In September 2000, 189 member states of the United Nations came together at the Millennium Summit and adopted the Millennium Declaration, including commitments to poverty eradication, development, and protecting the environment. Many of these commitments were drawn from the agreements and resolutions of world conferences and summits organized by the United Nations during the preceding decade. A year later the UN Secretary General’s Road Map for implementing the Millennium Declaration formally unveiled eight goals, supported by 18 quantified and time-bound targets and 48 indicators, which became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs focus the efforts of the world community on achieving significant, measurable improvements in people's lives by the year 2015. They establish targets and yardsticks for measuring results—not just for developing countries but for the rich countries that help fund development programs and for the multilateral institutions that help countries implement them.

The eight MDGs listed below guide the efforts of virtually all organizations working in development and have been commonly accepted as a framework for measuring development progress:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  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

Data for Monitoring Progress

The UN Secretary-General issues a yearly report on progress toward implementation of the Millennium Declaration, including the MDGs, based on information drawn from across the UN system. The first comprehensive review was conducted in 2005.

The goals, targets, and indicators specified in the Road Map report were used until 2007 to measure progress towards the MDGs. In 2007, the MDG monitoring framework was revised to include four new targets agreed by member states at the 2005 World Summit and recommended, in 2006, by the UN Secretary-General in his report on the Work of the Organization. In 2007, the General Assembly took note of the Secretary-General's report in which he presented the new framework, including the indicators to monitor progress towards the new targets, as recommended by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on MDG Indicators. The current official MDG framework supersedes the previous version, which had been effective since 2003.

View the complete list of Millennium Development Goals, targets and indicators for monitoring progress and the full United Nations document on Millennium Development Goals definitions, sources and methodology.  

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