Briefing Papers Number 1, February 2008

Number 1, February 2008 briefing paper The Millennium Development Goals: Reason for Hope, Call to Action by Eric Muñoz Undernourished People and the Millennium Development Goal Target 1990-92 1995-97 2001-03 2015: MDG Target Date 40 Percentage of Population 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Developing World Asia/ Pacific Latin America/ Caribbean Near East and North Africa Sub-Saharan Africa Source: The State of Food Security in the World, 2006, FAO. Key Points • The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent the consensus of the global community on the basic conditions needed to improve the lives and prospects of the world’s poorest people. • The MDGs set specific targets and measure progress along the way toward reaching those targets. • The MDGs require developing and developed countries to form a global partnership to reduce hunger and poverty around the world. • Developing countries are increasingly taking the lead in determining their own development agendas. • Developed countries need to follow through on their commitments—to increase development assistance to help achieve the MDGs and to ensure that their domestic policies support rather than undermine development efforts. • Citizens around the world are speaking up and holding their governments accountable so that the political will to achieve the MDGs remains strong. Eric Muñoz is a policy analyst for Bread for the World Institute. Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute educates its advocacy network, opinion leaders, policy makers and the public about hunger in the United States and abroad. Abstract The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent an unprecedented effort on the part of the world community to better the lives of hungry and poor people across the globe. Taken together, the MDGs serve as a comprehensive vision of human development—one marked by dignity, equality and opportunity for all. The goals commit all countries in a partnership to eradicate hunger and poverty, ensure that all children have access to a primary school education, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, promote gender equality, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and ensure environmental sustainability. The MDGs also require developed countries to provide additional development assistance, grant debt relief to low-income countries and reform global trade rules to promote sustainable development. By including measurable targets, the MDGs provide benchmarks to use in assessing progress and determining whether adjustments are needed in national and international strategies. The goals provide a framework for coordinating development efforts, and they build on decades of success in development programming around the world.