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International goals

The Millennium Development Goals – a challenge for the future

The Millennium Development Goals

In September 2000, representatives from 189 countries, most of them heads of state or government, gathered in New York for what was then the largest summit in the history of the United Nations. At the end of the summit, they adopted what has become known as the Millennium Declaration. It describes the tasks that international policymakers face in the 21st century and defines four programmatic, interdependent areas of action for the international community:

  • Peace, security and disarmament
  • Development and poverty eradication
  • Protecting our common environment
  • Human rights, democracy and good governance

In the Millennium Declaration, the international community set out how it intends to tackle the key challenges at the dawn of the 21st century. The Declaration marked the start of a new global partnership for development.

Eight international development goals were subsequently derived from the Millennium Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were to be achieved by 2015:

  • MDG 1: Halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and hunger
  • MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education
  • MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
  • MDG 4: Reduce child mortality
  • MDG 5: Improve maternal health
  • MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases
  • MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
  • MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development

The MDGs were, and continue to be, an expression of a global consensus between developing countries, emerging economies and industrialised nations. They form a common, verifiable frame of reference for international development cooperation. The international community agreed to regularly review implementation of the Millennium Declaration. This was done, for example, at the Millennium+5 summit in 2005 and at the Millennium+10 summit in New York in September 2010.

In 2016, the Millennium Development Goals will be replaced by the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that were adopted at the UN summit in New York in September 2015.

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