Before I start, I must clearly declare that I am not saying that the MDGs are the cause of any of these trends. I do believe that the MDGs are clear and known targets that many organizations and governments have coalesced around. AND, the goals are a worthwhile lens through which to gauge progress or regression.
The text below is take directly from the UN Millennium Development goals webpage. My comments are in blue.
GOAL 1: ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY & HUNGER
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day
- The target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half was met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline.
- The global poverty rate at $1.25 a day fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate. 700 million fewer people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990. However, at the global level 1.2 billion people are still living in extreme poverty.
Comment: Target 1A has been met.
Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
- Globally, 384 million workers lived below the $1.25 a day poverty line in 2011—a reduction of 294 million since 2001.
- The gender gap in employment persists, with a 24.8 percentage point difference between men and women in the employment-to-population ratio in 2012.
Comment: Clearly this goal was not met (IMO an impossible goal). Nonetheless, the “reduction of 294 million since 2001” is quite an achievement.
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
- The hunger reduction target should be almost met by 2015.
- Globally, about 842 million people are estimated to be undernourished.
- More than 99 million children under age five are still undernourished and underweight.
Comment: This goal is nearly met.
So, on MDG 1, “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger,” “we” have done a very good job. We should, of course, not rest until there is NO hunger, but these positive trends give reason for hope.