Millennium Development Goals - MDGs

Source: NGLS
Following the outcome of the High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), better known as the “MDG Summit” (20-22 September, New York), NGLS has released a special NGLS e-Roundup, which analyzes the outcome of the negotiations in light of civil society contributions to the summit process. [see more]
In September 2005, the United Nations hosted a Millennium+5 Summit to evaluate the progress towards the United Nations Millennium Declaration adopted by over 150 Heads of State at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. Since 2000, however, many governments have not acted on their promises, and the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. While many NGOs argue that the MDGs are not ambitious enough, at the present rate of action, some observers speculate that the world will not meet the current goals in one hundred years, let alone by 2015. (From Global Policy Forum)

In 1995, the heads of State and Government of the world, gathered in Copenhagen at the World Summit for Social Development -amid the series of international conferences through which the United Nations renewed its global social agenda in the post-cold war era- made a solemn commitment to eradicate world poverty.

The Millennium Declaration was adopted in September 2000 by 189 world leaders who commited to "free all men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty" by the year 2015. For that purpose, eight Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) have been drawn that cope with a variety of issues such as the promotion of education, maternity health care, gender equality, poverty reduction policies, child mortality, AIDS and other fatal deseases. These goals were set for the year 2015 with reference to the international situation prevalent in 1990.

Upon undertaking to eradicate poverty, government leaders around the world clearly stated that for the first time in the history of humanity it was possible to achieve such a goal using the resources, knowledge and technologies now available to humankind.

And if this goal was feasible, then it would be outrageous not to achieve it. Hence the statement made in the Copenhagen Declaration that the eradication of poverty is not merely an ethical and moral imperative, but also a political one, as the international system will not be able to sustain itself much longer on such enormous inequalities as was rightly foreseen even then.

The Declaration contains numerous commitments to enhance the future of humanity in the new century. The United Nations Secretariat subsequently drafted the list of eight objectives, each with a set of targets and specific indicators. The first objective is to halve the proportion of the world’s people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger. The full list of MDGs is:

  • 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

These goals are currently being discussed both internationally and nationally, with many organizations deliberating how to include them in the various global or national strategies.

Since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, civil society organizations (CSOs) have have made some basic questions about the MDGs: Why should the public mobilise behind them when so many earlier UN goals remain unfulfilled? Do the MDGs apply to everyone in the global street? Do the Goals concern only aid? What trade-offs took place in reaching the "Monterrey Consensus" and how fair are they? Do the MDGs represent a new global bargain or the old-style impositions?

Many women's organizations are also exploring how to "engender" each MDGs goal, and are calling for a linkage, within the UN, of the Beijing ten year review and the Millennium Declaration five year review. There is enormous concern about the co-optation of "gender and development" and "gender mainstreaming" in a way that would seek to engender a failed development model.

Controversial discussions took place in the Copenhagen Plus Five summit regarding the report "A Better World For All", published by the UN Secretariat, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). NGO pressing arguments resulted in the inclusion of point 8 of the MDG (see in this report "Background: Copenhangen +5, Geneva 2000").

Millennium +5 Summit
In September 2005, the United Nations hosted the Millennium +5 Summit to review the progress so far in the implementation of the UN Millenium Declaration, adopted by 150 Heads-of-State in September 2000.

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Wednesday, September 29 2010
Keeping the Promise: Outcome of the 2010 MDG Summit
(Source: NGLS)
Friday, September 17 2010
"After the Fall: Time for a New Deal". Social Watch Report 2010
(Source: Social Watch)
Thursday, June 24 2010
The Millennium Development Goals report
(Source: UN)

Background: Copenhangen +5, Geneva 2000

From OECDs strategy "Shaping the 21st Century" (1996) to the UN MDGs (2000/2001) (Rorg)

NGOs call on the UN to withdraw endorsement of "A Better World for All" document (Rorg)

WSSD' s Commitments (Social Watch)

A better world for whom? (Third World Network)

Copenhagen Plus Five: Special Session of UN General Assembly, 26-30 June in Geneva (Third World Network)

