Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were 15-year targets set by the United Nations (UN) in the year 2000. The targets aimed to improve levels of development in poorer countries, including India.

The eight goals aimed to:

  1. eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
  2. achieve universal primary education
  3. promote gender equality and empower women
  4. reduce child mortality
  5. improve maternal health
  6. combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. ensure environmental sustainability
  8. develop a global partnership for development

What progress has been made?

India made a lot of progress with the MDGs. It has successfully:

  • Reduced the number of people living below the poverty line.
  • Decreased gender disparities in schools so that the number of girls and boys attending classes is more even.
  • Reduced the number of women who die during or straight after childbirth.
  • Increased the percentage of households with access to clean, safe water.
  • Reduced the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. This will mean that more of the population is healthy and able to work.

What more needs to be done?

Whilst some targets have been met, there is a need for improvement in other areas. These include:

  • The percentage of households with access to adequate sanitation is still too low.
  • The role and status of women within the workplace is still lower than that of men.
  • Child and infant mortality rates - many children and babies still die from curable illnesses and poor hygiene.
  • Overall enrolment at school. Whilst the gender balance has improved, school attendance is still low.
  • Literacy rates. These are improving, but still many adults cannot read or write.

Sustainable development goals

World leaders have agreed to replace the eight MDGs with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from 2016. Unlike the MDGs which focused primarily on the 'developing world', the SDGs outlined global targets that all United Nations members will promote between now and 2030.

The new goals are:

  • no poverty
  • no hunger
  • good health
  • quality education
  • gender equality
  • clean water and sanitation
  • renewable energy
  • good jobs and economic growth
  • innovation and infrastructure
  • reduced inequalities
  • sustainable cities and communities
  • responsible consumption
  • climate action
  • life below water
  • peace and justice
  • partnership and goals