Since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals back in 2000, organisations and governments worldwide have been working, together with the United Nations, to accomplish eight anti-poverty goals.

These goals highlighted key areas that, if improved, could mean a significant amount of people wouldn’t live in poverty or suffer from extreme hunger. The areas included improving maternal healthcare, reducing child mortality, combating deadly diseases and achieving universal primary education.

Fifteen years later just how much progress has been made?

MDG 1: To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Of the 23.3% of people recorded as being undernourished between 1990–1992, only 12.9% now remain. Northern Africa even reached the target of halving extreme poverty five years ahead of the deadline in 2010. Today, only 1% of people still live on less than $1.25 a day. This number has fallen from 5% in 1990.


MDG 2) To achieve universal primary education

It was Sub-Saharan Africa that recorded the best progress in primary education with a 20% increase in those receiving primary education between 2000 and 2015.

However, it is only in Western Asia that gender parity was reached in tertiary education.


MDG 3) To promote gender equality

Today there are many more girls enrolled in education that in 1990 while the average number of women in parliaments across the world has doubled.

In Rwanda, women in fact hold more than 60% of the seats in parliament while another three of the top 10 countries in world rankings of women in parliament, are in sub-Saharan Africa.


MDG 4) To reduce child mortality

Vaccinations have played an important role in significantly reducing child mortality figures. Between 2000 and 2013 the measles vaccine alone prevented nearly 15.6 million deaths.

In Western Asia this has meant the under-five mortality rate has dropped from 65 deaths per 1,000 births in 1990 to just 23 per 1,000 in 2015.


MDG 5) To improve maternal health

Back in 1990 only 59% of births were tended to by a skilled health person. In 2014 that figure had risen to almost 75% meaning maternal mortality was less likely.

In Eastern, South-Eastern and Southern Asia, the maternal mortality ratio declined by more than 55 per cent between 1990 and 2013. However, it is Caucasus and Central Asia that boast the one of the lowest maternal mortality ratios among developing regions with only 39 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births recorded in 2013.


MDG 6) To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

In terms of malaria, the global incidence rate has fallen by an estimated 37 per cent over the 15 year period and the mortality rate has fallen by more than half.

Tuberculosis prevention also saved approximately 37 million lives between the years 2000 and 2013 while HIV incidents are slowly declining too.


MDG 7) To ensure environmental sustainability

Worldwide 2.1 million have received access to better sanitation while the number of people openly defecating has fallen by half. Specifically, in Northern Africa, now 93% of people are using an improved water source.

The amount of urban slums in developing areas has also fallen.


MDG 8) To develop a global partnership for development

Internet penetration has grown from 6% of the world’s population in 2000 to 43% in 2015. This means that there are now 3.2 billion people with access to the internet.

While there has been an increase in official development assistance and a breakthrough in trade negotiations, there has also been an extension of duty-free and quota-free access to developed country markets for least developed countries.