Reassessing the Millennium Development Goals: Six Years & Counting Down

CASID Development Forum 2.1.pdf

When world leaders met at the Summit of 2000 to approve the Millennium Declaration they laid the basis for the Millennium Development Goals. Some observers were skeptical about the scope and ambition of the MDGs. Nonetheless in the following years they became a useful means to measure global progress in tackling poverty in its various dimensions, to motivate people to get involved, and to hold governments and international organizations to account. The mid-term reports in 2007 suggested that there had been considerable achievements in some parts of the world and towards meeting some goals by 2015, though there were major concerns with the lack of progress in key areas such as maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS reduction.

Events in the last year, however, underline how fragile has been this progress towards the MDGs, raising fundamental questions about what can be achieved by 2015 and whether we are on the right track. In 2008 the sharp rise in food and fuel prices pushed some 150 million people back into poverty especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This reversal has been seriously compounded by the financial crisis and the first drop in world trade for almost 30 years. In early 2009 the World Bank warned that child mortality rates were likely to soar, and estimated that another 100 million people would fall below the poverty line. More recent projections suggest that the situation for many poor people will be even more severe.

Against this backdrop of deep concern about the mounting challenges of the MDGs, the six articles in this issue of Development Forum contribute many ideas as to how they might be reached. Jane Parpart, Shirley Thomson and Farzana Quddus, and Haroon Akram-Lodhi provide a gender analysis of the MDGs, focusing respectively on MDG 3, Bangladesh and the macroeconomic
framework. Mark Fried and Vanmala Hiranandani consider MDG 1 – the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger – with Mark arguing that inequality must be addressed if poverty is to be reduced, while Vanmala suggests that food sovereignty is key to eradicating hunger. Finally, Javier Mignone and Brenda Wilson examine ways that local economic development may reduce HIV/AIDS
(MDG 6) by decreasing villagers’ need to migrate. 

Ann Weston
CASID President, 2008-2009

Table of Contents: 

  • A Foreward by the President - Ann Weston
  • A Critical Evaluation of the Third Millenium Development Goal - Jane Parpart
  • Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals in Bangladesh - Shirley Thompson and Farzana Quddus
  • Millennium Development Goals and World Hunger: The Need to Move from Food Security to Food Sovereignty - Vanmala Hiranandani
  • Reducing inequality is Essential to Reducing Poverty - Mark Fried 
  • The Macroeconomics of the Millennium Development Goals: Why Gender Matters - A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi
  • Village Economic Diversification and HIV Transmission in Rural Villages of Karnataka, India - 
  • Javier Mignone & Brenda Wilson