Millenium Development Goals Millenium Development Goals    
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The Millennium Development Goals commit the international community to an expanded vision of development, one that vigorously promotes human development as the key to sustaining social and economic progress in all countries, and recognizes the importance of creating a global partnership for development. The goals have been commonly accepted as a framework for measuring development progress.

Many of the targets of the MDGs were first set out by international conferences and summits held in the 1990s. They were later compiled and became known as the International Development Goals. (For a review of progress on the International Development Goals see In September 2000 the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration. Following consultations among international agencies, including the World Bank, the IMF, the OECD, and the specialized agencies of the United Nations, the General Assembly recognized the Millennium Development Goals as part of the road map for implementing the Millennium Declaration.

Achieving the MDGs by 2015 will require more focus on development outcomes and less on inputs, to effectively measure national progress towards meeting the MDGs, and to engage even more closely with our partners in helping governments improve human development. The goals establish yardsticks for measuring results, not just for developing countries but for rich countries that help to fund development programs and for the multilateral institutions that help countries implement them. The first seven goals are mutually reinforcing and are directed at reducing poverty in all its forms. The last goal-global partnership for development- is about the means to achieve the first seven. Many of the poorest countries will need additional assistance and must look to the rich countries to provide it. Countries that are poor and heavily indebted will need further help in reducing their debt burdens. And all countries will benefit if trade barriers are lowered, allowing a freer exchange of goods and services. 

For the poorest countries many of the goals seem far out of reach. Even in better-off countries there may be regions or groups that lag behind. Countries need to set their own strategies and work, together with the global partners, to ensure that poor people are included in the benefits of development. 

To view the full United Nations document on Millennium Development Goals  indicators' definitions, sources and methodology, click here.

A complete listing of the goals, targets, and indicators for MDGs

Goals and targets        Indicators
Goal 1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Target 1: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day 

Target 2: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger


Goal 2 Achieve universal primary education
Target 3: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
Goal 3 Promote gender equality and empower women
Target 4: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005 and in all levels of education no later than 2015
Goal 4 Reduce child mortality
Target 5: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
Goal 5 Improve maternal health
Target 6: Reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio

Goal 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
Target 7: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS


Target 8: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
Goal 7 Ensure environmental sustainability
Target 9: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and program and reverse the loss of environmental resources
Target 10: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
Target 11: Have achieved, by 2020, a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers
Goal 8 Develop a global partnership for development
Target 12: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, nondiscriminatory trading and financial system (includes a commitment to good governance, development, and poverty reduction—both nationally and internationally)

Some of the indicators listed below will be monitored separately for the least developed countries, Africa, landlocked countries, and small island developing states.


      Official development assistance

Target 13: Address the special needs of the least developed countries (includes tariff-and quota-free access for exports enhanced program of debt relief for HIPC and cancellation of official bilateral debt, and more generous ODA for countries committed to poverty reduction)



Target 14: Address the special needs of landlocked countries and small island developing states (through the Program of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and 22nd General Assembly provisions)


      Market access


Target 15: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term


      Debt sustainability

Target 16: In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth

Target 17: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries

Target 18: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications


* These indicators are proposed as additional MDG indicators, but have not yet been adopted.

(a) For monitoring country poverty trends, indicators based on national poverty lines should be used, where available.

(b) An alternative indicator under development is “primary completion rate.”

(c) Among contraceptive methods, only condoms are effective in preventing HIV transmission. Since the condom use rate is only measured among women in union, it is supplemented by an indicator on condom use in high-risk situations (indicator 19a) and an indicator on HIV/AIDS knowledge (indicator 19b). Indicator 19c (contraceptive prevalence rate) is also useful in tracking progress in other health, gender, and poverty goals.

(d) This indicator is defined as the percentage of 15- to 24-year-olds who correctly identify the two major ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV (using condoms and limiting sex to one faithful, uninfected partner), who reject the two most common local misconceptions about HIV transmission, and who know that a healthy-looking person can transmit HIV. However, since there are currently not a sufficient number of surveys to be able to calculate the indicator as defined above, UNICEF, in  collaboration with UNAIDS and WHO, produced two proxy indicators that represent two components of the actual indicator. They are the percentage of women and men ages 15–24 who know that a person can protect herself from HIV infection by “consistent use of condom,” and the percentage of women and men ages 15–24 who know a healthy-looking person can transmit HIV.

(e) Prevention to be measured by the percentage of children under age five sleeping under insecticide-treated bednets; treatment to be measured by percentage of children under age five who are appropriately treated.

(f) An improved measure of the target for future years is under development by the International Labour Organization.

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