The world gave itself 15 years — until 2015 — to meet these goals.

April 5 marked a critical milestone: 1,000 days left until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline date. The eight MDGs, agreed to at the UN in 2000, represent a concrete global development agenda that has galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. Together, world leaders committed to ambitious targets for reducing poverty and hunger, expanding primary education, ensuring gender equality, improving the health of mothers and children, halting the spread of infectious diseases, promoting environmental sustainability, and coming together in partnership to achieve these important goals.

The MDGs are measured against 18 targets and 60 indicators. Substantial progress has been made since the Millennium Declaration was signed 13 years ago by the US and 188 other UN-member countries. The number of people living on less than $1.25/day is falling in every developing region—including sub-Saharan Africa. In 1990, more than 43% of people in developing countries lived in extreme poverty; as of 2008, this proportion had dropped to 23%. Estimates suggest that the MDG 1 target to halve extreme poverty was met in 2010. During this period, more than 600 million people have risen above the $1.25/day line.

Important gains have been made on other MDGs. The enrollment ratio of girls to boys in primary school rose, from 91% in 1990 to 97% by 2010—that’s within the margin of error of complete parity, the target for MDG 3. The incidence of tuberculosis has fallen since 2002, and, since 2006, this decline has outpaced global population growth—achieving part of the MDG 6 target to reverse the spread of infectious disease. And more than 200 million people living in urban slums gained access to improved water sources, sanitation facilities, and housing, more than doubling the MDG 7 target.

While the world works to accelerate MDG progress in these final 1,000 days, the global community has also begun a discussion about “post-2015″.  What will the next set of MDGs look like?  The UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel will issue recommendations in the coming months. Other organizations and individuals are also working to shape the post-2015 agenda to build on the successes and lessons learned of the MDG process, and to address new development challenges.

Source: USAID Impact Blog