2015: A Millennium-Development-Goals Odyssey

Time is ticking for the promise the World made itself over a decade ago. In the Millennium Summit of 2000 all world leaders present adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, setting eight goals that should be achieved by the year 2015. Today, the world has less than 1000 days (967 days to be precise) until the deadline. Fortunately there is good news.

The latest World Bank figures show that the MDG targets of halving 1990 rates of absolute poverty (MDG 1.a) and halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water (MDG 7.c) were met in 2010, five years early. The figures also show that the world is well on the way towards meeting its education goal (MDG 2.a: universal primary schooling) and gender equality in schools (MDG 3.a).

Evidently, there is still progress to be made in the remaining 17 targets. In particular, improvement has been lagging for health-related MDGs, such as reducing by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio and by two-thirds the under-five mortality rate. In fact, these goals will probably be missed in most regions by 2015.

Four out of 17 targets may seem like not much of an achievement to some, but they represent massive efforts since 2000 from all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations. Let us hope effort remains high and progress remains stable towards meeting the full eight Millennium Development Goals.


Written by Helena Afonso, member of the NOVAFRICA Student Group