What is it?
Development experts looked at different problems that make and keep people poor. They came up with eight targets that would help most people meet basic needs. If met, these targets would move poor people out of poverty and into a better life as well as enable people to contribute to their society in a more productive way. These targets are today known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The goals also help development experts measure how much progress has been made in reducing poverty over the years.
The Millennium Development Goals are:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
Why should I care?
As a result of the recent global economic crisis, 53 million more people will remain in extreme poverty by 2015 than otherwise would have. Even so, by 2015 the number of extreme poor could total some 920 million, marking a significant decline from the 1.8 billion people who lived in extreme poverty in 1990.
But many countries are off-track on other goals, especially the health-related goals of reducing child and maternal mortality, and access to basic sanitation, according to the Global Monitoring Report 2012
What is the international community doing?
Achieving the MDGs is possible -- if everyone does their share: Developing countries must be firm on their commitment to governance reform. And their partners -- the developed countries and international organizations -- need to support them.
Development aid and private charitable donations from developed countries are the main source of external financing for the poorest countries.
This money, of course, has to be well spent and managed in an accountable and transparent manner. Also, in addition to more aid, countries of the world have to reform global trade and make it more equitable for all countries.
What can I do?
If you live in a developed country:
- Find out what your country is doing to make the Millennium Development Goals happen.
- Find volunteer opportunities worldwide to encourage sustainable development.
- Learn how much money your government gives through bilateral and multilateral assistance, and lobby your government to give more.
If you live in a developing country:
- Stay in school -- study and learn.
- Volunteer to help those in need.
- Encourage other young people to stay in school and to volunteer.
- Learn how much money your government receives in development assistance and take action to ensure government funds are properly spent.
For more information: Millennium Development Goals