With 5 Years to Go, Can We Meet the UN Millennium Development Goals?

Today is the final day of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit in New York where world leaders are tracking the progress of their objectives and stirring up a renewed sense of urgency and commitment to assist developing nations as only five years remain before the 2015 deadline.

The Salvation Army has signed on to a letter with several Christian organizations that urges the US, the EU, and the African Union to show a “clear and strong commitment” to the MDGs . For 145 years The Salvation Army has worked to meet human needs by addressing poverty, hunger, and education through our many programs and initiatives, but it will take a clear vision and strong partnership from multiple global entities including governments, NGO’s, the private sector, and the public to make a dramatic worldwide impact as outlined in the MDGs.

A simple, colored pictorial chart lays out the 8 ambitious UN goals, which are broken down into 21 targets.

If only solving the complex global problems were as straightforward as this diagram!

However, while these goals are aggressive, the UN reports that significant progress has been made. Their report shows that before the global economic crisis, “the depth of poverty had diminished in almost every region,” and while the world’s sluggish markets have slowed this progress we are “still on track to meet the poverty reduction target.” (MDG #1)

Other areas need vast improvement, such as achieving universal education (MDG #2) and reducing child mortality (MDG #4) which is on the decline, but not quickly enough to meet the 2015 target.   The Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) signed on to a pledge to focus on reducing malnutrition during children’s first 1,000 days – from the time of pregnancy to the age of 2 years – when they are most susceptible to death and disease as a result of malnutrition.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded the 1,000 days initiative in an address during an MDG summit side event.

Do you have ideas on how to meet the 8 development goals by 2015? Leave a comment on the UN’s Ideas for Development blog, where anyone from experts to the regular Joe can post their two cents.

If you’d rather listen to discussion than spark it, you can tune in to the live webcast of the UN General Assembly’s debate (visit the UN’s multimedia website to view MDG debates and events on different channels).