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The Millennium Development Goals & Sustainable Development Goals

Lucia Colicchio (2017)

The Millennium Development Goals

What are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?

A universal strategy shaped by world leaders at the U nited Nations in 2000 designed to alleviate poverty and promote development,with a target year of 2015 [1].

There are 8 Goals:

The MDG’s
The MDG’s -

  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

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Target 1.A: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day.

  • The proportion of people of people whose income is less than $1 a day has dropped from 36% (1.9 billion people) in 1990 to 12% (836 million) in 2015[2].

  • The poverty gap ratio has dropped by 57%, from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 825 million in 2015 [3].

  • There is no available data on the share of the poorest quintile in national consumption.

Target 1.B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.

  • The growth rate of GDP per person employed increased from 0.8 in 2001 to 1.8 in 2014. This translates to $24,000 per capita in 2000 and $32,000 in 2014 [4].

  • Global employment has dropped from 62% to 60%, largely due to the economic crisis of 2007/2008 [5].

  • The proportion of employed people living below $1.25 per day dropped by 2/3, from 900 million people in 1991 to 300 million in 2015 [6].

  • The number of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment has changed from over 1.2 billion (56%) in 1990 to over 1.45 billion (45%) in 2015 [7].

Target 1.C: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

  • The prevalence of undernourished individuals dropped from 991 million people (23.3%) in 1990–1992 to 780 million people (12.9%) in 2014–2016 [8].

  • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption has dropped from 18.6% in 1990-1992 to 10.9% in 2014-2016 [9].

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Target 2.A: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

  • Primary school net enrollment has risen from 82% in 1991 to 92% in 2015 [10].

  • The proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last grade of primary school rose from 70.5% in 1991 to 75.3% in 2000 and 75.4% in 2015.

  • The literacy rate among youth aged 15 to 24 increased globally from 83% in 1990 to 89% in 2010 [11]. For women it increased from 79% in 1990 to 90% in 2015 and for men it increased from 88% in 1990 to 93% in 2015 [12].

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Target 3.A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.

  • Two thirds of countries have reached this target. The gender parity for primary education was 0.89 in 1991, 0.92 in 2000, and it was 0.98 in 2015 [13]. For secondary education, it was 0.84 in 1991, 0.92 in 2000, and 0.98 in 2015. For tertiary education, it was 0.91 in 1991, 1.00 in 2000, and 1.08 in 2015 [14]. An acceptable measure of gender parity is from 0.97 to 1.03 [15].

  • The proportion of women in paid employment outside the agriculture sector has increased from 35% in 1990 to 41% in 2015 [16].

  • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament has grown from 13.8% in 2000 to 22% in 2015 [17].

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Target 4.A: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.

  • The under-five mortality rate has dropped from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 43 per 1,000 live births in 2015 [18]. This translates to a decline from 12.7 million deaths of children under five in 1990 to almost 6 million in 2015 [19].

  • The infant mortality dropped from 63 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 33 deaths in 2013 [20].

  • The proportion of 1 year-old children immunised against measles rose from 73% in 2000 to 84% in 2013 [21].

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Target 5.A: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio.

  • The maternal mortality ratio dropped by almost half - from 380 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 210 maternal deaths in 2013 [22].

  • The proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel increased from 59% in 1990 to 71% in 2015 [23].

Target 5.B: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health.

  • The contraceptive prevalence rate for women aged 15 to 49 years, married or in union, rose from 55% in 1990 to 64% in 2014 [24].

  • The adolescent birth rate among girls aged 15 to 19 has declined from 59 births per 1,000 girls in 1990 to 51 births in 2015 [25].

  • The amount of women that received at least one antenatal care visit rose from 64% in 1990 to 83% in 2014 [26]. The amount of women that received four or more antenatal care visits, the recommended number of visits, rose from 35% in 1990 to 52% in 2014 [27].

  • The prevalence of an unmet need for family planning among women aged 15 to 49, married or in union, dropped from 15% in 1990 to 12% in 2015 [28].

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Target 6.A: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. For the population aged 15-49 years, HIV prevalence has dropped from .09 infections per 100 people in 2001 to .05 infections in 2013 [29]. Overall, HIV infections fell by 40% — from 3.5 million cases in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2013 [30]. Condom use at “last high-risk sex” for women rose from 23% use in 1990 to 40% in 2014. For men, it rose from 42% to 59% [31].

