- Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieving universal primary education
- Promoting gender equality and empowering women
- Reducing child mortality rates
- Improving maternal health
- Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- Ensuring environmental sustainability
- Developing a global partnership for development
The Guardian has an excellent piece on this, including an interactive display of progress toward attainment of the MGDs as measured by 60 indicators, by nation. They ask what progress has been made, and what can setting global goals achieve anyway? Further, what should happen after 2015?
However you feel about the whole endeavor, whether or not the goals were challenging enough or what kind of progress has been made, the UN reported the other day on the MGDs, and it is undeniably true that the world is close to reaching targets on HIV/AIDS. The UN says that the spread of HIV/AIDS has been halted and even reversed. The report cites 'dramatic' progress -- deaths and new infections are down and the number of people on antiretrovirals worldwide is up.
New HIV infections among adults and children were estimated at 2.3 million in 2012, a 33% reduction since 2001. New HIV infections among children have been reduced to 260 000 in 2012, a reduction of 52% since 2001. AIDS-related deaths have also dropped by 30% since the peak in 2005 as access to antiretroviral treatment expands.
By the end of 2012, some 9.7 million people in low- and middle-income countries were accessing antiretroviral therapy, an increase of nearly 20% in just one year. In 2011, UN Member States agreed to a 2015 target of reaching 15 million people with HIV treatment. However, as countries scaled up their treatment coverage and as new evidence emerged showing the HIV prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapy, the World Health Organization set new HIV treatment guidelines, expanding the total number of people estimated to be in need of treatment by more than 10 million.Yes, 2.3 new infections is still significant, just as the number of people in extreme poverty is still significant, and meeting the 2015 goals shouldn't allow the world to lose sight of that. But a 33% reduction in HIV infections is also significant. We hope that this becomes a long-term trend.
Big goals are noble goals, and the challenge is to put resources where the rubber meets the road, and not to have too much gobbled up by bureaucrats, politicians, profiteers, and yes, professors before it ever reaches its intended end. The MGD report suggests that at least to some extent, this is happening.