In the year 2000 the Millennium Summit of the United Nations was held which was attended by 191-member countries. Following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration 8 goals were established called as the Millennium Development Goals which were aimed for the overall development and upliftment of all the Nations especially the developing and the poorer nations.
Below are the 8 Millennium Development Goals that were set to be achieved by the year 2015:
1. Eradicate Extreme poverty and hunger:There were three main targets that were set to be achieved in order to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The first was to halve the proportion of people living on less than a $1.25 per day by 2015. The second was to achieve a decent source of income for men and women and the third target was to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition by 2015.
A strong economy is required to move out of poverty and produce jobs that will help increase the GDP. The strategy was to provide with zero interest development financing to the countries that had a higher poverty rate. Technical and planning advice was offered to the countries to reduce poverty and malnutrition. An increased support was provided to the agricultural sector to enhance food security. About $8-10 billion was spent each year between 2013 and 2015. The World bank served as a trustee for the Global Agriculture and food Security program that was formed to help countries develop and implement food security strategies. The International Development Association committed $22.2 billion in 2014 to promote economic growth and fight poverty.
2. Achieve universal primary education:An educated member of the society can make a more informed decision about daily life activities and lead a much healthier and secured life. It was considered that especially women with some amount of formal education were more likely to seek medical care and advice during and post pregnancy for the health of their infants increasing the survival rates and nutrition levels of the children.
The main target of this Goal was to promote the enrollment and completion of primary education for all children by the year 2015. Considerable progress was made on this Goal with 92% primary education completion rate by the year 2012. However, 58 million children are yet to receive the primary education. The World Bank supports education with an average of $2.8 billion a year for many developing and underdeveloped countries. Many innovative incentives were offered to the children for the attendance of which the providing mid day meals and ration have worked in a great way. In order to ensure that the children acquire skills that will help in work and life vocational education was promoted that was relevant and of good quality. Training was organized for teachers to maintain a proper standard the education that is provided. With the help of the International Development Association more than 3.5 million teachers were trained in between 2002-2012. More than 2 million classrooms were built for about 105 million children and were provided with over 300 million textbooks from 2000-2010. By 2012 there was a decline of about 2 million in the number of children who remained out of school.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women: The target this MDG was to eliminate the disparity between girls and boys in primary and secondary education by the year 2005 and achieving equality at all levels between the two genders by the year 2015. This included the wages earned by both men and women in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors and the number of seats occupied by women in the National Parliaments of most countries.
Most societies are patriarchal which has in a large way led to the dominance over women and their deprivation from the basic amenities of life like proper nutrition, education and freedom. Empowering women would help in building a healthier and a prosperous economy as it enhanced shared prosperity. The main aim was to strengthen nutrition and help in the prevention of diseases and introduce maternal health programs. Gender equality can also be reached by the improvement of education, life skills and access to credit and economic opportunities for women and girls in every field.
With the assistance of the International Development Association 2 of the 130-member countries have so far achieved gender equality in all levels of education. By 2011 about 40% of wage-earning jobs were held by women in the non-agricultural sector.IDA investments and collaborations with governments of the member nations a lot has been achieved since 2000 but a lot still remains to change and improve for a gender equal society.
4. Reduce child mortality:There are a lot of factors that influence the mortality rates of children. Be it the access to improved medical care or the roads to the health facilities or the nutrition and socio economic status of the family, a lot can impact the health of the mother and the children. As per the millennium development goals, the infant and under five child mortality rates were to be reduced by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. The proportion of 1 year old getting immunized against measles was another major concern that needed to increase in the given time period.
The strategy to achieve this goal was to strengthen the national health care system by making it accessible, affordable and effective for all the sections of the society. Tying the financial aspect with the improvement of children’s health and protecting the poorer section of the society from ill health and educating about the hygienic ways of life style.
The investment by International development Association and the World Bank resulted in about 600 million children getting immunized between 2003 and 2013. More than 117 million people gained access to health care facilities and nearly 195 million women received antenatal care.
5. Improve Maternal health: There were many aspects to the improvement of maternal health. There were two basic targets in this goal. The first was to reduce maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1999 and 2015. This also included a rise in the proportion of births attended by professional health personnel. The second target was to make reproductive health accessible to all by 2015. This included increasing the awareness about the use of contraceptives, controlling adolescent birth rate, providing antenatal care coverage and unmet need for family planning.
