Global Policy Forum

General Analysis on the MDGs

Articles and Reports

2013 | 2011 | 2010 | 200920082005


MDG 8 fails to pass human rights audit (November 18, 2013)

In a new blog entry for rightingfinance, Aldo Caliari takes a deeper look into the human rights implications of the MDGs, MDG 8 to be more specific: "How much did MDG 8 respond to human rights imperatives and how far did its implementation go in promoting human rights? What historical and legal trends were the backdrop to MDG 8 and what hope can we bear for the future as the international community evaluates a potentially new generation of development goals?" and concludes: "Many of the problems with the current sorry state of implementation of Goal 8 could be addressed if its successor is in close alignment with the international human rights framework." (rightingfinance)


Globally Almost 870 Million Chronically Undernourished - New Hunger Report (October 9, 2012)

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 states that almost 870 million people are “chronically undernourished” – a new benchmark which may lower previous estimates. While the report indicates that the global number of hungry has declined over the past decades and that the Millennium Development Goal target is “within reach”, this global progress has slowed down over the recent years. The report notes in particular that the world economy after the recent financial crisis remains fragile, and continues to affect food insecurity and malnutrition. The report underlines that agricultural growth involving smallholders, especially women, will be most effective in reducing hunger. (FAO)

Time is Ripe for Breakthrough on child Mortality, Says Senior Unicef Official (August 28, 2012)

With 2015 around the corner, the UN is actively reviewing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Looking at MDG 4 and 5, UN health experts pinned down the countries and reasons why these goals may not be met. Although there has been significant progress made since the 1990s, millions of children are still dying of illnesses that are largely preventable. With 24 countries accounting for 80% of child deaths, the winning combination of effective intervention with affordable vaccines and medication, paired with education to promote simple healthy behavior, has the potential to succeed. (Guardian)

Global Poverty Rate Falling, Says UN (July 7, 2011)

Following the release of the Millennium Development Goals World Report 2011 on July 7th, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon noted that while the world is on track to end extreme poverty by 2015, progress is uneven. There is a growing socioeconomic gap, the poorest nations lag behind in achieving the MDGs, and the poor and marginalized are less likely to benefit from health improvements or economic development.  Ban realizes that there is a need to create a post-2015 development agenda, and has called for “equitable and inclusive growth.” Organizations such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization have also been asked to review their policies and find new ways to eradicate hunger worldwide. (Guardian)

Economy Experts Call on Asia to Lead the World in Reducing Poverty (June 13, 2011)

Since 2000, many Asian countries have experiences sustained economic growth while numerous Western developed nations have faced economic hardship. As such, Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Millennium Projects, highlights that Asia now has an increased opportunity and responsibility to work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The World Economic Forum in Indonesia demonstrated that Asian countries could contribute more to the MDG’s if they increased tax revenues as many countries are currently failing to meet their pledged 0.7% of gross national income towards aid. (Voice of America)

State of the World’s Midwifery 2011 (June 2011)

In this major report on midwifery in “resource poor” countries, the UNFPA and its partners make note of three alarming gaps: not only are there not enough midwives, but women can often not access necessary care and, finally, the competencies of midwives need to be upgraded. If these problems are appropriately addressed, an enormous number of stillbirths, newborn deaths and maternal deaths could be avoided. Additionally, the improvement of access to midwives can increase the healthcare for entire communities, which explains its centrality to three Millennium Development Goals (MDG 4, 5 an 6). (UNFPA)

MDG Poverty Goals May be Achieved, but Child Mortality is Not Improving (April 18, 2011)

The Millennium Development Goals have seen marked progress on a number of fronts. Still, targets for child mortality and other health indicators remain elusive despite efforts to solve intractable health issues in the developing world. Failed and fragile states have, not surprisingly, made the least headway on these fronts. (The Guardian)

The Economics of Value (January 17, 2011)

The new World Bank World Development Report argues that violence is the cause of poverty, rather than the reverse. The authors of the report highlight that justice and security deserve higher priority in the development of poor countries. This analysis seems to ignore income inequality that sparks violence. More importantly, it disregards the World Bank and IMFs role in scaling back institutional capacity during the era or structural reforms. Although this report is presented as groundbreaking, its logic largely fits in with neoliberal paradigms that emphasize security driving militarization. (The Economist)

Poor Countries with IMF Loans 'Divert Aid from Public Health' (January 17, 2011)

Poor countries that take loans from the IMF spend dramatically less on improving healthcare for their populations. IMF loan conditions restrict spending on health initiatives and allocate money to other uses. Consequently, countries that take IMF loans are less likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for human health. (The Guardian)

In Search of Buen Vivir (January 11, 2011)

