TODAY on September 25, the United Nations hosts a High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during the General Assembly. We're now at the midway point to the 2015 deadline set to achieve the MDG. High food and fuel prices and the global economic slowdown threaten progress on the goals now. Will the MDG go the route of my New Year's resolutions? [Did I even make a New Year's resolution?]
The Millennium Development Goals intend by the year 2015 to:
ERADICATE EXTREME HUNGER AND POVERTY by cutting in half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. Update: 1.2 billion people still live on less than $1 a day. But 43 countries, with more than 60 per cent of the world’s people, have already met or are on track to meet the goal of cutting hunger in half by 2015.
ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION by ensuring all boys and girls complete primary education. Update: 113 million children do not attend school, but this goal is within reach; India, for example, should have 95 per cent of its children in school by 2005.
PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN by eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education. Update: Two-thirds of the world’s illiterates are women, and 80 per cent of its refugees are women and children. Since the 1997 Micro Credit Summit, there is progress in reaching and empowering poor women.
REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY by two-thirds for children under five. Update: 11 million young children die every year. That number is down from 15 million in 1980.
IMPROVE MATERNAL HEALTH by reducing the rate of maternal mortality by three-quarters. In the developing world, the risk of dying in childbirth is one in 48. But virtually all countries now have safe motherhood programs. Will there be progress?
COMBAT HIV/AIDS, MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES by halting, and beginning to reverse, the spread of these diseases. Update: Killer diseases have erased a generation of development gains. Countries like Brazil, Senegal, Thailand and Uganda have shown that we can stop HIV in its tracks.
ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY by reducing by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, reversing the loss of environmental resources, and improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers (by 2020). Update: More than one billion people still lack access to safe drinking water; however, during the 1990s, nearly one billion people gained access to safe water and as many to sanitation.
DEVELOP A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT. Too many developing countries are spending more on debt service than on social services.