To achieve the above targets a more effective and efficient national health care system was developed. Women from all the strata of the society were encouraged to use reproductive health care services and opt for assisted deliveries and family planning. With the promotion of higher education and the inclusion of sex education younger people were motivated to delay pregnancy and use birth control options to plan their life properly. Greater effort was made to make health care facilities affordable for the poorer section of the society.
With the support of the World Bank and the International Development Association more than 117 million people gained access to essential maternal and child services including basic health care and nutrition. Antenatal care was made available to more than 195 million pregnant women and about 30 million assisted births were recorded attended by skilled health personnel. There is a 45% drop in maternal mortality rate since 1990 and more than half of the women in developing countries now receive the essential health care during pregnancy.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS malaria and other diseases: Malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS have had a major prevalence in developing countries. There were three main targets that were to be achieved by 2015. The first target was to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015 by the improving the knowledge about HIV/AIDS among the population aged 15-24 years and promote the use of a condom to reduce the risk of infection. The Second target was to provide the much-needed antiretroviral drugs to the HIV infected population to ensure a better life. The third target was to halt and reverse the occurrence of malaria and other major diseases by keeping a check on the prevalence and incidences of malaria, the proportion of children sleeping under bed nets and receiving anti-malarial drugs. This was also considered for tuberculosis which is relatively common in developing countries.
These are preventable diseases and the number of occurrences can be brought down substantially by providing proper education and creating awareness. The proper health care facilities can be provided to the people to avoid. About 99% of deaths that occur due to these diseases are from the developing countries. Each year there are about 2.1 million new cases recorded for HIV infections in developing countries like sub-Saharan Africa and in many Asian countries. Other major diseases like malaria and tuberculosis impact the economic growth of the region by about 1.35 each year. Although the number of occurrences has reduced, new cases are still reported each year.
The main strategy to achieve the targets was to provide the support needed by the countries to develop a stronger national health care system and to scale up health care interventions. This also included the prevention of diseases by integrating it with the maternal and child health care programs and protecting the poorer section of the society from health risks and providing affordable health care.
With World Bank Group Support more than 1.3 million HIV infected patients received antiretroviral therapy from 2003 -2013. 152 million malaria nets were distributed, and 601 million condoms were distributed to help prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Between 1995 and 2011 more than 20 million lives were saved with effective tuberculosis treatment.
7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability:The use of resources cannot be limited to the growing population. There is always the need for more which may not be possible to meet in the future with the constant depletion in our natural resources. Sustainable energy is the need of the hour and investments on the green energy source such as wind or solar projects is a must. With global warming there has been a drastic change in the climate throughout the planet which has increased the risk of disasters. The constant strain in the environment has resulted in a dip in the availability of basic resources like drinking water for many developing countries.
Four very important targets have been set to achieve environmental sustainability. The first target is to reverse the loss of environmental resources by integrating the principle of sustainable development into the national policies and programs. The second target is to reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. The third target is to halve the population that does not have access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. The final target is to have a significant improvement in the quality of lives of 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020.
The main strategy to achieve these targets is by improving the management of all sustainable natural resources and increasing the access to green transport and green technology for production and agriculture. The World Bank along with the International Development Association has contributed about $33 billion for funding environmental and natural resource management in the poorest countries and about 417 billion for water projects. The World Bank has contributed substantially to the biodiversity conservation efforts in 74 countries totaling about 245 projects.
By 2010 about 2 billion people had gained access to clean drinking water and there was an increase of about 58% in the number of protected areas since 1990. Although a large number of people still lack the access to improved sanitation, about 48% of developing countries are reaching the target to provide access to drinkable water.
8. Global partnership for development:There were 6 main targets that were set for this final goal. The first target was to develop a fair trading and financial system. The second target was to assist the least developed countries with debt relief and provide Official Development Assistance. The third target was to address the special needs of the small island nations and landlocked developing countries. The fourth target was to make debts sustainable in the long term through national and international measures. The fifth and the sixth targets were to provide affordable health care systems, enhance the access to newer and advanced communication and information technology
The strategy to achieve these targets was to enhance the communication infrastructure connect people not just within a country but globally by investing in IT and communication. It was also important to provide the much need relief to the debt laden countries so that they could concentrate on advancing their economy by accessing global markets for goods and services.
The World Bank and the International Development Association have worked closely to provide debt relief to the poorest countries. Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative the International Development Association share 20% of the total cost of debt relief and under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) it provides more than 50% of debt relief. These initiatives were taken so that these countries were able to direct their funds towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals instead of directing the funds towards the debt repayment. Apart from this about 6 billion people had subscribed for mobile cellular services by 2011 which is on a constant rise with every passing day.