GPF Europe's Jens Martens argues that the MDGs, although a good start for countries, are incomplete and lack an emphasis on holistic growth. Rather than focusing narrowly on material well-being, human development should be viewed in broader context. He is encouraged by new development paradigms which go further than merely increasing income growth and providing basic social services. (IPS)


Who Speaks for the Poor, And Why Does it Matter? (December 2010)

Poor people are largely excluded from official discussions on poverty such as the UN MDG process.  Of those who spoke at the MDG Summit Roundtables (September 20-22, 2010) forty-five speakers were from NGOs whereas only seven speakers were from people's organizations. In order to include grassroots groups, conference organizers should pay attention to representatives when drawing up agendas and time table.  Necessary resources must also be available. Some progress has been made on this front within the UN, notably after the food crisis of 2007, which opened up a political opportunity for engagement with small food producers' organizations. (UN Chronicle)

The MDG Summit Outcome Document (September 22, 2010)

By consensus, the General Assembly adopted the outcome document for the 2010 MDG Summit on September 22. The document includes an action agenda for how to reach the goals by the 2015 deadline. (United Nations)

Millennium Development Goals For The Rich?
(September 2010)

The MDGs create aims, indicators and timelines, and they acknowledge the great lack of food, shelter, healthcare and equality, but they lack an explanation of how the problems emerged in the first place. So they claim to promote laudable goals without challenging the status quo. Predictably, conservative institutions, like the World Bank and the IMF, do not take the MDGs seriously, referring to them in footnotes not at the center of policy statements. Powerful institutions want to seem to be eliminating poverty and hunger, but their actions do little to accomplish such aims. (Transnational Institute)

Green Economy (September 2010)

A new publication by the UNEP argues that intensifying investments in clean energy can accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. A "green economy" improves human well-being while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. For instance, sustainable agriculture and the provision of safe water are part of the seventh MDG but meeting these targets would also curb poverty and lower infant mortality rates, two separate MDGs. This new report emphasizes the interconnectedness of the MDGs and argues that a green economy can further progress on all of the MDGs. (UNEP)

A Fat Cat Tax for Lean Times (September 20, 2010)

So far only five of the countries that signed on for the MDG’s have held their promise to allocate 0, 7 % of their Gross National Income (GNI) to development aid. Skepticism is rising concerning the donor countries' will and ability to mobilize the financial means that to reduce global poverty. Some states are blaming the financial crisis, but they managed to spend trillions of dollors on the bailouts. Aggressively combating tax evasions is one way to find the money needed. The funding is there, but can the rich states share their wealth? (IPS)

Uneven Progress of UN Millennium Development Goals (September 19, 2010)

The UN Millennium Development Goals Summit this week will consider the progress of the 8 goals that are to be met by 2015. While poverty has fallen globally, progress has been uneven and most of the goals are off-target to meet the deadline. None of the G8 countries have met their commitment to donate 0.7 percent of their GNI, and this shortfall existed before the global financial crisis. Meanwhile, the aid that is given is not always effective due to donor restrictions or issues of governance. While the Summit will likely conclude that the MDGS can still be met by 2015, concrete steps and specific action plans are needed. (BBC)

UN Lagging in Water and Sanitation Development Goals (September 2, 2010)

Negotiators have not paid sufficient attention to water in the MDG negotioations. Water access and sanitation are basic preconditions if goals like reducing poverty and hunger by half in 2015 are going to be accomplished. Experts on water resources are now starting to talk about the crisis as a security concern and many say the current water crisis will be bigger than the problems brought on by "all the wars put together." Strong new approaches to water are needed for a successful MDG outcome. (IPS)

Gender Equality Goals Miss the Mark, Woman's Groups Say (August 24, 2010)

When it comes to women's rights, the UN fails to grasp the whole picture. Especially in attempting to improve women's political participation, the Millennium Development Goals are falling behind. With the September summit coming up, Amnesty International wants the UN to speak of gender issues in terms of human rights instead of women's rights. If inequality is not dealt with on a structural level, there is a risk that "the symptoms are being treated while the infection spreads." And if fundamental issues like empowerment through education are overlooked, a long-term substantial change in equality for women will be hard to achieve. (IPS)

Developing Nations Call for South-South Co-op to Achieve MDGs (August 3, 2010)

The South Center organized a conference for developing countries to discuss the benefits of increased cooperation. Working together would help develop trade links and create opportunities for countries to learn from the successes of each other's development strategies. Experts from developing countries are calling for more south-south cooperation and are emphasizing that developing countries use the MDG Summit in September as an opportunity for further coordination. (Xinhua News Agency)

GPF Exclusive Video Interview: Achieving the MDGs - A Gender Perspective (July 23, 2010)

