The Millennium Development Goals: Two years to go, can we get there?

The foundation and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 gave hope to developing nations collapsing under the burden of poverty. The MDGs provided a framework and direction to address widespread development issues. Garnering international support, the MDGs generated excitement about the prospects for the 21st century. Both developed and developing states committed to the UN’s vision:

“We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected. We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.”[1]

The Millennium Declaration was a landmark display of global citizenship and also helps to set the direction of the United Nations.

However, the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is only two years away and approaching rapidly. International focus seems to have shifted towards ‘what comes next’, rather than pursuing a global push towards getting governments to make achieving the MDGs a key priority. A lot can be achieved in two years; assessing the gains and pinpointing where we are falling behind can help to guide the direction in the final stage of the 15-year target.

In his concluding address at the Millennium Summit, Kofi Annan stated,

It lies in your power, and therefore is your responsibility, to reach the goals that you have defined”.[2]

The MDGs are achievable, but only if the international community commit to keeping them at the forefront of the agenda. Can we get there?

Over the next few weeks, this series will look at the progress made towards the achievement of each goal. Some goals have experienced unprecedented advancements with solid prospects for achievement, while others seem woefully far off. Deeper insight can help identify where the problems lie and focus attention accordingly.

During the week, I will be investigating Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger.


Alice McDonald is an undergraduate student at Bond University, studying a double degree of Law and International Relations. She is also the current Secretary of BUUNSA.

[1] UN General Assembly. United Nations Millennium Declaration Resolution 55/2, 8September 2000, A/res/55/2 (2000).

[2] Annan, K. (2000, September). Closing Session of Millennium Summit Address. Address presented at the United Nations Millennium Summit, New York, NY.