  • The proportion of women ages 15-24 with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS rose from 21% in 1990 to 30% in 2014. For men, it rose from 28% to 37% [32].

  • Data on the ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years was available only for the 2009-2014 period. For Sub-Saharan Africa it was 0.96, for Southern Asia 0.74, and Southern Asia 0.82 [33].

Target 6.B: Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it.

  • Access to antiretroviral therapy has increased to 13.6 million individuals in 2014 from under 1 million in 2003 [34].

Target 6.C: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

  • The global malaria incidence has fallen by 37% from 2000 to 2015, with a previous 150 cases per 1,000 population at risk to under 100 cases. The global malaria mortality rate has fallen by 58%, from nearly 50 deaths per 1,000 population at risk to under 25 deaths [35].

  • The number of children under 5 sleeping under insecticide-treated bednets in sub-Saharan Africa is 37% [36]. Data for previous years is not available.

  • Proportion of children under 5 with fever who are treated with appropriate anti-malarial drugs in Sub-Saharan Africa is 37% [37]. Data for previous years is not available.

  • Incidence of tuberculosis fell from 151 cases per 100,000 people to 126 cases in 2013 [38]. Prevalence of tuberculosis dropped over 40% from 1990 to 2015 [39] from 267 cases per 100,000 people to 159 cases in 2013 [40]. The mortality rate of tuberculosis fell 45% since 1990 [41]. Deaths fell from 29 per 100,000 people to 16 in 2013 [42].

  • The proportion of tuberculosis cases detected and cured under directly observed treatment short course increased from 75% in 1994 to 86% in 2012. The number of people receiving tuberculosis treatment grew from 2.9 million in 1995 to 5.8 million in 2012 [43].

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Target 7.A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources.

  • About 30% of the land area on the planet is covered by forests, down from 32% in 1990 [44].

  • Total CO2 emissions have risen from 21.6 billion metric tons in 1990 to 33 billion in 2012 [45]. Per capita, this translates to 4.08 tons per capita in 1990 and 4.57 tons in 2010 [46]. Per $1 GDP (PPP), it has dropped from 0.60 kilograms in 1990 to 0.47 in 2010 [47].

  • 98% of the consumption of ozone-depleting substances has been eliminated since 1990 [48]. Consumption was 1,774,954 tons in 1990 and is 29,219 as of 2013 [49].

Target 7.B: Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss.

  • The proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits has dropped from 90% in 1974 to 76% in 2013 [50].

  • The proportion of total water resources used is at 9% [51]. There is no available data from 2000.

  • There is no data on the reduction of biodiversity loss. The indicator here was to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss.

  • The percentage of territorial land protected increased from 5% in 1990 to 12% in 2014. For marine territorial waters, it increased from 1% in 1990 to 8% in 2014 [52].

  • The proportion of species threatened with extinction dropped from 92% in 1990 to 91% in 2012 [53]. Currently, that equates to 26% of 5,500 mammals, 13% of 10,400 birds, 41% of 6,000 amphibians, 33% of 845 reef-building corals and 63% of 340 cycads, compared to previous years [54].

Target 7.C: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

  • 2.6 billion people gained access to safe drinking water, reducing this proportion from 24% in 1990 to 9% in 2015, with the goal having been met in 2010 [55].

  • 2.4 billion people gained access to improved sanitation facilities, from a proportion of 54% in 1990 to 68% in 2015 [56].

Target 7.D: By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.

  • The proportion of urban populations living in slums in developing regions dropped from 46% in 1990 to 30% in 2014 [57]. Over this period, over 320 million people gained access to “either improved water, improved sanitation, durable housing or less crowded housing conditions” [58].

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Target 8.A: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.

  • The United Nations has stated that this “Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction — both nationally and internationally” [59]. This indicator does not have quantifiable properties.

Targets 8.B and 8.C: Address the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.

  • The UN stated that this “Includes: tariff- and quota-free access for least developed countries’ exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance (ODA) for countries committed to poverty reduction” [60]. There is no available data on progress for this indicator.

Target 8.D: Deal comprehensively with the debt of developing countries.

  • Official development assistance as a proportion of donors’ gross national income increased 4% in least developed countries, from $13.7 billion in 2000 to $44.5 billion in 2014 [61]. Globally, it rose by 8%, from 21% in 2000 to 29% in 2014 [62].

