The Millennium Development Goals, or MDG’s, are eight international development objectives that all 192 members of the United Nations and 23 international organizations have agreed to attain by the year 2015. The declaration to fulfill these goals was signed in 2000 at the Millennium Summit.
The eight goals are as follows:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Universal Education
- Gender Equity
- Child Health
- Maternal Health
- Combat HIV/AIDS and Other Diseases
- Environmental Sustainability
- Global Partnership
In order to meet these objectives, poorer countries have vowed to invest in their people through health care and education while wealthier nations have promised to support them by providing aid, debt relief, and fair trade.
All the above mentioned goals are important in order to improve the quality of life around the world. Universal Education stands out as the essential building block to an improved society and a higher standard of life for everybody. The impact of education on earnings and ultimately on poverty works extensively through the labor market, but can also contribute to productivity in other areas. In the labor market, higher wages for more educated people may result from higher productivity, but also from the fact that education may act as a signal of ability to employers, enabling the better educated to obtain more lucrative jobs. (Van der Berg 1-36) Research has confirmed that households with a higher level of education are less likely to be impoverished. Research has also confirmed that returns on education increase with the level of education. Thus, providing a solid base of fundamental knowledge for children from the very beginning will encourage advanced knowledge later in life, and ultimately will raise the wages earned throughout a person’s lifespan.
Education is crucial to the development and improvement of all nations, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger will have a huge effect on this as well. The objective of this goal is to reduce the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day by half. To facilitate the success of this goal, the UN has set a number of revised goals. Several of these are to increase regional and international cooperation on food security, reduce discrepancies in trade, ensure social safety nets in case of economic slowdowns, increase emergency food aid, encourage school feeding programs, and assist developing countries in switching from subsistence agriculture to a system that will provide more for the long-term. (Briny 1-8) In the past, strategies to reduce poverty have focused too much on the symptoms of hunger directly, such as providing food aid, rather than the foundation for the problems. Emphasis needs to be placed on not only poverty and how it affects hunger, but also the accessibility and affordability of food in poverty-ridden regions. Lack of access to foods, services, markets, and knowledge are all reasons why hunger still prevails. Achieving this goal, and eradicating hunger and poverty will enable people of poor regions to live a healthier and more productive life, and in turn will enable them to participate and play an active role in the world.
Very closely connected to eradicating poverty and hunger is child health. The children of the world are the future leaders that we need to rely on to keep the world turning. Strong, healthy, and well-educated children add to the security, economic growth and civil stability of nations. Keeping children healthy and strong is essential for a better tomorrow. In nations where poverty is rampant, one out of ten children dies before they reach the age of five. Because of this, the UN’s fourth Millennium Development Goal is committed to improving children’s health care in these areas. In many parts of the world, introduction of simple, cheap interventions have strongly targeted the major killers of infants and children. Highly effective and often “low-tech” solutions, as well as improvements in health delivery systems, have enabled rapid declines in child mortality to occur, even in developing countries. (Bryce 167-176) As a result, it is encouraging to see that with a little innovation and strategy, children’s health can be improved and the goal can be achieved.
The importance of environmental sustainability stretches globally. Without a healthy planet, human beings can’t thrive and prosper. Climate change and the exploitation of forests, land, water, and fisheries can drastically harm the poorest populations on the planet who rely on natural resources for their survival, as well as wealthier nations. Because of this, the UN’s target is to encourage environmental sustainability on a global scale. The targets for this goal include coordinating sustainable development into policies, changing of the diminishing environmental resources, minimizing the number of people without access to clean drinking water by half, and improving the lives of slum dwellers. Nations that disregard environmental issues are not only harming themselves, but are contributing to the harm of other nations who are actively reducing their impact on the environment. If everybody works together to reduce human impacts on the environment, all nations will benefit. Subsequently, the world will thrive, and in turn, the people of the world will thrive with it.
1. Briny , Amanda . “Millennium Development Goals.” (2008): 1-8. Web. 7 Mar 2011. <http://geography.about.com/od/politicalgeography/a/millenniumgoals.htm>.
2. Van der Berg, Servaas. UNESCO. Poverty and Education. Paris: International Institute of Educational Planning, 2008. Web. 7 Mar 2011. <http://www.iiep.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Info_Services_Publications/pdf/2009/EdPol10.pdf>.
3. Bryce , J. “The Importance Of Child Health .” (2008): 167-176. Web. 7 Mar 2011. <http://www.globalhealth.org/childhealth/>.
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