Millennium Development Goals

In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

The Declaration committed nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty, and set out a series of eight time-bound targets - with a deadline of 2015 - that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

To date, the MDGs have made a profound difference in people’s lives:

  • Global poverty has been halved five years ahead of the 2015 timeframe.
  • Ninety per cent of children in developing regions now enjoy primary education, and disparities between boys and girls in enrollment have narrowed.
  • Remarkable gains have also been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis, along with improvements in all health indicators.
  • The likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half over the last two decades. That means that about 17,000 children are saved every day.
  • The target of halving the proportion of people who lack access to improved sources of water was also met.

The concerted efforts of national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector have helped expand hope and opportunity for people around the world.

Yet the job is unfinished for millions of people—we need to go the last mile on ending hunger, achieving full gender equality, improving health services and getting every child into school. Now we must shift the world onto a sustainable path.

The proposed global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years, beginning with a historic pledge this coming September to end poverty. Everywhere. Permanently.

The 8 MDG Goals

UNDP's MDG Mandate

Une femme transporte des pierres dans un panier posé sur sa tête à Suai Loro au Timor Leste.
(UN Photo/Martine Perret)

As the specialized agency of the United Nations focusing on Development, UNDP has a mandate of supporting countries in their development path, and coordinating the UN System at the country level.

In this capacity, the UN Secretary General requested that UNDP be the MDG Scorekeeper (PDF), in addition to UNDP's ongoing programmatic work in accomplishing the MDGs. The "Road map towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration" (PDF, Annex – para. 4) notes that UNDP will coordinate the reporting on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals at the country level.

As the scorekeeper, UNDP supports the implementation of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) Core Strategy (PDF), including :

  • Coordinating and providing financial support for the preparation of MDG country monitoring reports

  • Forging closer collaboration within UN Country Teams on policy advocacy, while promoting a strong response to national MDG priorities through United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs) and Country Programmes.

UNDP, in collaboration with the UNDG and the Inter Agency Expert Group (IAEG) on Targets and Indicators, has been providing technical and financial support to help countries report progress on their national MDG targets, and developing the MDG National Report Guidelines (PDF), which are updated every few years to reflect emerging development priorities and agendas.

MDG Country Reports

MDG country reports are one of the best instruments for obtaining nationally-generated MDG-based evidence, and for extracting main challenges and opportunities.

To date, more than 400 nationally-owned reports have been developed and published. Data and lessons generated in these reports helped make a strong case for the UNDG-endorsed and UNDP-field-tested MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF), one of the key outcomes of the 2010 UN Summit (PDF).

The last round of national MDG reports will provide a collective review, and key lessons learnt, for MDG achievement; and will help inform and shape the post-2015 development agenda.