Social Watch reports

Development indicators

"After the Fall: Time for a New Deal". Social Watch Report 2010 (Social Watch)

Basic Capabilities Index - BCI 2009 (Social Watch)

Poverty is not decreasing as the World Bank claims (Social Watch)

Social Watch Report 2005: "Roars and whispers"

Old promises, new promises (Global Call Against Poverty)

Benchmark for the 5-year review of the Millennium Declaration (Social Watch)

Progress and setbacks 2004

Analysis and opinions

Poverty Reduction Policies (Eurodad)

The United Nations Millennium Assembly. Contributions to the Debate (South Centre)

Balancing Aid and Development to Prevent ‘Welfare Colonialism’ ( Networkideas)

Latin America ahead on MDGs except for poverty (IPS)

The unbreakable link - debt relief and the Millennium Development Goals

Halfway there? The G8 and the Millennium Development Goals in 2002.

The European Union's contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (Eurostep)

The Millennium Goals challenge: Latin America is on its own (Inter Press Service (IPS))

The promise of equality: gender equity, reproductive health and the MDGs (UNFPA)

From top-down to bottom-up anti-poverty work (Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban)

The importance of natural resources in poverty erradication (Friends of the Earth International)

Help-less illusions (Third World Network)

UNDP challenges the neo-liberal orthodoxy (UNDP)

How climate change will further impede meeting the MDGs (Third World Network Features)

Theories of development: modernisation vs. dependency (InfoChange India)

Can technology solve hunger? (IPS)

Millennium Development Goal Two: education for all (ID21)

UN Millennium Goals do not address disability

International campaign on the Millennium Development Goals (CIDSE-Caritas)

Health goals

Public choices, private decisions: sexual and reproductive health and the MDGs (UN Millennium Project)

Health in the Millennium Development Goals (WHO)

Reducing women and child mortalitiy to meet the MDGs (WHO)

Poor nations missing health goals (IPS)

Calls for attention to developed world

ECOSOC High-level Meeting with Bretton Woods and WTO (April 2003)

UN Secretary General warns world's falling short of Millennium Summit commitments

Africa: Millennium Goals not that distant (IPS)

The right to development (57/223) - Resolution adopted by the General Assembly

Speech by Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul at ECOSOC High-level Meeting (BMZ)

Giving the gift of life to 100 million slum dwellers (IPS)

Powerful countries set to betray hopes of millions at UN World Summit (GCAP)

Kofi Annan: In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all (ONU)

North-South meets, more reforms needed for MDGs (IPS)

Investing in development: a practical plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (UN Millennium Project)

A world divided by inequality (InfoChange India)

Parliamentarians strive to commit the U.N to establish a 9th MDG (Planet Wire)

EU development policy 'out of gear' (IPS)

First OECD country report on the MDGs

Rich nations urged to keep pledges to meet Millennium Goals (Third World Network - TWN)

Press coverage

2015: Where will we be? (BBC)

Development Deadline 2015


CSO Perspectives on the Millennium Development Goals (UNDP)

Global democracy: civil society visions and strategies (Global Democracy 2005 (G05))

Multilateral banks

World Bank

Asian Development Bank

European Bank

African Development Bank

Inter-American Development Bank

The role of NGOs

Civil Society and the MDGs (Roberto Bissio, Social Watch)

Mainstreaming Development in Trade and Finance: A Key to Global Partnership (Martin Khor, Third World Network)

The Millennium Declaration: Mobilizing Civil Society (John Foster, North-South Institute)

The civil society at the global alliance for development (ICAE-REPEM)

Civil Society Development Forum 2007 - Final statement (CONGO)

Reflections on the United Nations Summit (CIVICUS)

We the People 2005 — Mobilizing for change: messages from civil society (North-South Institute)

Hearings' key findings (NGLS)

South/North Civil Society Debt Group statement on debt (South/North Civil Society Debt Group)

What UN for the 21st. Century? A new North-South divide (South Centre)

Unkept promises (Social Watch)

