Current progress, History of the development goals
For many years, hundreds of organizations and individuals around the world have committed to reducing poverty. Whether it be
- sponsoring a child to go to school,
- helping communities to build wells to create potable water supplies,
- educating prospective mothers about good maternal health and providing prenatal care,
- vaccinating the children,
- fair trade practices,
- or any other method, large or small, that provides some shimmer of hope to the less fortunate, programs on a global scale existed.
But what was lacking was the general commitment from governments and the total dedication as a whole for the altruistic project. In fact, It seemed rather incongruous that at a time when many were prospering and futures seemed bright, that almost one and a half billion people still lived in abject poverty.
Consequently in 2000, the year of the Millennium, one hundred and eighty-nine Member States of the United Nations came together with recommendations, solutions, ideas and a game plan for eradicating the misery. Out of this meeting at the UN headquarters in New York City, the Millennium Declaration was signed and the eight Millennium Development Goals were born. Within this body of goals were specific targets to which each participant agreed to strive.
Recently, on September 25, 2008, another meeting was held to reaffirm the previous commitments, as well as to create a specific, tangible plan of action given the fact that more than half of the time frame had now expired. According to the UN's website, that event coupled with partnership events, created an atmosphere of hope and positive reinforcement with “the gathering exceeding our most optimistic expectations... noting that it generated an estimated $16 billion, including some $1.6 billion to bolster food security, more than $4.5 billion for education and $3 billion to combat malaria”.
Indeed, whenever many nations, companies, organizations and private citizens are deeply involved with a project, there are going to be reasons for it to fail or languish. And there are many who look upon the progress as negative, since many goals have not been met and appear as though they will not be reached given the remaining time frame. Sadly as recently as this week, The Hindu News Update Service has published a report saying that “the global financial crisis may keep India from achieving its goal of eradicating hunger by 2015...higher food prices would aggravate the situation and push back further the possibility of India reaching the target in Goal-I which aims at hunger eradication by 2015.”
And then there are plenty of stories which renew one's faith in the goals. In the same week as the India status announcement, the Jamaica Observer printed a story stating that “of the 14 targets set out under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Jamaica has so far achieved three and is on track with five...the proportion of people who live below the national poverty line has been reduced by two-thirds moving from 28.4 per cent in 1990 to 9.9 per cent in December 2007”.
It is felt by many that because significant progress was being made before the goals were adopted, the goals should be rather easy to achieve. But forces such as war, the economic crisis, and negative remnants from previous governments will indeed hamper the efforts.