The Millennium Development Goals are a set of eight vital and achievable time-bound commitments agreed by 191 heads of state at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000. At current rates of progress, most of the goals, including universal primary education, will be missed. The first target to fall due is gender parity in education by 2005, but on current trends, this won’t be achieved even by 2015.
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015
Goal 2: Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary school by 2015
Goal 3: Eliminate gender disparities in primary education by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and other major diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability. Reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development between rich and poor countries
Goal 8 has a special importance as it addresses the aid and debt relief that poor countries need to implement the other 7 goals. However, rich countries continue to undermine potential global partnerships such as the Education for All Fast Track Initiative by failing to provide the required funding and by deliberately excluding developing countries from participating in key decisions.