The End of Millennium Development Goals and Beyond

On September 08, 2000 leaders from United Nations (UN) member countries along with 23 different international organizations met up in Millennium Summit to addresses different human problems. After three days long millennium summit, general assembly of UN realizes that combine effort of countries and people all over the world is necessary to solve existing problems; solving problem alone is not possible. After realizing the facts, eight different development goals or promises were set up following the Millennium Declaration of UN and agreed to achieve by the year 2015 A.D. Those goals were eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equity and empowering women, reducing child mortality rates, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. Those goals were called as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To support poor countries and to help them to achieve MDGs rich countries agreed to provide sufficient aids and monetary supports.

According to MDG Report 2013, though deadline is 2015, several goals have been achieved already and some of them will be achieved with in deadline. Population living in extreme poverty level has been halved globally, about 2 billion people gained access to healthier drinking water, within 10 years of MDG and mortality rate by malaria has been reduced by more than 25 percent. Also number of children not going to school has been reduced from 102 million (2000) to 57 million (2011). Proportion of slum dwellers in the cities of developing countries is declining. Besides several other achievements such as gender equity and woman empowerment, decrease in the infant mortality rate and mortality rate of mother, decrease in the population of undernourished people etc. has been achieved. Also target made by MDG to reduce hunger is in achievable range.

Despite these achievements several criticisms have been made to MDGs. Locally the situation is worst even in the area of achievement of MDGs. Hunger problem, health problem, unemployment problems etc. are big problems in third world and developing country though they were achieved globally. Large population of Africa, South-East Asia and many other developing countries are suffering from problems such as malnutrition, unemployment, prostitution, social crime etc. Lots of efforts should be made to achieve goals in local level though goals have been achieved globally.

Criticisms are also made in the goals of MDGs. For example what are the minimum criteria to define one as poor? Is it appropriate to define the term poverty only based on the level of income or should it be defined on different basis such as health poverty, education poverty, technological poverty, poverty due to low social status etc. If it is defined based on income level, is it wise enough to categorize people who have income level just above few dollar as non-poor in the era of technology and era of development.

There is no any meaning of providing only primary education for children if one has to give up further study. Merely primary education is not sufficient to sustain life of individual but higher and technical education is important for every individual. Data about how many children get admitted in school doesn’t make any sense until they regularly go to school.

Ensuring environmental sustainability doesn’t make any sense to those people who are unable to join their hand and mouth daily or to those who are below or just above the poverty level.

Most important criticism made is MDGs are unable to addresses the issue of freedom, peace, politics and independence of poor and developing countries. Developing countries are forced to implement the decision of developed countries and shape development programs and policies following their decisions. This has created mismatch between the needs of poor countries and plan or policies to fulfill the need. Developed countries are dominating and ruling over developing countries by forcing their programs and taking advantages of progress made by developing countries. For example forest conserved by developing countries is reducing pollution created by developed countries. So, developed countries are more benefited by MDGs rather than developing countries.

To solve the problem of developing countries, every developing country should get right to formulate their own development goals and programs to achieve their goals. Needs of certain locality are better known by local people living there rather than outsiders. So every continent, every country and every community should get chance to take part in decision-making process and should get opportunities to express vision for development of their locality. Programs should be developed on the basis of common goals to be achieved within certain time period by collective action of countries facing similar types of problems and crisis. For example African countries might have different needs and goals to achieve compared to South Asian countries. But countries within African continent or territories might have similar problems which might differ from problems among South Asian countries. Development program should be designed to meet problems of these two parts separately. Right should be given to developing countries to identify problems, design and develop policies and program based on their own political, socio-economic and technological situation. While designing program and plan in community level, local people and local community should be included in decision-making process. Right should be provided to local people to decide what is lacking within them and what they need to improve their socio-economic condition and improve their livelihood.

Outsiders and developed countries should act as observer and guide the planning and implementation process to achieve goal based on their experiences after identifying needs of local. They should act as catalyst to enhance the development process and support developing countries by providing funds, incentives, technical supports, technological supports, etc. as requirement of developing countries during program implementation and moving towards achieving goals. Developed counties should not interfere on the political, social, economic issues of developing countries.

Besides, development goals beyond 2015 should ensure institutionalizing the goals achieved from MDGs and ensure continuity of the development process of developing countries. For example countries which has achieved goal of primary education to all children should focus on continuance of their higher education and technical education to ensure better employment and descent job. Country which has achieved the goal of minimum income should focus on improving livelihood by providing basic requirements for happy life.

Concluding, MDGs set up during millennium summit 2000 brought huge difference in the lifestyle of developing countries and is almost at the end. Despite improvements in the social, political and economic condition of developing countries it is criticized by many policies makers. Despite achievements of goals it failed to addresses the freedom, peace, dignity and independence of citizens of developing countries which are ultimate goals of human life. This is because of top bottom approach of program planning and use of political power by developed countries. So beyond 2015, bottom up approach of planning should be followed to formulate plans and programs to meet common goals. This will help to address the real issue of developing countries and help to build peace world with right of freedom.

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