Comments on Kofi Annan's report for the Second Millennium Summit (United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service - NGLS)

NGOs comment on the Report of the UN Secretary General "In Larger Freedom" (United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service - NGLS)

Whose governance? Obstacles to the MDGs (Rorg)

We the peoples 2004: a call to action for the UN Millennium Declaration (WFUNA)

Regional meetings and campaigns

Evaluating the MDGs in Africa and South Africa (SANGONeT)

Global Call to Action against Poverty

The UN MDG Campaign: No excuse 2015, voices against poverty


Asian Civil Society Forum 2004

Asia Pacific 2015 - For an AIDS-free generation

Africa 2015: For an AIDS-free generation

Arab NGO Network for Development - ANND

Gender in the MDGs

Gender, the Millenium Development Goals, and human rights in the context of the 2005 review process

Who answers to women? (UNIFEM)

Far away from the 2015 goals (Social Watch)

Women's empowerment, gender equality and the MDGs (WEDO)

A rights-based approach to the MDGs (MADRE)

Gains on gender equality, mixed results on poverty, peace, and human rights (Beijing and Beyond)

Women’s rights at the Millennium +5 World Summit (AWID)

The 2005 World Summit: What's at stake for women (Beijing and Beyond)

Gender equality in education: world fails to meet MDG 3 (Isis International-Manila)

Shaping the World Summit 2005 (Peace Women)

Africa: the Protocol on the Rights of Women in red, yellow and green (Pambazuka)

African women on the MDGs and poverty (ahiba Sisters Foundation, Tanzania - IGTN)

To the farthest frontiers: women's empowerment in an expanding europe (Social Watch)

Consultation with women’s rights groups on the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Declaration (Peace Women)

Sexual and reproductive rights missing in Millenium Goals (IPS)

Country gender ranking (Social Watch)

The most unequal of the unequal (Social Watch)

Seeking accountability on women’s human rights: women debate the MDGs (WICEJ)

Gender Equality and the MDGs

Women and the Millennium Development Goals (WHRnet)

MDGs, major distraction gimmicks (DAWN)

MDGs: a look through a gender lens (UNDP)

Indigenous peoples in the MDGs

Indigenous Peoples and the the Millenium Development Goals (Tebtebba)

Fourth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues)

Millennium Development Goals and indigenous peoples (UNPFII)

2005: G8, Millenium+5 and the WTO Ministerial Meeting

The big letdown: UN Summit shortchanges the poor (CIVICUS)

Millennium +5 outcome document approved (Global Policy Forum)

Millennium +5 Summit: Choike coverage

A declaration of war (Tom Paine Common Sense)

U.N. Millennium Summit in danger of being hijacked (IPS)

Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference: Choike coverage

The G8 Summit 2005 (Choike)

NGLS Roundups

Roundup 98 - MDGs: Moving forward on the Millennium Development Goals (Non Governmental Liaison Service)

Roundup 99 - Fifty-seventh Session of the General Assembly

Keeping the Promise: Outcome of the 2010 MDG Summit (NGLS)

Roundup 121 - March 2005: UNEP & the Millennium Development Goals

UN Millennium Project presents its action plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (NGLS)

Roundup 106, September 2003 - MDGs: Taking root at the national level?

Roundup 105 - NGOs assess the Millennium Development Goals

UN key web sites

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2005 (United Nations Statistics Division)

The Millennium Development Goals: a Latin American and Caribbean perspective (ECLAC)

The Millennium Development Goals report (UN)


"In larger freedom: towards security, development and human rights for all"

Millennium +5 Activities (2005)

The UN MDG Campaign: No excuse 2015, voices against poverty

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

Millennium Country Profiles

MDGs Country Reports

The UNDP Blue Book

United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service

Human Development Report 2004 (UNDP)

Official UN Millennium Development Goals site (UN)

Millennium Project

Millennium Indicators Database

United Nations Development Programme - UNDP

Millennium Development Goals

MDG GenderNet

United Nations Millennium Declaration

We the Peoples (UN-MDGs)

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