United Nations Development Programme

Basic Facts about MDGs

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide concrete, measurable benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions. The MDGs also provide a framework for the international community to work together and ensure that human development reaches everyone, everywhere. If these goals are achieved, world poverty will be cut by half, tens of millions of lives will be saved, and billions more people will have the opportunity to benefit from the global economy.


Review of MDG progress

A decade after the Millennium Declaration, UNDP ascertains undeniable progress on some MDGs in many countries. There have been noticeable reductions in poverty globally, significant improvements in enrolment and gender parity in schools, reductions in child and maternal mortality and increasing HIV treatments. Important steps have also been taken towards ensuring environmental sustainability and developing countries are incorporating the MDGs into their development strategies.

While the share of poor people is declining, the absolute number of the poor in South Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa is nevertheless increasing. In addition, rapid reductions in poverty are not necessarily addressing gender equality and environmental sustainability. Moreover, lack of progress in reducing HIV infection is curtailing improvements in both maternal and child mortality, and the expansion of health and education services is not always matched by quality.

MDG progress is also threatened by the combination of high food prices and the impact of the international financial and economic crisis. Sustained poverty and hunger reduction is at risk because of agriculture vulnerability to climate change, limited investments in increasing land productivity, global discrepancies regarding tariffs and land-related subsidies, all these in the framework of steady population growth, changing nutrition habits and urbanization, as well as a general weak institutional capacity in conflict and post-conflict countries.

The 2010 MDG Review Summit was an opportunity to recognize the vital role of the United Nations in supporting governments to achieve the MDGs. Focusing on the pragmatic steps that can be taken in the next five years, UNDP has developed an MDG Acceleration Framework drawing on the past decade's evidence base.

The framework provides a systematic way for countries to develop their own action plan based on existing processes, to pursue their MDG priorities. It also helps governments to focus on disparities and inequalities, two of the major causes of uneven progress, by addressing the needs of the vulnerable social groups. This framework lies at the heart of UNDP's strategy that puts the entire organization and resources behind the UN effort to accelerate MDG progress.

Page last updated on 18/04/2011
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