Can the world stay on track with Millennium Development Goals?

Photo credit: UN

Can the world take the vital next steps towards ending global poverty? Or will we let progress slip away?

That’s the challenge that the United Nations outlined yesterday, in its annual review of the Millennium Development Goals – clear, measurable targets for improving peoples’ lives around the world.

You can see the eight goals here: http://www.one.org/international/mdg/

“Millions of people’s lives have improved due to concerted global, regional, national and local efforts,” said the new report launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“If trends continue, the world will surpass MDG targets on malaria, tuberculosis and access to HIV treatment, and the hunger target looks within reach. Other targets, such as access to technologies, reduction of average tariffs, debt relief, and growing political participation by women, show great progress.”

The report highlights some of the amazing progress:

  • The likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half, which means about 17,000 children are saved every day.
  • Globally, the maternal mortality ratio dropped by 45 per cent between 1990 and 2013.
  • Antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected people has saved 6.6 million lives since 1995, and expanding its coverage could save many more.
  • Between 2000 and 2012, an estimated 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted due to substantial expansion of malaria interventions.
  • Since 1995, efforts to fight tuberculosis saved an estimated 22 million lives.

But it also looks at the problem areas – and there is some disturbing news.

“Some MDG targets such as reducing child and maternal mortality and increasing access to sanitation, are slipping away from achievement by 2015,” says the report.

  • Over one-quarter of the world’s population has gained access to improved sanitation since 1990, yet one billion people still resort to open defecation.
  • Preventable conditions, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, are the main killers for children under age five.
  • Ninety per cent of children in developing regions are attending primary school. Half of the 58 million out-of school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas.
  • After two years of declines, official development assistance hit a record high of $134.8 billion in 2013. However, aid shifted away from the poorest countries.

“Progress has been uneven between and within countries and regions,” the Guardian said. “Many states will not achieve all of the goals by the 2015 deadline; some will not meet any.”

“The goals related to women – gender equality and reducing maternal and child deaths – are the most off track.”

The MDG targets are finishing at the end of 2015 – and around the world, governments are working on a new set of ideas. In the next year, you’ll be hearing a lot from ONE on the new goals – and we’ll be asking you for your ideas of how we make progress on extreme poverty stick.

The UN wants to know what issues matter most to you. Vote for your top 6 issues here.