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Millennium Development Goals and Beyond

Thinking about how to solve the issues discussed in this text can be overwhelming. The scope of the issues and their interlinking nature can create a hydra’s head: When one problem appears to be solved, two more grow to takes its place. But it is precisely the interlinking nature of these issues that can lead to solutions. By examining the root causes of these issues and addressing them, the problem can be addressed before it grows.

The Millennium Development Goals (see Box 9.1) were developed in 2000 by the United Nations in an attempt to address the primary issues and provide a roadmap to solutions. The goals were derived from the UN’s Millennium Declaration, which affirmed a collective responsibility for global equality and equity and was signed by 189 nations (UNDP, n.d.). The Millennium Development Goals set clear and precise targets for achieving the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration by 2015. While previously, development goals tended to focus on economic growth, these goals focus on social development (UNDP, 2003). They also are aligned with the human rights guaranteed by the UDHR (UNDP, 2003). The goals are connected in that the achievement of one makes it easier to achieve the others. As noted throughout this text, poverty, lack of education, and discrimination are risk factors for many social problems, and therefore reducing them can reduce other issues as well. The targets to meet these goals were altered slightly in 2007 to add four new targets (United Nations Statistical Division, n.d.). Overall, there is much

BOX 9.1 The UN Millennium Development Goals

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

  • • Reduce by half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty.
  • • Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
  • • Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

• Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary education.

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

• Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

• Reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate among children under five.

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

  • • Reduce by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio.
  • • Achieve universal access to reproductive health.

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

  • • Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • • Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it.
  • • Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

  • • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.
  • • Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss.
  • • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
  • • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

  • • Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, nondiscriminatory trading and financial system.
  • • Address the least developed countries' special needs.
  • • Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing states.
  • • Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term.
  • • In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.
  • • In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies— especially information and communication technologies.

to celebrate regarding achievement of these goals, although there is also much more work to be done.

The primary responsibility for the achievement of Goals 1-7 lies within these nations themselves, although wealthier nations play a part in helping to achieve these goals, as demonstrated in Goal 8. In addition to sharing knowledge and technology such as water purification and advanced medicines, the wealthier nations must also examine the structures that make it difficult for other nations to develop, such as trade policies and debt.

Modernization theory states that more industrialized nations can give aid to other countries to help them develop. However, although the nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, primarily nations in the Global North) have pledged to donate 0.7% of their gross national income to the countries in the Global South to help them develop, the vast majority do not. Five countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden) currently meet the 0.7% target. The United States, although its aid increased markedly under President George W. Bush, still donates only 0.2% of gross domestic product and has set no plans to meet the target (United Nations, 2012; United Nations Statistics Division, 2012).

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