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Last Updated: Friday, 24 June, 2005, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
What are the MDGs?
The Millennium Development Goals
1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2: Achieve universal primary education
3: Promote gender equality and empower women
4: Reduce child mortality
5: Improve maternal health
6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7: Ensure environmental sustainability
8: Develop a global partnership for development

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) were agreed by 189 countries in New York in 2000.

These goals represent a commitment by rich and poor nations to expand social and economic progress in all regions of the world, as well as creating a global partnership for reducing levels of poverty and suffering in less developed areas by 2015.

Each MDG also includes a number of indicators designed to measure its progress, which are intended to be tracked and updated regularly by UN member governments and international governing bodies such as the World Bank.

For Goal 5: which is to "Improve maternal health" the indicators are

  • The maternal mortality ratio
  • Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel

In recent years, a number of groups monitoring the progress of MDG's worldwide have expressed concern that some regions are falling behind in reaching their projected targets, particularly in Africa, where poverty, corruption, civil strife and crippling foreign debt often prevent the implementation of effective development strategies.

However, governments in developed countries have come under increasing public pressure to work with developing countries in reaching their projected MDG targets and to provide greater assistance through debt relief, foreign aid and more equitable trade practices.

Panorama has previously covered the first of these goals in "The dollar a day dress".


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