What are MDGs?

MDG stands for Millennium Development Goals and is a set of eight international goals for development with the aim of achieving them by 2015. These have been agreed upon by all the United Nations member states and other international organisations.

The reason for coming up with these goals was to improve conditions in some of the worlds poorest countries. The goals cover a number of social and economic issues. They were established at the Millennium summit in 2000 and came from the Millennium Declaration produced by the United Nations:

“every individual has the right to dignity, freedom and quality; as basic standard of living that includes freedom from hunger and violence and encourages tolerance and solidarity”.

The Millennium Development Goals are targets that were set up to try to achieve the statements of the Millennium Declaration. They focus on three main areas of humanity; bolstering human capital, improving infrastructure, and increasing social, economic and political rights.

The eight MDGs and an explanation of each are below:

MDG 1 – to eradicated extreme poverty and hunger

The target is to halve the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day. This includes achieving decent employment opportunities for all, including women and young people. Halving the proportion of people worldwide who suffer with hunger is another aim of this goal.

MDG 2 – to ensure that all children complete a full course of primary schooling

Increasing the numbers that enrol in primary education is obviously key to improving the education of children, but it is also about what happens after. As well as improving the numbers who enrol, increasing the numbers who continue through their primary education is also important. It is hoped that this will go a long way to improving literacy among 15-24 year olds in the long run.

MDG 3 – to promote gender equality and empower women

For any balanced society it is important that the two genders are equal and have equal opportunities. In many of the poorer parts of the world women are significantly disadvantaged. The aim of the fourth development goal is to eradicate this discrepancy. This includes educational opportunities, both in primary education and beyond. It also means more women being employed in non-agricultural sectors and more women in parliament.

MDG 4 – to reduce child mortality

A specific target here is a two thirds reduction in the mortality rate among children under the age of five. This includes reducing infant mortality rates and increasing the proportion of 1 year old children immunised against measles.

MDG 5 – to improve maternal health

In some parts of the world the poor quality of maternal health is a serious issue. MDG 5 aims for a three quarter reduction in the ratio of maternal mortalities. It is hoped that there will be an increase in births that are attended by skilled health professionals and this should reduce maternal health dangers. Another part of this goal is the increase in the availability of contraception as well as general improvements in family planning. Births amongst adolescent parents should therefore fall. Improved antenatal care in another target.

MDG 6 – to combat HIV, AIDS, Malaria and other diseases

This goal is split into two areas; HIV and AIDS, and Malaria and other diseases.

With HIV and AIDS the first objective is to halt the current increase that is being seen in the numbers contracting HIV and AIDS. Once this has been achieved reducing the numbers contracting it is the next step. 15-24 year olds are specifically being targeted as a key group. If they don’t contract HIV or AIDS then they can’t pass it onto their children. Mothers passing the decease onto their children is one of the highest causes. Contraception is one of the most important, if not the most important, ways of preventing HIV and AIDS. Increasing condom use is therefore a key part of this goal. Improving knowledge, including knowledge of the risks, is also seen as important, especially among 15-24 year olds.

Malaria is another one of the main killers in terms of decease in developing countries. To help reduce related deaths the use of bednets is important. It is hoped that the number of children under 5 with fever who are treated with anti-Malaria drugs in increased. Another key disease is tuberculosis.

MDG 7 – to ensure environmental sustainability

To help environmental sustainability it is important to integrate the principles of sustainable development into national policies and programmes and to reverse the loss of environmental resources. Millennium Development Goals 7 aims to reduce biodiversity loss. This includes reversing the trend for deforestation, reducing CO2 admissions, setting safe biological limits for fishing, reducing water resource being used unnecessarily, and further protection of endangered species. It is hoped the proportion of the population who don’t have access to drinking water is halved and the population using improved sanitation facilities is increased. Another aim is to significantly improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.

MDG 8 – to develop a global partnership for development

The final goal is to develop an open, non-discriminatory trading and financial system. This includes addressing the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island development states. Dealing with debt problems of developing countries is also important.

Andrew Marshall (c)