Introduction to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Published: 05 December 2010

Tomorrow will be the first day of the European Development Days (EDDs). Certainly there will be a lot of discussions about the fulfillment and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and what the European Union will do to achieve them. This short article’s purpose is to give a short summary about the MDGs, their purpose, their aim and their progress and debates concerning the MDGs.


What are the MDGs?

The MDGs are are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. The aim of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to encourage development by improving social and economic conditions in the world's poorest countries and they were established during the Millennium Summit in 2000. At this summit all world leaders present adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, from which the eight goals were derived. The MDGs consist of eight chapters of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000. There are eight goals with 21 targets, and a series of measurable indicators for each target.

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality rate

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

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

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development


Debates about the MDGs

Some people are concerned about the lack of justification behind the chosen objectives and criticise the lack of focus on local participation and empowerment. Even though the MDGs are seen as a tool for tracking progress toward basic poverty reduction and provide a very basic policy road map to achieving these goals, they do not capture all elements needed to achieve the ideals set out in the Millennium Declaration. Therefore some goals are difficult to measure. Progress of the MDGs Progress towards reaching the goals has been uneven. Some countries have achieved many of the goals, while others are not on track to realize any. For an overview look at the uploaded graphs.