The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
- Document

This report is about a simple idea whose time has come: the Millennium Development Goals. Born of the historic Millennium Declaration adopted by 189 countries at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, these eight goals — ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to enrolling all boys and girls everywhere in primary school by 2015 — are transforming development. Governments, aid agencies and civil society organizations everywhere are reorienting their work around the goals.

But despite these welcome commitments in principle to reducing poverty and advancing other areas of human development, in practice — as this report makes very clear — the world is already falling short. For some of the goals, much of the world is on track. But when progress is broken down by region and country and within countries, it is clear that a huge amount of work remains. More than 50 nations grew poorer over the past decade. Many are seeing life expectancy plummet due to HIV/AIDS. Some of the worst performers — often torn by conflict — are seeing school enrolments shrink and access to basic health care fall. And nearly everywhere the environment is deteriorating...

...This report also sets out a Millennium Development Compact. Building on the commitment that world leaders made at the 2002 Monterrey conference on financing for development to forge a “new partnership between developed and developing countries” — a partnership aimed squarely at implementing the Millennium Declaration — the Compact provides a broad framework for how national development strategies and international support from donors, international agencies and others can be both better aligned and commensurate with the scale of the challenge of the goals. And the Compact puts responsibilities squarely on both sides: requiring bold reforms from poor countries and obliging donor countries to step forward and support those efforts...

As this report makes clear, the goals not only support human development, they are also achievable with the right policies and sufficient resources. But the real power of the goals is political. They are the first global development vision that combines a global political endorsement with a clear focus on, and means to engage directly with, the world’s poor people...Now, with democracy spreading across the developing world, poor people can finally do more than care.

...While the main focus of the Millennium Development Compact is the first seven goals and how they apply to developing countries, it is no exaggeration to say that the overall success or failure of the new global partnership the world is trying to build will hinge on achieving the eighth goal: the one that sets out the commitments of rich countries to help poor ones who are undertaking good faith economic, political and social reforms.

A key conclusion of this report is that while re-allocating and mobilizing more domestic resources towards targets related to the goals, strengthening governance and institutions and adopting sound social and economic policies are all necessary to achieve the goals, they are far from sufficient...

Long-term initiatives to halve hunger and poverty will fail without fundamental restructuring of the global trade system — particularly in agriculture — that includes rich countries dismantling subsidies, lowering tariffs and levelling the playing field. The fight against HIV/ AIDS, malaria and other diseases will be lost without effective supplies of affordable, essential drugs to poor countries. Stable, long-term fiscal planning will be impossible for some of the poorest countries without more systematic, sustained debt relief. And last, but by no means least, it is important to remember that estimates of an additional $50 billion a year in development assistance to meet the goals are a minimum — and assume large-scale re-allocations of and better access to domestic resources and other sources of finance.

If the fundamental vision of the goals as a means of better managing globalization on behalf of poor people is to be met, the goals need to be seen as an indivisible package. It is a package that holds unprecedented promise for improving human development around the world — and a promise that every country has pledged to keep. The challenge is to hold countries to their promises and help them reach the goals.

Email This Page