Partnerships with international organizations and UN agencies
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The Millennium Development Goals - global targets that the world's leaders set at the Millennium Summit in September 2000 - are an ambitious agenda for reducing poverty - and its causes and manifestations. The goals include: Halving extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and gender equity, reducing under-five mortality and maternal mortality by two-thirds and three-quarters respectively, reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and ensuring environmental sustainability. They also include the goal of developing a global partnership for development, with targets for aid, trade and debt relief.
During 2001, IFAD participated in selected high-level events, for instance the UN, World Bank, IMF and OECD Forum on the Millennium International Development Goals and Indicators on the Objectives of Halving Global Poverty by 2015. Representatives of developing countries, bilateral donors, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank gathered in March 2001 at the World Bank's headquarters for a seminar on the International Development Goals.
The seminar took stock of the progress made in establishing a common set of quantitative development objectives; exchanged views on the opportunities for and obstacles to reaching the goals; and laid the groundwork for further international cooperation. A follow up meeting on harmonizing reporting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the International Development Goals (IDGs) was held in New York in June 2001 to discuss the respective targets and selected relevant indicators, with a view to merging the two documents into a single set of Millennium Development Goals (see table below).
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked UNDP to be the "scorekeeper" and "campaign manager" for the Millennium Development Goals -- spreading awareness within the system and across the world and making them an integral part of the UN system's work in the field.
This year, the goals are a focus of three critical global conferences: the International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Monterrey, Mexico (March 2002), the World Food Summit: five years later in Rome (June 2002), and the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa (Aug/Sept 2002). At the WSSD, countries will map out a new agenda, laying out the strategies and partnerships needed to ensure progress towards the goals and other development objectives.
Are we reaching the goals?
The eight Millennium Development Goals comprise 18 targets and 48 indicators. Where possible, the targets are given as quantified, time-bound values for specific indicators. Data for the indicators come from official statistics and surveys conducted by countries and international agencies. Missing data and the lack of reliable statistics limit the ability to monitor progress.
According to the UNDP and the World Bank, progress towards the goals has been mixed. Some countries are on track for some goals but none of the goals are likely to be reached at the current rate of global progress. The reasons are many, but they often include insufficient and inefficient public spending, crippling debt burdens, inadequate market access in developed countries, and declining official development assistance.
UNDP and many partners, including other UN Development Group agencies and the World Bank, are already well underway with a number of pilots to lead country teams in monitoring and reporting on goals. The effort began with Tanzania last year, continued with Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad and Viet Nam, and additional reporting is expected soon from Albania, Bolivia, Nepal, the Philippines, Senegal and other countries.
By the end of 2004, every developing country will have produced at least one such report in time for the Secretary-General's global report on MDG progress in 2005. This is a major long-term commitment; it will likely require statistical capacity building in many countries.
Monitoring progress is easier for some targets than for others and good quality data for some indicators are not yet available for many countries. How many countries are likely to reach the Millennium Development Goals? Much depends on whether the progress in the past decade can be sustained-or accelerated in countries falling behind. According to the World Bank, too many countries are falling short of the goals or lack the data to monitor progress. This underscores the need to assist countries in building national capacity in compiling vital data.
MDG's Goals and Indicators
UNDP, in collaboration with national governments, is coordinating reporting by countries on progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals. The framework for reporting includes eight goals -- based on the UN Millennium Declaration. The eight goals represent a partnership between the developed countries and the developing countries determined, as the Millenium Declaration states, "to create an environment-at the national and global levels alike-which is conducive to development and the elimination of poverty."
Support for reporting at the country level includes close consultation by UNDP with partners in the UN Development Group, other UN partners, the World Bank, IMF and OECD and regional groupings and experts. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs is coordinating reporting on progress towards the goals at the global.