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The Millennium Development Goals - Essay Example

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In 2000, 189 world leaders came together at the United Nations (UN) Summit to make a commitment to "free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected" (Millennium Campaign)…
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The Millennium Development Goals
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Download file to see previous pages And so, the UN was quick to distinguish the Goals from its predecessors (Millennium Campaign).
For one, says the UN, the MDGs are a "compact", with the distribution of responsibilities across the North-South divide made clear. Poor countries - the so-called "South" - must be more accountable, utilize its national resources more efficiently, and practice good governance all around. In return, the wealthier countries of "the North" will grant debt relief, pave the way for fair trade, and provide funding for national MDG campaigns, together with international finance institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as their regional counterparts, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The UN also notes that the world enjoys an unparalleled level of prosperity - hundreds of billions are being spent on the campaign against terrorism and on agricultural subsidy. Meanwhile, it has been estimated that, every year, the MDGs will require an additional US$50 billion in aid. The UN believes that sufficient resources are available to put an end to poverty.
The MDG signatories also designed the Goals to be time-bound. To monitor progress, each goal is broken down into 18 targets and 48 corresponding quantitative indicators. These serve as guideposts, especially at the national level, for preparation of country reports.
Finally, the UN firmly believes that the MDGs are "achievable" and deems that "to set the bar any lower than this would be morally unacceptable".
2007 MDG Report Reveals "Uneven" Results
In 2007, the UN released the much anticipated mid-point report. While it boasts of "visible and widespread gains", it also discloses that the overall results are "predictably, uneven" (UN, 2007, p.4). Progress for some of the goals is discussed below.
One of the targets of Goal 1 is to "halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than US$1 a day". From 1.25 billion in 1990, the number of people living in "extreme poverty" dropped to 980 million in 2004, benefiting mostly the poor people in Asia (UN, 2007, p.6).
At this rate, the UN is hopeful that this target will be achieved on the whole, despite a less rosy picture in Western Asia and in so-called "transition countries" in Eastern Europe and in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It also notes that any benefits from the improved economic situation are not shared equitably; in fact, the "share of national consumption" by the poorest 20 percent in developing countries even decreased. In other words, the poverty ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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