Millennium Development Goals
The fight against global poverty and inequality
The Australian Government is committed to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—agreed targets set by the world's nations to reduce poverty by 2015.
Theses include halving extreme poverty, getting all children into school, closing the gap on gender inequality, saving lives threatened by disease and the lack of available health care, and protecting the environment. These are achievable commitments to improve the wellbeing of the world's poorest people.
The MDGs underpin the Australian aid program.
Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
- Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day
- Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
- Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
Achieve universal primary education
- Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
Promote gender equality and empower women
- Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015
Reduce child mortality
- Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
Improve maternal health
- Reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
- Achieve universal access to reproductive health
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
- Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
- Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
Ensure environmental sustainability
- Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources
- Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
- Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
- Have achieved by 2020 a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers
Develop a global partnership for development
- Address the special needs of least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states
- Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system
- Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt
- In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
- In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications
Progress towards the MDGs
Australia has helped countries to make progress against the MDGs. In Papua New Guinea, more than 900,000 children were immunised against measles and other childhood illnesses between 2000 and 2009. In Timor-Leste, Australian assistance contributed to a decrease in infant mortality from 60 per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 44 in 2009. In Indonesia, more than 2000 new junior secondary schools have been built or renovated creating places for 330,000 more children between 2006 and 2011. In Sub-Saharan Africa Australian assistance has provided over one million people with access to safe water and 850,000 people with access to basic sanitation.
Around the world hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Life expectancy is improving. Three million more children are surviving beyond their fifth birthday, and there have been important steps in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
However not all of the Millennium Development Goals are on track. There have been setbacks caused by factors such as the global recession, high food and fuel prices and natural disasters. Progress has also been uneven within and between countries.
Key facts on the MDGs
- Significant progress since 1990:
- 600 million fewer people living in extreme poverty
- 4.1 million more children survive each year
- 8 million people now receive HIV/AIDS treatment
- Formidable challenges ahead:
- 1 billion people in extreme poverty
- 61 million children not in school
- 7.6 million children die each year
- 287,000 women die from treatable complications of pregnancy and birth
- Over 34 million people infected with HIV/AIDS, 1.7 million die each year
- Half of the developing world lacks sanitation
Global partnership in development
Donor countries, including Australia, have pledged to provide more and better targeted development assistance and fairer trade to help countries that are committed to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
According to the OECD's
Development Assistance Committee (DAC) [external website], there has been a steady increase in aid in the last decade.
- Donor countries' development assistance to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) has more than doubled between 2000 and 2006, but the ODA-to-GNI ratio—a measure of aid effort—was lower than in 1990 and programmable aid has fallen.
- Global aid is also getting better. It is more flexible and aligned to national priorities; more selective-responsive to needs and quality of policies and institutions.
While multilateral trade negotiations have not yet delivered tangible results, market access for developing countries has improved slightly.
Australia is doubling its aid program
AusAID is the Australian Government's lead agency in the global fight to eradicate extreme poverty. In the face of substantial challenges, not least in the Asia–Pacific region, the Australian Government is intensifying efforts to achieve the MDGs. As one of the larger donor countries in the region, Australia has a special responsibility to assist developing countries in the Asia Pacific region to achieve the MDGs.
The Australian Government has committed to increasing Australia’s aid to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2016-17. On current projections this will more than double the aid program relative to 2010–11. Total Australian official development assistance (ODA) is budgeted at about $5.153 billion in 2012–13.
Australian funding targets areas critical to the achievement of the MDGs including health, education, food security and infrastructure.
For details of other aid activities see
About Australia's aid program
Australia is committed to the
Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda [external website], which underpin best practice aid delivery. Australia supports the Cairns Compact and the Pacific Partnerships for Development, which are driving transparent and coordinated approaches to development in the Pacific, and ensuring the effective use of all development resources—national and international.
Australia is also working with a broader range of donors, multilateral organisations and NGOs through strategic partnership agreements.
Significant investment has also been made in improving the transparency and effectiveness of the overall aid program. See:
Beyond 2015 there will be more to do
Fulfilling the MDGs is both important and achievable. Reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger would be a remarkable achievement, but millions of people would continue to live in poverty.
- It is estimated that more than 600 million people would still be living in extreme poverty, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
- While many more children would be in school, there will still be huge gaps in the quality of education and challenges in access to early learning and secondary education opportunities. Gaps would also persist in child and maternal health.
- Climate change will continue to loom large as a threat to long-term development globally.
The Australian Government is both intensifying efforts to support achievement of the MDGs, and planning for the post-2015 challenges.