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  • At the beginning of the new millennium, world leaders gathered at the United Nations to shape a broad vision to fight poverty in its many dimensions. That vision got translated into eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


  • The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that all 191 UN member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000 commits world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. The MDGs are derived from this Declaration, and all have specific targets and indicators.
  • The millennium development goals have targeted eight key areas – poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, disease, the environment and global partnership. Each goal is supported by 21 specific targets and more than 60 indicators.



  • To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
  • To achieve universal primary education;
  • To promote gender equality and empower women;
  • To reduce child mortality;
  • To improve maternal health;
  • To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
  • To ensure environmental sustainability; and
  • To develop a global partnership for development.


Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

  • Extreme poverty has declined significantly over the last two decades. In 1990, nearly half of the population in the developing world lived on less than $1.25 a day; that proportion dropped to 14 per cent in 2015.
  • The proportion of undernourished people in the developing regions has fallen by almost half since 1990, from 23.3 per cent in 1990–1992 to 12.9 per cent in 2014–2016.

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

  • The primary school net enrolment rate in the developing regions has reached 91 percent in 2015, up from 83 per cent in 2000.
  • The number of out-of-school children of primary school age worldwide has fallen by almost half, to an estimated 57 million in 2015, down from 100 million in 2000.
  • The literacy rate among youth aged 15 to 24 has increased globally from 83 percent to 91 per cent between 1990 and 2015.

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

  • Between 1991 and 2015, the proportion of women in vulnerable employment as a share of total female employment has declined 13 percentage points. In contrast, vulnerable employment among men fell by 9 percentage points.
  • Women have gained ground in parliamentary representation in nearly 90 per cent of the 174 countries. The average proportion of women in parliament has nearly doubled during the same period.


Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

  • The global under-five mortality rate has declined by more than half, dropping from 90 to 43 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1990 and 2015.
  • Since the early 1990s, the rate of reduction of under-five mortality has more than tripled globally.
  • Measles vaccination helped prevent nearly 15.6 million deaths between 2000 and 2013. The number of globally reported measles cases declined by 67 per cent for the same period.

Goal 5: Improve maternal HEALTH

  • Since 1990, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 45 per cent worldwide, and most of the reduction has occurred since 2000.
  • In Southern Asia, the maternal mortality ratio declined by 64 per cent between 1990 and 2013, and in sub-Saharan Africa it fell by 49 per cent.
  • Contraceptive prevalence among women aged 15 to 49, married or in a union, increased from 55 per cent in 1990 worldwide to 64 per cent in 2015.



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

  • New HIV infections fell by approximately 40 per cent between 2000 and 2013, from an estimated 3.5 million cases to 2.1 million.
  • Between 2000 and 2013, tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment interventions saved an estimated 37 million lives. The tuberculosis mortality rate fell by 45 per cent and the prevalence rate by 41 per cent between 1990 and 2013.

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

  • Ozone-depleting substances have been virtually eliminated since 1990, and the ozone layer is expected to recover by the middle of this century.
  • Terrestrial and marine protected areas in many regions have increased substantially since 1990.
  • In 2015, 91 per cent of the global population is using an improved drinking water source, compared to 76 per cent in 1990.
  • The proportion of urban population living in slums in the developing regions fell from approximately 39.4 per cent in 2000 to 29.7 per cent in 2014.

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

  • Official development assistance from developed countries increased by 66 per cent in real terms between 2000 and 2014, reaching $135.2 billion.
  • The proportion of external debt service to export revenue in developing countries fell from 12 per cent in 2000 to 3 per cent in 2013.
  • As of 2015, 95 per cent of the world’s population is covered by a mobile-cellular signal.
  • Internet penetration has grown from just over 6 per cent of the world’s population in 2000 to 43 per cent in 2015. As a result, 3.2 billion people are linked to a global network of content and applications.


  • Gender inequality persists: Women continue to face discrimination in access to work, economic assets and participation in private and public decision-making. Women are also more likely to live in poverty than men. Women remain at a disadvantage in the labour market. Globally, about three quarters of working-age men participate in the labour force, compared to only half of working-age women.
  • Big gaps exist between the poorest and richest households, and between rural and urban areas: In the developing regions, children from the poorest20 per cent of households are more than twice as likely to be stunted as those from the wealthiest 20 per cent. Children in the poorest households are four times as likely to be out of school as those in the richest households. Under-five mortality rates are almost twice as high for children in the poorest households as for children in the richest.
  • Climate change and environmental degradation undermine progress achieved, and poor people suffer the most: Global emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by over 50 per cent since 1990. Addressing the unabated rise in greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting likely impacts of climate change, such as altered ecosystems, weather extremes and risks to society, remains an urgent, critical challenge for the global community.
  • Conflicts remain the biggest threat to human development: By the end of 2014, conflicts had forced almost 60 million people to abandon their homes—the highest level recorded since the Second World War. Children accounted for half of the global refugee population under the responsibility of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2014. In countries affected by conflict, the proportion of out-of-school children increased from 30 per cent in1999 to 36 per cent in 2012. Fragile and conflict-affected countries typically have the highest poverty rates.
  • Millions of poor people still live in poverty and hunger, without access to basic services. Despite enormous progress, even in 2015, about 800million people still live in extreme poverty and suffer from hunger. Over 160 million children under age five have inadequate height for their age due to insufficient food. Almost half of global workers are still working in vulnerable conditions, rarely enjoying the benefits associated with decent work.