Skip navigation

Global Partnership for Development: MDG 8


  • Official development assistance (ODA) stands at 0.31 per cent of national income for developed countries, far short of the recommended 0.7 per cent UN target. (Only five donor countries have reached or exceeded this target.)
  • Debt burdens have eased for developing countries and remain well below historical levels.
  • Only 1 in 6 people in the developing world has Internet access.

Despite falling short of expectations, ODA levels continue to rise nonetheless, reaching almost $120 billion in 2009, an all-time high. In a positive sign on trade, developing countries are increasingly gaining access to global markets. Meanwhile, access to information and communications technology (ICT) is also expanding ― but still closed to the majority of the world’s people.


Starting in 2009, the Economic and Social Council has organized, as part of the preparatory process for the ECOSOC’s Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), a series of annual special events to strengthen the partnership between governments, the private sector and the philanthropic community.

In 2008, the Council has held its biennial Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) every two years, bringing countries together to review aid effectiveness and to scale-up partnership efforts.

The DCF had an impact of the outcome document of the Doha Follow-up Conference on Financing for Development in November/December 2008.  The conference re-emphasized the importance of the DCF as the focal point within the United Nations system for holistic consideration of issues of international development cooperation and recognized the efforts of the forum to improve the quality of ODA and to increase its development impact.

UN System

  • In 2001, the 3rd UN Conference on Least Developed Countries stirred up international support for the world’s 50 most vulnerable nations, while setting terms for boosting ODA, trade access and domestic governance. In 2011, a follow-up conference in Istanbul both reviewed progress and adopted new policy measures for least developed countries in the ensuing decade.
  • In 2002, the International Conference on Financing for Development helped reverse a decade-long stagnation and decline in ODA. A follow-up conference in Doha, Qatar, in 2008 endorsed strong action to contain the ongoing economic crisis, restore sustained economic growth and reform the international financial architecture.
  • In 2009, the UN Conference on South-South Cooperation articulated the emerging consensus that cooperation among developing countries — via aid, trade, technical assistance and investment — is helping drive progress on the Millennium Development Goals.
  • In May 2009, near the beginning of the H1N1 pandemic, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) obtained agreement from pharmaceutical companies to donate at least 10 per cent of their vaccine production to poor countries.
  • The GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization)— a public-private global health partnership that includes WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank — is working to accelerate access to vaccines, strengthen immunization systems and introduce innovative new immunization technologies. Since its launch in 2000, the GAVI Alliance has helped prevent over 1.7 million deaths.
  • At the beginning of the Internet revolution, the UN and its Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) took a lead role in promoting the advantages of the new digital order in developing countries, and with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in improving their role in Internet governance. The Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID), a UN body, helped to close the digital divide by facilitating public-private partnerships.

Further reading…

Annual Philanthropy Meeting of ECOSOC

Documents by category