The Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) are eight international development goals that all 193
United Nations member states have agreed to achieve by the year 2015.
The goals are:
- eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
- achieving universal primary education,
- promoting gender equality and empowering women,
- reducing child mortality rates,
- improving maternal health,
- combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases,
- ensuring environmental sustainability, and
- developing a global partnership for development.
Each of the goals has specific
stated targets and dates for achieving those targets. The MDGs were
developed out of the eight chapters of the Millennium Declaration,
signed in September 2000. There are eight goals with 21 targets, and
a series of measurable indicators for each target.
In March 2010, the UN
Secretary-General presented his MDG
Progress Report, in which he indicated that if nations deliver on
their financial commitments, the world can still achieve the MDGs. He
said that "falling short of the MDGs would be an unacceptable
failure, moral and practical”.
We know it can be done:
The Millennium Development Goals are
unique in many powerful ways: They represent an explicit agreement
between all the world’s major economic players, with poor countries
pledging to improve policies and governance and increase
accountability to their own citizens, and wealthy countries pledging
to provide the necessary resources. For the first time, entire
governments are committed to the achievement of a jointly agreed
recipe to end global poverty.
And for the first time, governments
have agreed to measure their performance. The Goals are not just
lofty statements of intent: precise monitoring mechanisms have been
put in place, in the form of national Millennium Goals reports and
the Secretary General’s reports to the General Assembly.
The Goals are clearly achievable.
Individual Goals have already been achieved by many countries in the
space of only 10-15 years. Countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania,
Bangladesh, Nepal, The Gambia, Rwanda, Eritrea, Malawi, Mozambique,
Niger, Honduras, Egypt, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa or Vietnam have
achieved remarkable success in getting on track to meet certain
Goals, often in the face of extreme poverty, war, natural disasters
and other major challenges.
The Millennium Development Goals can
be met in every nation. Governments must simply make the achievement
of the Goals a priority, invest the necessary resources and ensure
accountability to their citizens.
Ireland has an obligation:
Ireland signed up to the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) at the Millennium Summit in September 2000,
as world leaders came together in a landmark moment to insist that
they would not tolerate the extreme inequality in the world and would
do all in their power to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
Through the MDGs, they created an unprecedented shared framework to
eradicate extreme poverty through coordinated global action.
In support of the MDGs, Ireland
pledged to increase its overseas aid (Official Development Assistance
- ODA), so that we would reach the UN target of spending 0.7% of
national income on overseas aid. Since the Millennium Summit, Ireland
has repeatedly stated its support for the MDGs, and it is showing
leadership in relation to HIV and AIDS, hunger and aid
Building on the assumption that “business as usual” will not get us to the Goals by 2015, this year we all have to assess our own contributions to make the MDG a reality.