Eight basic objectives that the 191 member countries of the United Nations want to achieve by 2015, focused on eradicating poverty and the most devastating epidemics, guaranteeing the right to an education and a dignified life and equality between men and women, and promoting worldwide prosperity through sustainable development.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were first developed by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) among the 30 countries that make up the organization. The UN decided to introduce the eight chapters in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September of 2000.
The eight development objectives
Each one of the eight objectives is divided into several goals (a total of 19, quantifiable by concrete indicators and, therefore, measurable). For the first time, the international development agenda has assigned a date to the attainment of concrete goals: 2015.
- Objective 1: To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Two goals: first, to halve the number of people living on less than a dollar a day; and second, to halve the number of people suffering from hunger.
- Objective 2: To achieve universal primary education. Two goals: first, to assure that all girls and boys finish their primary education; and second, increased assistance to schools should guarantee that all children remain in school and receive a quality education.
- Objective 3: To promote gender equality and to empower women. One goal: to eliminate inequalities between the sexes in primary and secondary education.
- Objective 4: To reduce infant mortality. One goal: to reduce by two thirds the current mortality rate for children under 5 years old.
- Objective 5: To improve maternal health. One goal: to reduce the current maternal mortality rate by three quarters.
- Objective 6: To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Two goals: first, to stop and begin to reduce the spread of AIDS/HIV; and second, to stop and begin to reduce the spread of malaria and other major worldwide diseases, like tuberculosis.
- Objective 7: To ensure environmental sustainability. Three goals: first, to integrate the principles of sustainable development into the politics of every country; second, to reduce by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water; and third, to achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020.
- Objective 8: To encourage a worldwide development partnership. Seven goals: first, to develop an international commercial and financial system that doesn’t discriminate against poor countries; second, address the special needs of the least developed countries, including the possibility to export without tariffs and quotas, enhanced debt relief, more generous development assistance and the cancellation of bilateral debt for heavily indebted poor countries; third, address the special needs of poor landlocked and small island states; fourth, address the debt of developing countries with a long-term sustainability perspective; fifth, promote the creation of productive and decent jobs for youth; sixth, in cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry, provide access to affordable essential medicines in developing countries (promotion of generic, etc); and seventh, in cooperation with the private sector, make available new technologies, especially related to information and communications.
The UN Millennium Declaration, adopted by the General Assembly of the UN in the plenary session of September 8, 2000, specified that: “We consider certain fundamental values to be essential to international relations in the twenty-first century. These include: freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility.”
- More information about the Millennium Development Goals, in Wikipedia and at BBC News (a recommended explanatory summary of the 8 millennium objectives, with a graphic aid).