With the MDG summit set to take place in September, questions are being raised as to whether the Millennium Development Goals will in fact be met by 2015. The global financial crisis is threatening international efforts to meet the 2015 MDG deadline, especially the goal to halve poverty. Moreover, the key indicators for women and girls are lagging. It is also clear that progress towards the MDGs will not be sustainable without the equal involvement of half the world's population. In order to refocus the UN's efforts on women, the General Assembly recently created a new structure for women's rights and empowerment called the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). GPF speaks to Barbara Adams, Senior Fellow at GPF and Former Chief of Strategic Partnerships at UNIFEM, about the challenges the new agency has to overcome and the role it can play in the achievement of the MDGs. (GPF)

Summary of Hearings with Civil Society (July 12, 2010)

The President of the UN General Assembly issued a summary of hearings held on June 14-15 with civil society organizations as input into the upcoming High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals. Civil society leaders raised many questions about the MDGs and urged UN member states to produce a strong document. They said that civil society organizations should have strong participation in accountability and oversight to achieve the MDGs. (NGLS)

Opening Remarks at Launch of 2010 MDG Report (June 23, 2010)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon painted a picture of mixed success at the release of the 2010 Millennium Development Goals report. In spite of the crises in finance, food and fuel, the world has seen reduction in the poverty rate overall, but, "improvements in the lives of the poor have been unacceptably slow." In an effort to generate renewed momentum for the anti-poverty goals in the run up to the 2015 deadline, the Secretary-General announced that he has established an MDG Advocacy Group composed of political leaders and other prominent figures. (UN News Center)

Renewing the Promise of Education for All (June 15, 2010)

The adoption of universal education programs has increased the number of African children attending school. However, there are still 43 million children in sub-Saharan Africa who do not have access to education. As the number of children in school is increasing, there is a widening gap in quality. Policies must address the inequalities that reserve the best resources and education for the wealthiest and leave other children with ill-equipped and poorly financed schools. (IPS)

Achieving the MDGs In Haiti: Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Agriculture (June 14, 2010)

The Presbyterian UN Office, together with the NGO Working Group on Food and Hunger, invited Chavannes Jean-Baptiste to speak to a New York audience on Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti. Chavannes has been on the front lines of struggle for Haitian farmers for many years as Head of the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) and Coordinator of the Joining Hands Initiative in Haiti. Chavannes founded the MPP in 1974 and has been the director for the past 34 years. Chavannes is also a founding member of La Via Campesina, the largest worldwide movement of farmers and peasants. (GPF)


MDGs - Keeping the Promise (June 2009)

In September 2010, the United Nations will convene heads of state and governments for a three day summit to discuss ways of achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. This draft outcome document has been prepared for initial negotiations. In June 14-15, civil society organizations provided input during hearings. This document - a hybrid Political Declaration and Action Plan for achieving the MDGs - was drafted by Denmark and Senegal. (United Nations)

The Millennium Development Goals Report (July 6, 2009)

The combined effect of the economic, climate and food crises puts the Millennium Development Goals well out of reach. While donor countries reduce their aid levels, developing countries wrestle with declining income, high food prices and climate deterioration. This UN report advocates a renew commitment to the MDGs in the context of a global economic recovery program. (United Nations)


The MDG Project in Crisis "Midpoint Review and Prospects for the Future" (September, 2008)

Jens Martens and Tobias Debiel point out that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are much less ambitious than previous international development goals. Even so, the UN, World Bank and NGOs agree that most countries will not achieve most of the MDGs on time. The authors further argue that the MDGs fail to deal with the structural root causes of poverty, such as unequal distribution of wealth, land and political power, as well as unfair global trade rules.(Institue for Developmet and Peace)


Millennium Development Goals Report 2005 (May 2005)

In preparation for the Millennium+5 Summit at the United Nations in September 2005, this report details the progress, or rather the lack of progress, toward the eight Millennium Development Goals, and how large an effort is needed to achieve them. The report represents the most comprehensive accounting to date on how far the world has come toward achieving these goals. While some countries are on track to achieving the goals, Sub-Saharan Africa lags far behind and will require unprecedented effort and action. (United Nations)

Report of the UN Millennium Project "Investing in Development" (February 2005)

After more than two years of work, the United Nations Millennium Project published its final report, "Investing in Development," in January 2005. This Global Policy Forum and Friedrich Ebert Foundationbriefing paper provides a more accessible analytical summary on the massive report and places it in a political context.

Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (January 17, 2005)

This report from the UN Millennium Projectlays out a comprehensive strategy for combating global poverty, hunger and disease. With an investment of just 0.5 % of their incomes, the industrialized countries can cut extreme poverty in half by 2015 – but they have to act right now.

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