not only a serious threat to achieving sustainability, but also to progress towards hunger and poverty reduction and sustainable livelihoods, as forests provide food, water, wood, fuel and other services used by millions of the world’s poorest people.

Marine fish stocks globally are now below the level at which they can produce maximum sustainable yields. More stocks have become overfished due to continuing expansion of the fishing industry in many countries.

The Montreal Protocol has led to a 98 per cent reduction in the consumption of ozone-depleting substances since 1986. Because most of these substances are greenhouse gases, the Protocol contributes to the protection of the global climate system. The success of the Montreal Protocol has set a precedent for effective action against climate change.

Global carbon dioxide emissions have increased by more than 46 per cent since 1990, with a five per cent increase between 2009 and 2010. Growth in global emissions has accelerated, rising 33 per cent from 2000 to 2010. Containing this growth demands bold, coordinated national and international action. The goal is to complete negotiations on a new international agreement by 2015 and begin implementation in 2020, thereby taking decisive steps towards averting irreversible changes in the global climate system.

What’s Working

Brazil: Shifting from coal to crops promotes agro-ecology. The north-east of Brazil is the most densely populated semi-arid region in the world. Scant rainfall and cyclic drought force many of its 22 million residents to resort to illegal charcoal production, stripping the region of its forests. A project by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to promote agro-ecology is showing farmers how to make a living from the land while conserving the environment.

Panama: Safe water saves lives. A joint program between three UN agencies, Panama’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Economy and Finance, and traditional communities in the Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous territory has brought safe water to nine indigenous communities in Panama. People in each community have participated in the design and construction of water infrastructure, and water management committees have been strengthened, trained and provided with technical equipment to maintain and ensure the sustainability of the system’s infrastructure.

Vietnam: Largest lagoon gets a sustainable future. The largest lagoon ecosystem in South-East Asia was in biological, social and economic disarray in 2005, with illegally constructed ponds, razed mangroves and unregulated fishing that threatened the food, nutrition and income security of the 300,000 people who rely on it. Now, local action under the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Integrated Management of Lagoon Activities project has set targets for reducing the number of aquaculture ponds. Mangroves and other essential habitats are being replanted and fishery associations have developed plans that enable locals to manage activities.

West Africa: Biosphere reserves are fostering the sustainable use of biodiversity. To better manage the sustainable use of biodiversity, biosphere reserves in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Senegal have been set up with funding from the Global Environment Facility, working with the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and UNESCO. Africa’s first transboundary biosphere reserve, established in 2002 and covering areas in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, is hailed as a bastion against desertification and a model for testing sustainable economies while integrating local communities.

Partners

To boost sanitation efforts and end open defecation, which causes diseases that kill thousands of children every day, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson launched a Call to Action on Sanitation in March 2013 to mobilize governments, UN agencies and partners to accelerate progress on MDG 7. On 24 July 2013, UN Member States adopted the ‘Sanitation for All’ resolution designating 19 November as World Toilet Day and calling for increased efforts to improve access to proper sanitation.

Sanitation and Water for All is a partnership of governments, donors, civil society and multilateral organizations aiming to ensure that all people have access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water. The partnership is particularly concerned with those countries where the needs are greatest.

Improving the lives of the urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia has been the focus of scientists currently finding solutions through a five-year project at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Between 2002 and 2012, the FAO National Forest Program Facility allocated some 900 small grants in 80 countries to NGOs, academia, government agencies, forest-user associations and indigenous communities. The grants, averaging $25,000, aimed to foster and strengthen country leadership in developing and implementing national forest programs.

Partnership

MDG 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

The following information was taken from the UN Millennium Development Goals – Goal 8 web site.

Goal 8.A: Trading and financial system

8.A - Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system

  • Despite the pledges by G20 members to resist protectionist measures initiated as a result of the global financial crisis, only a small percentage of trade restrictions introduced since the end of 2008 have been eliminated. The protectionist measures taken so far have affected almost 3 per cent of global trade.

Goal 8.B: Address needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

8. B Address the special needs of least developed countries

  • Tariffs imposed by developed countries on products from developing countries have remained largely unchanged since 2004, except for agricultural products.

