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MDG results

Improvement in many fields

by Sabine Balk

In brief

MDG success: the number of terrestrial and marine protected areas increased like in South Africa near the Cap of Good Hope.

MDG success: the number of terrestrial and marine protected areas increased like in South Africa near the Cap of Good Hope.

At the Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders adopted eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be achieved within 15 years. In 2015, the UN took stock on the basis of data from several UN organisations. Its main conclusions were published in the final MDG report of 2015.

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Extreme poverty declined significantly in the two decades before 2015. In 1990, nearly half of the people in developing countries lived on less than $ 1.25 a day. By 2015, that share was down to 14 %. Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined by more than half, falling from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015. The share of undernourished people was almost halved – from 23.3 % in 1992 to 12.9 % in 2016. The number of people in the working middle class – whose purchasing power per person is above four dollars – almost tripled between 1991 and 2015.

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
The net enrolment rate for primary schools reached 91 % for all developing countries, up from 83 % in 2000. Around the world, about 100 million children of primary-school age did not go to school in 2000. That number dropped to an estimated 57 million in 2015. The greatest improvements occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
In 2015, many more girls were in school than 15 years earlier. As a whole, the developing regions succeeded in eliminating gender disparity in primary, secondary and tertiary education. In Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. By 2015, 103 girls were enrolled for every 100 boys.

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
The global under-five mortality rate went down by more than half, dropping from 90 to 43 deaths per 1,000 live births from 1990 to 2015. The number of globally reported measles cases was reduced by 67 % in this period. In 2013, about 84 % of children worldwide received at least one dose of measles-containing vaccine. The respective figure for 2000 was 73 %.

Goal 5: Improve maternal health
From 1990 to 2015, the maternal mortality declined by 45 % worldwide. Globally, more than 71 % of births were assisted by skilled health personnel in 2014, an increase from 59 % in 1990.

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
The number of new HIV infections fell by approximately 40 % between 2000 and 2013. In June 2014, 13.6 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) internationally, a huge increase from just 800,000 in 2003. ART averted 7.6 million deaths from AIDS between 1995 and 2013. Over 6.2 million malaria deaths were prevented between 2000 and 2015, primarily of children under five years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. The global malaria incidence rate fell by an estimated 37 % and the mortality rate by 58 %. Between 2000 and 2013, tuberculosis prevention and treatment interventions saved an estimated 37 million lives. The tuberculosis mortality rate fell by 45 % and the prevalence rate by 41 % between 1990 and 2013.

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Terrestrial and marine protected areas in many regions have increased substantially since 1990. In Latin America and the Caribbean, coverage of terrestrial protected areas rose from 8.8 % to 23.4 % between 1990 and 2014. In 2015, 91 % of the world population had safe drinking water, compared with 76 % in 1990. While 147 countries met the drinking water target, 95 countries met the sanitation target, and 77 countries met both.

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Rich nations' official development assistance (ODA) increased by two thirds in real terms from 2000 to 2014, reaching $ 135.2 billion. In 2014, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom exceeded the UN target of spending 0.7 % of gross national income on ODA.

All summed up, the MDGs led to considerable progress around the world. To keep up the momentum, the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the follow-up agenda.)

Sabine Balk

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015:

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