  • The proportion of total bilateral, sector-allocable ODA of OECD/DAC donors to basic social services (basic education, primary health care, nutrition, safe water and sanitation) increased from 14% ($3.5 billion) in 2001 to 18% ($14.5 billion) in 2013 [63].

  • There is no available data on the proportion of bilateral official development assistance of OECD/DAC donors that is untied.

  • ODA received in landlocked developing countries as a proportion of their gross national incomes decreased by 6%. In 1990, it was 10.2% (or $7 billion) and in 2014 it was 3.6% (or $26 billion) [64].

  • ODA received in small island developing States as a proportion of their gross national incomes increased 1%, equalling $2 billion in 1990 and $4.5 billion in 2013 [65].

  • In 2014, 83% of imports from developing countries and 89% from least developed countries to developed countries were admitted duty free. In 2000, it was 62% and 75%, respectively [66].

  • Average tariffs imposed by developed countries on agricultural products from developing countries decreased from above 10% in 1990 to 8% in 2014. For textiles, tariffs decreased from about 7% in 1990 to above 4% in 2014. For clothing, it decreased from above 11% of products in 1990 to about nearly 8% in 2014 [67].

  • The agricultural support estimate for OECD countries as a percentage of their gross domestic product increased from $311 billion in 1990 to $344 billion in 2013 [68].

  • The proportion of ODA provided to help build trade capacity decreased from 39% in 2001 to 28% in 2013 [69].

  • 36 out of 29 eligible countries have reached their HIPC decision points, 35 of which have reached their HIPC completion points [70].

  • As a proportion of external debt service to export revenue, the debt burden of developing countries fell from 12% in 2000 to 3.1% in 2013 [71].

  • Debt service as a percentage of exports of goods and services in developing countries decreased from 19% in 1990 to 3% in 2013 [72].

Target 8.E: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.

  • In 2014, access to generic medicines were available in 58% of public health facilities and 67% of private health facilities [73]. Earlier data is not available [74].

Target 8.F: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.

  • Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased from 12 in 1995 to 16 in 2013 [75].

  • Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased from 2 in 1995 to 93 in 2013 [76]. The overall number of subscriptions has grown almost tenfold in the last 15 years, from 738 million in 2000 to over 7 billion in 2015 [77].

  • Internet users per 100 inhabitants increased from 0.8 in 1995 to 38 in 2013 [78].

Overview of the Data

All data on the completion of the Millennium Goals was based on The Millennium Development Goals Report of 2015 and United Nations Statistical Annex on the Millennium Development Goals, targets and indicators, 2015. The Statistical Annex is a collection of tables of the data collected to analyze the completion of the Goals.

Completion of Goals

Some indicators portray completion, such as the halved reduction of individuals earning less than $1 per day, while others may appear incomplete. However, each Goal contains several targets, requiring attention for each indicator. For example, with Goal 1, the eradication of extreme poverty includes halving the number of individuals earning $1 a day, which was complete, but it also requires additional analysis of the poverty gap ratio and share of the poorest quintile in national consumption. Some indicators can be determined to be complete while others are incomplete, thus there can be no categorization of Goal 1 as complete or incomplete. Few Goals depend on a single indicator, and no Goal can be deemed entirely complete or incomplete because of the complex relationship between indicators. However, it can be understood that progress is seen in nearly every category of development. All indicators display progress, excluding 6 out of the 60+ indicators. The second indicator for Goal 1, Target 1B was not completed because global employment dropped rather than increased. This setback was largely due to the economic crisis of 2007/2008, the causes of which were isolated from the implementation of the MDGs. Both the first and second indicators for Goal 7, Target A demonstrate results in an undesired direction as well - the proportion of land area on the planet covered by forests dropped by 2% and CO2 emission rose. The first indicator for Goal 7, Target B, the proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits, dropped. For these incomplete indicators under Goal 7, it is understood that negative progress resulted from a lack of focus on climate change and legal protections of the ecosystem, much of which is subject to national policy and decision-making. The fourth and ninth indicators under Goal 8, Target D, showed negative progress. Those indicators were: the ODA received in landlocked developing countries as a proportion of their gross national incomes and the proportion of ODA provided to help build trade capacity - both of which decreased. The United Nations did not offer an explanation for those indicators under Goal 8. The exceptions of these 6 indicators aside, the Millennium Development Goals have seen progress worldwide in over 50 indicators with available data.

