Global strategies: The Millennium Development goals

Millennium Development goals are a set of targets implemented by the world’s nations to fight against global poverty and inequality by 2015. There are eight achievable commitments to improve the wellbeing of the world’s poorest people.

The first goal is to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty.

  • To reduce the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day by ½ between 1990 and 2015.1
  • To reduce the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015.1
  • To provide job opportunities and employment for all.1

The second goal is to achieve universal primary education for children everywhere, regardless of gender, by 2015.1

The third goal is to promote gender equality and empower women by eliminating gender disparity in all levels of education by 2015.1

The fourth goal is reducing the under-five child mortality by 2/3 between 1990 and 2015.1

The fifth goal is improving maternal health.

  • The maternal mortality ratio is reduced by ¾ between 1990 and 2015.1
  • To achieve universal access to reproductive health.1

The sixth goal is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

  • To stop and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.1
  • Achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010.1
  • Stop and reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases by 2015.1

The seventh goal is to ensure environmental sustainability.

  • Halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.1
  • The integration of principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reversing the loss of environmental resources.1

The final goal is developing a global partnership for development by addressing the special needs of least developed countries.1 This goal allows development of open and non-discriminatory trading and financial system. Cooperation with private sectors to obtain  benefits of new and latest technologies, such as gaining information and communications. Last but not least, to cooperate with pharmaceutical companies to provide access to affordable essential drugs.

Challenges for the future

MDGs have achieved significant progress since 1990 where 700 million fewer people live in extreme poverty.  5.1 million more children, aged 5 years old or younger, survive each year since 1990.1

Despite these achievements, 1 billion people continue to suffer in poverty. Though more children are able to attend school now, there will still be a skewed distribution of access to early learning and secondary education globally.1 287,000 women who are mostly from those populations who are living in poverty still die from preventable and treatable pregnancy and birth complications.1 A significant number of children who die in their first day or month of life remains, with 6.9 million children under-five dying every year.1

These statistics show how different quality in life is in less developed nations compared to developed. Whilst we enjoy living in privileged countries, many communities and individuals continue to suffer from environments which they are essentially trapped in. Targeting social injustice in many nations will likely amplify the effect of the aid that is delivered by WHO under these goals.

It is clear that strategies that involve clear targets and timelines are important for giving us something to work towards. By providing a framework that is easy to understand and promote, WHO is allowing us to becoming better informed.



  1. Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (AU). Millennium Development Goals [Internet]. Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (AU); 2013 [updated 2013 Nov 21; cited 2014 Apr 1]. Available from:

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