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The eight Millennium Development Goals comprise 18 targets and 48 indicators. Where possible, the targets are given as quantified, time-bound values for specific indicators. This section will discuss issues related to achieving the goals from two angles:  the likelihood of countries reaching the goals and the cost of achieving the goals.

For a complete listing of the goals, targets, and indicators click here

How many countries are likely to reach the Millennium Development Goals?
Much depends on whether the progress in the past decade can be sustained—or accelerated in countries falling behind. A set of charts  show the prospects of low-and middle-income countries for reaching six of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals. Maps  display assessments of the current situation of different regions using various indicators. 

These assessments are based on performance. They are not final verdicts, but they are a warning. Too many countries are falling short of the goals or lack the data to monitor progress. Now is the time to take actions to accelerate progress, not 5 or 10 years from now.  

What resources are needed to achieve the MDGs?
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set quantitative targets for poverty reduction and improvements in health, education, gender equality, the environmental and other aspects of human welfare. At existing rates of progress many countries will fall short of these goals. However, if developing countries take steps to improve their policies and increased financial resources are made available, significant additional progress towards the goals is possible. 

To obtain an estimation of the cost to achieve the MDGs is not an easy exercise, not merely because many mutually interdependent factors come into play in determining such cost. Various efforts have been made, one by a team in the World Bank, to provide an estimated scale of additional resources required to achieve the goals. According to the study in “Goals for Development: History, Prospects and Costs” paper, $40-$70 billion additional assistance per year would be needed. The amount would roughly represent a doubling of official aid flows over 2001 levels. 

For more papers and research on costing issues, go to Research and Country Studies.

The most important factors in determining the cost of achieving the goals are country policies and the environment they create. Without sound policies and the ability to implement them effectively, additional assistance will not lead to faster progress. This is why the development effort to reach the MDGs is most effective when developing countries and the donors are both committed to effective development strategies. Besides increased financial assistance, there are other things rich countries can do to help developing countries achieve the goals. These are included in Goal 8 – Develop a global partnership for development  – as targets to be met by the rich countries. 


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