Regional Trends The progress shown through the indicators is not equal across all countries or regions. Broken down by country or category of development, indicators reflect greater success in some areas over others. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia were regions that particularly struggled to complete the Goals and, on average, were furthest from completing the goals. The two regions experience significant growth and success, but at not yet at par with other, more developed regions. Some Goals/indicators were targeted at Least Developed Countries/Developing Countries, such as Goal 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases). Goals such as Goal 8 (Develop a global regional partnership for development) were targeted at Developed Regions.

Barriers to Completing the MDGs

The Millennium Development Goals have served as a learning process for the international community and civil society. The UN’s successes are to be celebrated, and its incomplete goals are to be learned from. The following barriers to development outline the upshot to the MDGs - what we can learn from the indicators that are lacking in completion.

Issues Internal to the UN

The Millennium Development Goals set universal targets that were more difficult to be met for some countries/regions than others. Leadership within the UN was disconnected with the interest of individual countries. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon claimed that incomplete Goals could be attributed to “unmet commitments, inadequate resources, lack of focus and accountability, and insufficient interest in sustainable development,” which are attributed to a combination of the actions of the UN, civil society, and member states [79]. However, many issues such as “inadequate resources” point to mixed blame. The UN can only be so responsible for allocating its finite resources in a limited capacity. Meanwhile, national governments must balance the funding of both its local and international issues. There is a seldom a solution for inadequate funding when the sources of funding are not infinite.

The Goals were also predominantly designed by the United States, Europe, and Japan, making them centered around the perspectives of developed countries exclusively located in the Northern Hemisphere. This resulted in disproportionate influence by particular nations. For example, “the gender target was restricted to parity in education because the Japanese representative would not agree to broader targets originally proposed by the gender specialists,” limiting gender equality efforts to the interests of few nations [80]. Without opening the discussion of the MDGs to all state leaders equally, there was less of an incentive for developing/least developed nations to reach Goals set out by foreign nations. Having few world leaders design the goals also gave “too little consideration to national baselines, contexts and implementation capacities” [81]. The creation of the MDGs through exclusive input limited both the interest and ability for unheard nations to complete the Goals.

The Presence of Violent Conflict

Before development can flourish, there must be established physical security and governance systems. The Millennium Development Goals successfully outlined the globe’s most pressing concerns, but civil unrest became a barrier to achieving the goals of the 2000-2015 period. Protest, civil war, and conflict are external factors that undo development - the physical destruction of infrastructure and commodities undermines progress. Likewise, the restructuring of governing and economic bodies halts growth in both public and private sectors.

The Arab Spring as an Example

The uprisings of the Arab Spring beginning in 2011 involved protest by the Arab world’s “baby boom” generation in communities with overcrowded suburban/urban areas, high unemployment, and unresponsive governments [82]. Government responsibilities of city planning and water/agricultural management struggled to keep up with growing demands. The Arab Spring exemplifies regions where people are starving for both development and political revolution - but also where the two are mutually exclusive. It is difficult for a nation to simultaneously reform and progress, as a functioning government is a prerequisite to development conducted by that government. Syrian economist and international consultant Samir Aita found that: “Following substantial progress in contributing to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) between 2000 and 2010, the “Arab Spring” has been synonymous with significant declines in human development indicators in a number of Arab countries. Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, as well as Tunisia and Bahrain: they have all experienced development reversals since 2011” [83].

During the first several years of the Millennium Development Goals, nations of the Arab world experienced social and economic progress. Tunisia, for example, experienced significant development in the early 2000’s until the civil unrest of 2011 that led to a political and fiscal downfall. The choice to revolt in pursuit of good governance comes at the cost of development. However, political reform only halts growth in the short term, or during and immediately after change in government and/or leadership. In some cases, The United Nation’s incompletion of some goals should not be viewed as an absolute a loss, but a necessary balancing of development with the establishment of a fair government.

Reform And Development

Experiencing positive social, economic, and political change during the process of development allows the people of a country to find a path for growth that appropriately serves their needs - one that is alongside a government which is fair and representative. Development cannot come before reform because it would strengthen the institutions which need reform. Political revolution (such as the Arab Spring) is often based on economic inequality and lack of representation. Development would only make structural oppression more ingrained into a country. For example, “higher income inequalities within countries have been associated with slower transitions to democratic regimes and more fragile democracies,” pushing unfavorable regimes into concrete positions of power [84]. Rebuilding that occurs in stages of development should not been seen as a loss, but rather an investment in just and sustainable growth.

