In shift from MDGs to SDGs, a need for better continuity

By Anna Patricia Valerio 13 July 2015

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center) during the global launch of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals Progress Report. How well do proposed SDGs address the missed MDG targets? Photo by: Rick Bajornas / U.N.

The recently released final report on the progress toward the Millennium Development Goals showed the world’s milestones and missed targets in what the United Nations has called the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history.”

The MDGs, according to the foreword by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “helped to lift more than 1 billion people out of extreme poverty, to make inroads against hunger, to enable more girls to attend school than ever before and to protect our planet.”

But the progress, Ban acknowledged, has been uneven — a problem the upcoming sustainable development goals, a set of 17 goals and 169 targets that will replace the MDGs when they expire this year, aim to address as world leaders gather for the U.N. General Assembly to discuss them in New York in late September.

A UNICEF report released last month was more blunt about the inadequacy of the MDGs. While Executive Director Anthony Lake considered every child whose life became better through the MDGs a “victory,” he didn’t mince his words in lamenting the millions of children, who also happen to be the most vulnerable, left behind by these goals.

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About the author

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Anna Patricia Valerio

Anna Patricia Valerio is a Manila-based development analyst focusing on writing innovative, in-the-know content for senior executives in the international development community. Before joining Devex, Patricia wrote and edited business, technology and health stories for BusinessWorld, a Manila-based business newspaper.


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