1 July 2013: The 2013 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report recognizes “substantial progress” in meeting many MDG targets while also urging nations to accelerate efforts to achieve unmet MDGs by the 2015 deadline. The report examines areas in which action is most needed, including on environmental sustainability, and highlights unequal progress, with disparities among regions and between rural and urban populations, population groups within countries, and men and women.
Launching the report on 1 July, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the MDGs as “the most successful global anti-poverty push in history," and said “now is the time to step up our efforts to build a more just, secure and sustainable future for all." He called on the world to “generate momentum for an ambitious and inspiring post-2015 development framework.”
Countries have met MDG targets on halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and providing more than two billion people with access to improved sources of drinking water. Although the world has surpassed the target on the number of slum-dwellers benefitting from improved living spaces, sanitation facilities and water sources, urbanization continues to outpace improvements in slum conditions. According to the report, countries are also within reach of halving the percentage of people suffering from hunger and on reaching health targets on reducing mortality rates from malaria and tuberculosis and declining rates of new HIV infections.
The environmental sustainability goal is under “severe threat, demanding a new level of global cooperation,” according to the report. It notes: accelerating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; “alarming rates” of deforestation, primarily from conversion of forests into agricultural land; faster rates of species extinction, despite increases in marine and terrestrial protected areas; and over-exploitation of marine fish stocks.
Despite increases in water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), the report states “a strong push” will be needed to meet the sanitation target and to improve drinking water access for the rural poor and water quality and safety.
Countries have also fallen short on education, gender parity and maternal health and child mortality targets. The report further notes decreases in official development assistance (ODA), with the poorest countries most affected.
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) publishes the MDG report annually to assess global and regional progress towards the MDGs. [UN Press Release] [UNDP Press Release] [Publication: Millennium Development Goals Report 2013]