State Autonomy

Some development issues require internal policy changes outside the jurisdiction of the United Nations. The will of a given state is a significant determining factor is completing a Goal outlined in the SDGs. For example, providing decent work for all employees requires that they have access to functioning roads for transportation to their place of work. That transportation is dependent on proper allocation of funds for infrastructure by the national or local government. Likewise, Targets and Indicators regarding awareness of sexual and physical health conflict with national laws that allow reproductive health education/sexual health awareness. The incompletion of particular Goals must account for issues that are at the will of the state. Here, progress is a greater symbol of development than completion, because of the achievement of the MDGs cannot come at the cost of acceptable cultural norms and state autonomy.

Addressing a Criticism

Critics of the MDGs have alleged that the United Nations has, in the process of reaching its goals, validated oppressive governments. Mac Darrow of Yale University argued that the structure of the Goals gave “a fig lead of legitimacy to authoritarian regimes” [85]. However, this argument misconstrues how the UN balances peace and development. The “praise” that Darrow asserts is inappropriately given to authoritarian leaders is not directed at government leaders, but the development that has occurred within the nation. A proper analysis of the UN’s MDGs must not mistake an acknowledgment of positive growth for validity of an unjust leader. Further, the UN’s defense of the MDGs has pointed to its push for accountability and human rights. In an analysis of the MDGs and SDGs in the Arab World, the UN stated that “The MDGs gave political momentum and visibility to the importance of human development at national, regional and global levels” and set out “development priorities [that] are widely recognised for serving as a rallying point for different actors in combating poverty in its various forms and manifestations” [86]. The United Nations has addressed the issue of development under oppressive regimes, underscoring its support for goals that keep governments accountable, rather than validated.

The Sustainable Development Goals

This section will define the Sustainable Development Goals and address its beneficial differences from the Millennium Development Goals.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

There are 17 Goals:

  1. No poverty

  2. Zero hunger

  3. Good health and well-being

  4. Quality education

  5. Gender equality

  6. Clean water and sanitation

  7. Affordable and clean energy

  8. Decent work and economic growth

  9. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure

  10. Reduced inequalities

  11. Sustainable cities and communities

  12. Responsible consumption and production

  13. Climate action

  14. Life below water

  15. Life on land

  16. Peace, justice, and strong institutions

  17. Partnerships for the goals

How do the SDGs respond to the insufficiencies of the MDGs?

The Millennium Development Goals did not account for internal structural issues or other uncontrollable factors, such as violent conflict climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals filled in in these areas, while also prioritizing multi-level partnerships to create a system of independent accountability and monitoring.

Opening the Discussion to All Nations

Unlike the MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals were written with the input of every country. In order to appropriately design the 17 Goals, the “UN has conducted the largest consultation programme in its history to gauge opinion on what the SDGs should include” [87]. Post-2015 Goals were first discussed at the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, which mandated an inclusive and open drafting by over 70 countries [88]. The draft was presented to the General Assembly of the United Nations for further negotiation. The UN conducted “global conversations” that included “11 thematic and 83 national consultations,” “door-to-door surveys,” and “an online My World survey” to incorporate a diversity of public opinion [89]. Both the original outline of the goals and discussion of its progress have incorporated input from all countries thus far. The High Level Political Forum hosted at the United Nations also gives individual countries the opportunity to to voluntarily speak about their successes or failures towards the goals, or make related notable comments. The Sustainable Development Goals have successfully incorporated the needs of all countries and peoples, making the Goals more unifiable and attainable.

Addressing Violent Conflict

The Sustainable Development Goals have accounted for conflict that has detracted from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations has addressed the violence of the Arab Spring in particular, stating that “With the advent of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ and events that have followed, peace and security, governance, and human rights have been elevated to the top of the regional development agenda” [90]. The SDG’s make this priority concrete in Goal 16 - Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions - which is designed to monitor fair governance and human rights treatment. It specifically addresses unending violent conflict and outlines peace solutions and oversight methods [91].

