Fifteen years after the largest gathering of world leaders in history pledged their nations to a global partnership, they are on the eve of doing it again.
In 2000, the ‘The Millennium Declaration’ – a solemn oath to work towards a peaceful, prosperous and just world – became world leaders’ commitment to solving humanity’s most distressing and complex problems once and for all.
The declaration included a list of targets, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which demanded an ambitious resolution to poverty and its causes. Fifteen years on, the impact of that global commitment can’t be over-estimated. Extreme poverty (living on less than $US1.25 a day) has been cut by more than half since 1990, to 836 million, as has the mortality rate of children under five. In 1990 12.7 million children died from preventable causes, it’s six million today. Enrolment in primary education across developing regions has reached 91 percent and is heading towards equality between boys and girls. Maternal mortality rates have fallen by 45 percent, new HIV infections have fallen by 40 percent and 37 million tuberculosis deaths have been avoided.
The world’s commitment to these time-bound goals for eradicating extreme poverty and securing universal human rights were established with a deadline in mind – 2015.
But the task isn’t yet complete. Extreme poverty still exists and denies millions of people around the world access to water, healthcare and education, among other basic rights. Despite the challenges facing the global community that didn’t exist in a pre-September 11 world, once again world leaders are united in their commitment to improve to lives of the world’s poor.
The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals (GGs), will be signed this month, and aim to completely eradicate hunger and extreme poverty by 2030, as well as ensuring everyone has access to clean, safe drinking water by then.
World Vision was an active contributor to the MDGs. As part of its efforts to reduce the number of maternal and new-born deaths, it trained and continues to support over 70,000 community health-workers. Our goal is to make it more than 100,000.
World Vision is also the largest non-government supplier of clean water in the developing world; reaching a new person with clean water every 30 seconds. This is particularly important when you consider that diarrhoea is the second biggest cause of death for children under five years old. Further, between 2010 and 2014, World Vision was able to protect 20 million people from malaria by distributing long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets.
World leaders met at a special United Nations Summit in New York from 25-27 September to formally adopt the new goals. They will officially take effect in January 2016. The deadline for the goals is 2030.
And as the world comes together to look towards a brighter future for all its citizens, organisations like World Vision will be giving it the head start such ambitions deserve.