  • Bilateral aid to sub-Saharan Africa fell by almost 1 per cent in 2011.

  • There has been some success of debt relief initiatives reducing the external debt of heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) but 20 developing countries remain at high risk of debt distress.

Goal 8.C: Address needs of landlocked developing countries

8.C - Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and Small Island developing States

  • Aid to landlocked developing countries fell in 2010 for the first time in a decade, while aid to Small Island developing States increased substantially.

Goal 8.D: Deal with debt problems of developing countries

8.D - Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries

  • At this time, it appears developing countries weathered the 2009 economic downtown and in 2011 the debt to GDP ratio decreased for many developing countries. Vulnerabilities remain. Expected slower growth in 2012 and 2013 may weaken debt ratios.

Goal 8.E: Provide affordable drugs to developing countries

8.E - In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

  • Resources available for providing essential medicines through some disease-specific global health funds increased in 2011, despite the global economic downturn.

  • There has been little improvement in recent years in improving availability and affordability of essential medicines in developing countries.

Goal 8.F: Benefits of new technologies

8. F In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications

  • 77 per cent of inhabitants of developed countries are Internet users, compared with only 31 per cent of inhabitants in developing countries.

  • The number of mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2011 reached 6 billion.

Fast Facts

  • Official development assistance stood at $126 billion in 2012.

  • A total of 83 per cent of least developed country exports enter developed countries duty-free.

  • In 2012, trade of developing countries and transition economies outpaced the world average.

  • In the developing world, 31 per cent of the population uses the Internet, compared with 77 per cent of the developed world.

Where We Stand

The trade climate continues to improve for developing and least developed countries. The developing country share of world trade rose to 44.4 per cent in 2012. Average tariffs levied by developed countries continued to decline for developing countries in 2011.

Debt service ratios are one-quarter less from their 2000 level, lessening the financial burden on developing countries. Better debt management, the expansion of trade and, for the poorest countries, substantial debt relief have reduced the burden of debt service.

The global financial crisis and Euro-zone turmoil continue to take a toll on official development assistance (ODA). In 2012 ODA of $126 billion was 4 per cent less in real terms than in 2011, which was 2 per cent less than in 2010. This is the first time since 1996-1997 that ODA fell in two consecutive years

Aid is being increasingly concentrated in a small number of countries. The top 20 recipients in 2011 (out of 158 countries and territories) accounted for about 55 per cent of total ODA, up from 38 per cent the year before.

Mobile-cellular subscriptions are moving towards saturation levels. With a projected 6.8 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions by the end of 2013, global penetration will reach 96 per cent.

The growth in the number of individuals using the Internet in developing countries continues to outpace that in developed countries, growing at 12 per cent in 2013 compared to 5 per cent in developed countries. The total number of Internet users in developing countries comprises 65 per cent of the total number of users in the world in 2013, up from 40 per cent in 2005.

Broadband Internet is becoming more widely available and affordable, but is still out of reach in many developing countries.

Partners

The MDGs have mobilized action from Governments, civil society and other partners around the world, with significant results obtained through partnerships. Going beyond traditional means of delivering aid for achieving the MDGs, the UN Secretary-General and others have brought on board a range of partners, including Governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and international institutions, to accelerate progress and close gaps. Partnership initiatives for the MDGs include: Every Woman Every Child, GAVI Alliance, The Global Fund, Global Education First Initiative, Rollback Malaria, Sanitation and Water for All, Scaling Up Nutrition, Sustainable Energy for All and the UN Zero Hunger Challenge.

The MDG Gap Task Force was created by the UN Secretary-General in May 2007 to improve monitoring of the global commitments contained in MDG 8, the Global Partnership for Development. The main purpose of the Task Force is to systematically track existing international commitments and to identify gaps and obstacles in their fulfilment at the international, regional and country levels in the areas of official development assistance, market access (trade), debt sustainability, access to essential medicines and new technologies. The Task Force integrates more than 30 UN and other international agencies.

The Integrated Implementation Framework records and monitors financial as well as policy commitments made in support of the MDGs by UN Member States and other international stakeholders.