At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, 189 Heads of State and Governments pledged to work together to make a better world for all by 2015. On behalf of their people, they signed the Millennium Declaration which promises to free men, women and children from the dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty and make the right to development a reality for everyone!
Eight Millennium Development Goals were adopted, committing rich and poor countries to work together in a global partnership to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, ensure that all boys and girls complete primary school, promote gender equality, improve the health of mothers and children, reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, and protect the environment – all by 2015.
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
More than 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day – 238 million of them are young people. They live without access to basic needs including nutritious food, clothes, clean water, a home, health care, and affordable schooling.
- Achieve universal primary education
There are 115 million children who do not attend primary school- three fifths of them are girls. Many countries do not have free primary education. Many young people have to work in order to support their family instead of going to school, and in some families, girls are expected to stay home and help with the chores. Over 100 million around the world have never been in a classroom.
- Promote gender equality and empower women
Two thirds of the world’s illiterate people are women. The employment rate for women is two thirds that of men. Promoting gender equality means ensuring that women have the same chances as men to improve their lives, and the lives of their families.
- Reduce child mortality
Ten million children die every year from preventable illnesses- that averages out to almost 30,000 deaths a day. In developing countries, one child in 10 dies before its fifth birthday, compared with 1 in 143 in high-income countries. Children must be given the chance to become productive members of society, regardless of where they are born. The main illnesses affecting child mortality are HIV/AIDS, malaria, diarrhoea, and acute respiratory infections.
- Improve maternal health
Every year more than 500,000 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth- that is almost one death every minute of the day. Thirty times more suffer injury, infection and other complications related to pregnancy. Making sure women are safe giving birth saves the life of the mother, and her unborn child.
- Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are preventable -each day, eight thousand people die and seven thousand more young people contract HIV/AIDS. Fifteen million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Malaria infects 500 million people each year and kills more than 1 million Tuberculosis kills close to 2 million people each year and the number of deaths each year is increasing.
- Ensure environmental sustainability
Two million children die every year from infectious diseases spread by dirty water or the lack of toilets- 1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion people lack access to toilets. There is a strong link between poverty and the environment. When the air and water are polluted, forests cut down, or the amount of fish in the ocean is reduced, poor people are often the most severely affected.
- Develop a global partnership for development
The poorest countries cannot achieve Goals 1-7 without more and better quality aid, trade opportunities and debt relief from rich countries. Eradicating poverty worldwide can only be achieved through a global partnership between rich and poor countries.
In order to reach the Goals by 2015, poor countries must make improvements in the way they govern and rich countries must increase aid, trade opportunities and debt relief.
It is not in the United Nations that the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved. They have to be achieved in each country by the joint efforts of the Governments and people.
Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations
Source: United Nations CyberSchoolBus
Theme: International racism and anti-racism