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While it isn’t quite obvious on the surface, the state of the human population is vastly better off than it was fifteen or twenty-five years ago. Today, fewer people are living on cents a day. More children, especially girls, are attending school. Fewer and fewer people are dying unnecessarily from easily preventable and treatable diseases. Yet with only 500 days until the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) there remains a hesitation to label the initiative a resounding success.
At the beginning of the new millennium, the world decided to make tackling global poverty a top priority. The MDGs attempted to address this through a set of eight specific goals and 21 targets. The framework focuses on economic poverty, communicable diseases, gender equality, education, environmental issues, and global partnerships. In an unprecedented manner, developed nations rose to the challenge of addressing the key issues facing humanity by instituting innovative programs and significantly increasing funding.
While valid criticisms surround the current MDGs, their success in reducing poverty is difficult to ignore. In honor of the 500 day marker, it is worth reflecting on some of the countries that have not achieved overall MDG success, but have nonetheless managed to improve the lives of millions of their citizens despite large challenges:
Target 1.A: “Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day”
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