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The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013

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This report is based on a master set of data that has been compiled by an Inter-agency and Expert Group on MDG Indicators led by the Department of Economic and Social affairs of the United nations Secretariat, in  response to the wishes of the General assembly for periodic assessment of progress towards the MDGs. The Group comprises representatives of the international organizations whose activities include the preparation of one or more of the series of statistical indicators that were identified as appropriate for monitoring progress towards  the MDGs. Moreover, a number of national statisticians and outside expert advisers also contributed. 

Agreed upon by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, the MDGs set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS and malaria reduction, and a global partnership for development. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 shows how far the world is in meeting the 2015 deadline and how the combined actions of governments, civil society and the private sector have made substantial progress in meeting many of the targets, while also pointing out which areas are falling behind and require immediate attention.

Some of the findings in the report show that the targets that have already been met, include halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and providing more than two billion people with access to improved sources of drinking water.  

Countries have also made great strides on health targets, and are within close reach of achieving them by 2015. These include reducing the mortality rates from malaria and tuberculosis and stopping HIV infections.

Between 2000 and 2010, mortality rates from malaria fell by over 25 per cent, averting some 1.1 million deaths, and between 1995 and 2011, a total of 51 million tuberculosis patients were treated, saving 20 million lives.  

Regarding HIV, the report notes that new infections are declining and 8 million out of the 34 million infected people are now receiving antiretroviral therapy, making universal access to treatment reachable if trends continue.  

Other areas where progress has been significant include the reduction of people suffering from undernourishment and the decline of the proportion of slum dwellers in cities. Between 2000 and 2010, over 200 million slum dwellers gained access to improved water sources, sanitation facilities, durable housing or sufficient living space, exceeding the 100 million MDG target.  

However, countries are falling short on other targets including those regarding maternal health, providing universal access to education, expanding access to sanitation, and achieving gender parity.

Progress has been uneven, and the report points to disparities among regions and between population groups within countries, with people living in rural areas finding themselves at a disadvantage.  

The report also states that the global economic crisis has left millions unemployed, and has reduced the amount of development aid for those countries that are most in need. In spite of these developments, the report urges sustained momentum, noting that countries will have to build on MDG achievements when they decide on a post-2015 agenda.