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Millennium Development Goals

Human rights go hand in hand with attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). By incorporating human rights principles into national development strategies and fulfilling their human rights obligations, governments are more likely to be successful in reducing poverty, hunger and disease and in promoting gender equality, education, environmental sustainability and global partnerships.

Human rights and development policies are mutually reinforcing. They use different yet complementary tools and strategies for achieving the same objective: improving human well-being. Development strategies prioritise economic growth; human rights establish universally accepted legal guarantees to protect the freedom and equality of all individuals. Human rights standards and obligations put governments at the service of the people to ensure that everyone benefits from growth and enjoys a life with dignity.

Source: Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The eight MDGs are listed below. For certain MDGs, click on the link to view an interactive graph from showing historical trends and the progress made by selected countries in the MDG target area.

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (Source: Boy offering beans_Jonathan McIntosh)Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Target 1. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day

Target 2. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

Achieve universal primary educationGoal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Target 3. Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling

Promote gender equality and empower womenGoal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Target 4. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015

Reduce child mortalityGoal 4: Reduce child mortality

Target 5. Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate

Graph: Child mortality rate

Improve maternal health (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture)Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Target 6. Reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio

Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseasesGoal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

Target 7. Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS

Target 8. Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

Graph: Persons living with HIV

Ensure environmental sustainabilityGoal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Target 9. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources

Target 10. Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation

Target 11. Have achieved by 2020 a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers

Develop a global partnership for developmentGoal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Target 12. Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system (includes a commitment to good governance, development, and poverty reduction both nationally and internationally)

Target 13. Address the special needs of the Least Developed Countries (includes tariff- and quota-free access for Least Developed Countries' exports, enhanced program of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries [HIPCs] and cancellation of official bilateral debt, and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction)

Target 14. Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing states (through the Program of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and 22nd General Assembly provisions)

Target 15. Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term

Target 16. In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth

Target 17. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

Target 18. In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies.

Selected Learning Materials

Making MDGs Work for All: Gender-Responsive Rights-Based Approaches to the MDGs
This publication argues for a gender-responsive and rights-based approach to implementing, monitoring and reporting on the MDGs. It presents ways to develop a gender-responsive rights-based national MDG reporting framework and suggests long-term and intermediate targets and indicators.

Rights-Based Approach to Development Programming: Training Manual
This training manual consists of a curriculum for a five-day training introducing rights-based programming, including an emphasis on understanding the role and added value of human rights in development strategies for realising the MDGs.

Frequently Asked Questions on a Human Rights-based Approach to Development Cooperation
The document introduces the human rights-based approach to development cooperation by addressing 30 frequently asked questions. These answers include an explanation of the human rights framework in the context of the MDGs.




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