In 2000, the United Nations created 8 Millennium Development Goals that they wanted to achieve by the year 2015.
The goals are:
- Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
- Achieving universal primary education,
- Promoting gender equality and empowering women,
- Reducing child mortality rates,
- Improving maternal health,
- Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases,
- Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
- Developing a global partnership for development.
As of March 2013, here’s what’s been accomplished:
- Goal 1: The target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half was met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline.
- Goal 2: Enrollment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999, which means more kids than ever are attending primary school.
- Goal 3: Gender gaps in youth literacy rates are narrowing. Globally, there were 95 literate young women for every 100 young men in 2010, compared with 90 women in 1990. The ratio between the enrollment rate of girls and that of boys grew from 91 in 1999 to 97 in 2010 for all developing regions.
- Goal 4: Despite population growth, the number of deaths in children under five worldwide declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011, which translates into about 14,000 fewer children dying each day.
- Goal 5: Maternal mortality has nearly halved since 1990. An estimated 287,000 maternal deaths occurred in 2010 worldwide, a decline of 47 per cent from 1990.
- Goal 6: New HIV infections continue to decline in the hardest-hit regions. Access to treatment for people living with HIV increased in all regions. At the end of 2011, 8 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV or AIDS in developing regions. This total constitutes an increase of over 1.4 million people from December 2009, and the largest one-year increase ever. The global estimated incidence of malaria has decreased by 17 per cent since 2000, and malaria-specific mortality rates by 25 per cent. Countries with improved access to malaria control interventions saw child mortality rates fall by about 20 per cent. Thanks to increased funding, more children are sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa. The anti-tuberculosis drive is closing in on a 50 per cent cut in the 1990 death rate and more TB patients are being successfully treated.
- Goal 7: Forest area increase in Asia is helping to slow, but not reverse, global losses worldwide. In the 25 years since the adoption of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, there has been a reduction of over 98 per cent in the consumption of ozone-depleting substances. More areas of the earth’s surface are protected. Since 1990, protected areas have increased in number by 58 per cent. The world has met the target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water, five years ahead of schedule. Between 1990 and 2010, more than two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources. The proportion of people using an improved water source rose from 76 per cent in 1990 to 89 per cent in 2010. The share of urban slum residents in the developing world declined from 39 per cent in 2000 to 33 per cent in 2012. More than 200 million of these people gained access to improved water sources, improved sanitation facilities, or durable or less crowded housing, thereby exceeding the MDG target.
All these things happen because people gave their time, talent, and money to fixing these problems. Give, because look how far we’ve come with what we’ve done so far. But there is still much to be done.
There are still 1 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day, 61 million children out of school, 2.5 billion lack access to improved sanitation facilities, and women still struggle against violence access to education, work and economic assets, and participation in government. But look how far we’ve come. We’ve just gotta keep giving!