GRIPS Development Forum > Diversifying PRSP > ch2. Global Development Trend and PRSP

Millennium Development Goals

In September 2000, the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly concluded on an historic note, with the adoption of the Millennium Declaration. This Declaration collectively committed their governments to work to free the world of extreme poverty. Towards that end, it endorsed the following International Development Goals for 2015: to cut in half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, of those who are hungry, and of those who lack access to safe drinking water; to achieve universal primary education and gender equality in education; to accomplish a three-fourths decline in maternal mortality and a two-thirds decline in mortality among children under five; to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and to provide special assistance to AIDS orphans; and to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers.

Source: [Zedillo et al. 2001, Executive Summary p.1.]

How the MDGs were born and how are they developed? [see also Table: Building International Consensus on Poverty Reduction from 1990 to Date in Box: PRSP]
  • The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) grew out of the agreements and resolutions of world conferences organized by the United Nations in the 1990s.
  • Especially, MDGs succeed the International Development Goals (IDGs), formulated based on DAC's "Shaping the 21st century: The Contribution of Development Co-operation," published in May 1996.
  • MDGs included the latest development issues such as debt relief, partnership and economic growth through trade and investment, etc.

Formulation Process

  • In September 2000, the Millennium Summit adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration which comprises eight areas: I. Value and Principles, II. Peace, Security and Disarmament, III. Development and Poverty Eradication, IV. Environment, V. Human Rights, Democracy and Good Governance, VI. Protecting the Vulnerable, VII. Special Needs of Africa , and VIII. Strengthening the UN.
  • As follow-up to the Millennium Declaration, especially towards the achievement of the third target, "Development and Poverty Eradication," the Report of the Secretary-General was compiled, based on consultations among members of the UN secretariat and representatives of the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD. The report indicates a set of targets and relevant indicators [UN Secretary-General, 2001].
What are the MDGs?
The eight goals of MDGs comprise 18 targets and 48 indicators. The first seven goals are mutually reinforcing and directed at reducing poverty in all its forms. The last goal, "global partnership for development" is about the means to achieve the first seven [see Table below].

Table: Millennium Develpment Goals (MDGs)
Goal 1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Halve, between 1990 and 2015:
the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day;
the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

Goal 2 Achieve universal primary education

By 2015: Ensure that all children be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

Goal 3 Promote gender equality and empower women

Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education. preferably by 2005 and in all levels of education. no later than 2015.

Goal 4 Reduce child mortality

Between 1990 and 2015:Reduce by 2/3 the under-five mortality rate.

Goal 5 Improve maternal health

Between 1990 and 2015:Reduce by 3/4 the maternal mortality ratio.

Goal 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse: the spread of HIV/AIDS; the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and program and reverse the loss of environmental resources;

Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water;

Have achieved, by 2020, a significant Improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Trade: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, nondiscriminatory trading and financial system.

Official development assistance: Address the special needs of the least developed countries.

Market access: Address the special needs of landlocked countries and small island developing states.

Debt sustainability: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries in order to make debt sustainable in the long term.


  • Develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth.
  • Provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries.
  • Make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.

Source: MDGs Website

Why have the MDGs been commonly accepted as a framework for development?
MDGs have been formulated with broad support and acceptance from both developing and developed countries, as well as international development agencies including International Financial Institutions (IFIs).

MDGs are result-oriented with quantitative analysis. They provide measurable results and monitoring, not just for developing countries but also for developed countries and international development agencies.

Potentially, they can play an important role in strengthening donor coordination.

How are the MDGs making progress?
Perspective of their achievement

The World Bank examined how many countries are likely to reach MDGs, based on the progress made in the 1990s using the data from World Development Indicators.

Costing: Additional aid required to achieve the MDGs is estimated as follows.

  • US$50 billion: based on the "Report of the High-Level Panel on Financing for Development (so called "Zedillo Report" )" [Zedillo et al. 2001].
  • US$40-70 billion: based on "Goals for Development: History, Prospects and Costs" prepared by the World Bank economists [see Box: Goals for Development History, Prospects and Costs].
  • UNDP is helping five countries (Tanzania, Cameroon, Malawi, Uganda and Philippines) to determine more precise costs and financing scenarios.
  • Since June 2002, UNDP has been sponsoring the Millennium Project, a research initiative led by Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on MDGs, to prepare scholarly studies and statistical analyses of progress towards the MDGs and help the UN in promoting these goals. The project is being carried out in cooperation with other UN agencies, the IFIs and other partners.


The International Conference on Financing for Development (March 18-22, 2002 at Monterrey, Mexico) agreed on a strategy for better resource mobilization to achieve the MDGs. The conference participants included 50 heads of the countries over 200 ministers as well as leaders from the private sector and civil society, and senior officials of all the major intergovernmental financial, trade, economic, and monetary organizations [Box: The International Conference on Financing for Development].

  • The conference adopted the "Monterrey Consensus" in which comprehensive and coherent financial mobilization in both the domestic and international, and the private and public levels are included.
  • The European Union and the United States announced substantial increase in ODA.


The UNDP will prepare, in collaboration with the UN development group, the Millennium Reports which entails country-by-country assessment of progress towards meeting the MDGs. The first pilot reports on Bolivia, Cameroon, Cambodia, Chad, Viet Nam and Tanzania have already been completed.

Shantayanan Devarajan et al. [2002], "Goals for Development: History, Prospects and Costs," World Bank Discussion Paper No. 2819, April.

UN Secretary-General [2001], Road Map Towards the Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, September. [].

UNDP [2002a], Summary Report, Financing the Development Goals, An analysis of Tanzania, Cameroon, Malawi, Uganda and Philippines, March. [].

UNDP [2002b], "UNDP to Unveil New Three-pronged Strategy to Promote Millennium Development Goals" Newsfront, March 22. [].

World Bank, MDGs Website. [].

Zedillo, Ernest et al. [2001], Report of the High-Level Panel on Financing for Development, June. [].

*This note was written by GRIPS Development Forum.