The Millennium Development Goals – a challenge for the futureEnlarge image (© BMZ)
A world in which everyone can live a self-determined life in freedom, a world without poverty, violent conflicts and environmental degradation – international development policy has set itself the goal of coming closer to this ideal.
That is why the international community has marked out stages on the road to achieving jointly defined development goals in a number of agreements and treaties. They set the frame for global development cooperation. Germany was actively involved in all these international initiatives and German development cooperation fits seamlessly into this international policy framework.
The most important agreements will be outlined in the following.
The Millennium Development Goals – a challenge for the future
In September 2000 representatives from 189 countries, most of them heads of state and 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 politics faces in the 21st century and defines four programmatic, mutually influencing 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 it faces at the beginning 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):
- 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 international community set itself the goal of achieving the MDGs by 2015.
The MDGs were fleshed out into a total of 21 targets. In addition, each target was assigned indicators (60 in all) that will help to make progress made on achieving the MDGs measurable.
The first six MDGs specify targets that need to be implemented – with the help of donors – in developing countries. MDGs 7 and 8 more specifically address developed countries. They call on them to establish a framework that will make it easier for developing countries to implement their obligations under the Millennium Declaration. MDG 8 essentially requires that official development assistance (ODA) be increased to support the efforts undertaken by developing countries. Another objective is trade and debt facilitation.
The MDGs represent the global consensus reached between developing and developed countries and emerging economies. They form a common, verfiable frame of reference for international development cooperation. The international community has agreed to regularly review implementation of the Millennium Declaration. Reviews were, for instance, undertaken at the Millennium+5 summit in September 2005 and at the Millennium+10 summit in September 2010 in New York.