Addressing Climate Change

While the Millennium Development Goals did not account for the ongoing issue of climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals prioritize green thinking. Goals 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 all address global warming and sustainable practices. Respectively, those goals are Affordable and clean energy, Sustainable cities and communities, Responsible consumption and production, Climate action, Life below water, and Life on land. Climate change is increasingly the cause of floods, droughts, storms, and other unexpectable climate changes that damage motions for development. Physical destruction of property and arable land puts populations dependent on minimal infrastructure or local farming at risk. Likewise, unmanageable temperatures and unpredictable rainy seasons heighten food insecurity in areas already fragile in the development process. The SDG’s new climate-friendly Goals address these concerns, which disproportionately harm less-developed regions, and are thus sure to advance the path for development.

Multi-level Partnerships

Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals, “Partnerships for the goals” promotes a shared approach to development between the public and private sector. Multi-level partnerships encourage transparency between institutions, welcome criticism by different factions of the international community, and allow the voices of individual governments to be heard. Partnerships are key in avoiding the criticisms brought out of the MDG’s - that the Goals did not account for the needs and capabilities of local groups. Voices are now heard from organizations that are closely familiar with local problems and can now collaborate in finding appropriate solutions.


The Millennium Development Goals structured the development that we see worldwide, from most developed to least developed regions. Although not all indicators measure absolute completeness or incompleteness of the Goals, all geographical regions are understood to have made progress in nearly every area. Furthermore, the structuring of the Sustainable Development Goals reflects a positive foundation for intergovernmental success. The SDG’s promotion of inclusivity, addressing of violent conflict and climate change, and establishment of multi-level partnerships create a promising future for governments, the environment, and humanity.



[1] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015. United Nations. 2015. Page 4-7.

[2] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 15.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Statistical Annex: Millennium Development Goals, Targets and Indicators, 2015. United Nations Statistical Commission. 2015. Page 3.

[5] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 17.

[6] Ibid.

[7] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 19.

[8] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 20.

[9] Statistical Annex, 10.

[10] Statistical Annex, 11.

[11] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 27.

[12] Statistical Annex, 14.

[13] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 28-29.

[14] Statistical Annex, 17.

[15] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 29.

[16] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 30.

[17] Statistical Annex, 18.

[18] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 33.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Statistical Annex, 19.

[21] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 7.

[22] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 39.

[23] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 41.

[24] Ibid.

[25] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 42.

[26] Statistical Annex, 23.

[27] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 41.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Statistical Annex, 26.

[30] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 44.

[31] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 45.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Statistical Annex, 28.

[34] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 46.

[35] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 47.

[36] Statistical Annex, 31.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Statistical Annex, 32.

[39] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 49

[40] Statistical Annex, 32.

[41] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 49

[42] Statistical Annex, 33.

[43] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 50.

[44] Statistical Annex, 35.

[45] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 53.

[46] Statistical Annex, 36.

[47] Statistical Annex, 37.

[48] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 7.

[49] Statistical Annex, 38.

[50] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 54.

[51] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 56.

[52] Statistical Annex, 39.

[53] Statistical Annex, 41.

[54] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 57.

[55] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 58.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Statistical Annex, 43.

[58] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 60.

[59] Statistical Annex, 44.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 63.

[63] Statistical Annex, 45.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Statistical Annex, 46.

[66] Ibid.

[67] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 64.

[68] Statistical Annex, 48.

[69] Ibid.

[70] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 67.

[71] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 66.

[72] Statistical Annex, 49.

[73] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 67.

[74] Statistical Annex, 50.

[75] Statistical Annex, 50.

[76] Statistical Annex, 51.

[77] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, 9.

[78] Statistical Annex, 51.

[79] Fehling, Maya. “Limitations of the Millennium Development Goals: a literature review.” Global Public Health. 13 February 2013. Accessed 12 July 2018.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Ibid.

[82] Aita, Samir. “Post-Arab Spring: Sustainable development via a nexus approach.” Ideas for Development. 8 September 2018.

[83] Ibid.

[84] Darrow, Mac. “The Millennium Development Goals: Milestones or Millstones? Human Rights Priorities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.” Yale Human Rights and Development Journal. 18 February 2018.

[85] Ibid.

[86] “SDG Priority Conceptual Issues: Towards an Arab Approach for the Sustainable Development Goals.” United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. 2 January 2018. Page 3.

[87] Ford, Liz. “Sustainable development goals: all you need to know.” The Guardian. 19 January 2015. Accessed 19 July 2018.

[88] Ibid.

[89] Ibid.

[90] “SDG Priority Conceptual Issues: Towards an Arab Approach for the Sustainable Development Goals.”

[91] “Sustainable Development Goal 16.” Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. United Nations. 2017. Accessed 11 July 2018.


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