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Millennium Development Goals: The race to 2015

Drilling wells — like this one in Robata Pariyan, Afghanistan — is part of World Vision's effort toward the Millennium Development Goals.  Photo: ©2013 Narges Ghafary/World Vision

Drilling wells — like this one in Robata Pariyan, Afghanistan — is part of World Vision’s effort toward the Millennium Development Goals.
Photo: ©2013 Narges Ghafary/World Vision

Since 2000, 193 countries — all the U.N. member states — have been working together with a common purpose: to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Eight goals are designed to fight worldwide hunger, disease, lack of education, gender inequality, and other problems associated with deep poverty. These global goals provide a framework for governments and organizations like World Vision to work together to level the playing field for all the world’s citizens. Each goal has several targets; some were surpassed years ago, but progress has been slow with others. With just months left before the 2015 deadline, here’s a glance at where the MDGs stand worldwide.

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

The good: One target — to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25/day — was met in 2010, five years before the deadline.

The bad: 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty.

2. Promote gender equality and empower women

The good: Equality was achieved between boys and girls enrolled in primary school.

The bad: Only wo of 130 countries have achieved that target in primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education.

3. Achieve universal primary education

The good: Enrollment rates reached 90% in 2010, up from 82% in 1999.

The bad: Worldwide, 57 million children of primary school age (5 to 11) were out of school in 2011.

4. Reduce child mortality

The good: Today, 17,000 fewer children die each day than in 1990; and since 200, more than 10 million deaths were averted due to measles vaccines.

The bad: One sub-Saharan African child in 10, and one southern Asian child in 16, dies before age 5.

5. Improve maternal health

The good: At 47%, the maternal mortality rate is nearly halved since 1990, and all regions made progress.

The bad: Accelerated interventions are needed to meet the three-fourths target.

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

The good: New HIV infections continue to decline in most regions; tuberculosis treatment saved about 20 million lives between 1995 and 2011; and malaria deaths declined by 1.1 million between 2000 and 2010.

The bad: There are still 2.5 million new HIV infections each year.

7. Ensure environmental sustainability

The good: One target — to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water — was met in 2010, five years ahead of schedule.

The bad: Lack of sanitation is still high. Though 1.9 billion people gained access to a latrine, flush toilet, or other improved sanitation facility from 1990 to 2011, accelerated efforts are needed to reach another 1 billion people before the deadline.

8. Develop a global partnership for development

The good: In 2011, mobile cellular subscriptions reached 6 billion worldwide; access to essential medicines in developing countries also increased.

The bad: Need to continally address the needs of least developed countries, landlocked developing nations, fragile states, and small island developing countries.

Find more information about the Millennium Development Goals at UN.org.

This update originally posted at World Vision magazine.

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