In September 2000, the United Nations adopted the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as its primary strategy for international development. The MDGs consisted of eight goals that were to be achieved by 2015:
▪ Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
▪ Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education.
▪ Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women.
▪ Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
▪ Goal 5: Improve maternal health.
▪ Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
▪ Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability.
▪ Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development.
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The MDGs marked a policy shift within international development forming a universal framework for pursuing development and eradicating extreme poverty. In other words, the MDGs constituted a concerted attempt by the international community to define the aims and purpose of development. Indeed, the MDGs have been followed by the formation and pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cumulatively, these policy agendas have established a global strategy for development for the period 2000-2030, absorbing a vast amount of financial and human resources in the process.
However, what is less clear is the effectiveness of this approach. In particular, what impact is this type of unitary global policy formation having on developing societies? To what extent, if at all, are local models and indigenous practices informing the universal goals and targets? How reliable is the data that is informing this policy approach? And what affect is the international pursuit and prioritization of global development goals having on other areas within development?
The value of goal-orientated policy-making for international development therefore merits investigation. And this is undertaken in relation to the MDGs in the FPO policy report entitled – ‘A critical evaluation of the UN Millennium Development Goals’ – which can be viewed or downloaded in pdf format here.