The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 and nearly 190 countries have subsequently signed up to them.
The Goals range from halving global poverty and hunger to protecting the environment, improving health and sanitation and tackling illiteracy and discrimination against women.
They were introduced as part of a wider attempt to encourage the international community to stop talking about making a difference in the developing world and join forces to start doing something about it.
Alongside the Goals, a series of 18 targets were also drawn up to give the international community a number of tangible improvements to aim for within a fixed period of time, and also make it easier for them to measure their progress to date.
The intention is that almost all of these targets will be achieved by 2015. Unfortunately, while some significant progress is being made towards meeting some of the targets in some of the affected countries, in many cases progress is patchy, too slow or non-existent.
Although improvements have been made in many areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the number of people living in poverty there is still greater now than it was in 1990.
Where countries are committed to working together, making the necessary changes and providing adequate resources, a great deal can be achieved in a short space of time.
The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises that the Millennium Development Goals have a crucial part to play in reducing poverty and encouraging progress in the developing world. As a result, DFID has made them the main focus of all of its work.
The Eight Millennium Development Goals:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
For more information on the Millennium Development Goals please go to the UN
Millennium Development Goals website
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