The Call to Action on the Millennium Development Goals aims to accelerate progress towards meeting these global targets, bringing together heads of state and other key figures in development for a high-level event at the United Nations Headquarters on 25 September 2008.
In ODI's Annual Report 2008, Andrew Shepherd discusses the importance of these goals. Here is an excerpt.
"The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the most determined effort in history to galvanise international action around one set of development targets. The goals themselves are no-brainers: basic rights for all by the year 2015, with clear targets to be reached along the way.
However, we are just seven years from the 2015 MDG deadline. As the credit crunch and rising prices threaten to distract leaders from their global commitments, now is the time to regroup around the MDGs, looking beyond 2015 and changing direction if necessary.
There has been some progress, particularly in countries where commitment from the top is backed by strong policies and public expenditure. Examples include Vietnam, a one-party state, and Ghana, a multiparty democracy. Progress is also enhanced when efforts are made across a number of mutually reinforcing goals. Improvements in girls’ education, for example, can boost demand for reproductive health services, and both can dent intergenerational poverty.
Economic growth helps, and could put the world on track for the MDG target of halving the proportion of people living on less than one dollar a day. Growth means more tax revenue and resources for public expenditure, if the politics of public expenditure permit.
However, the challenges remain formidable. They include rising food and oil prices and accelerating climate change, as well as the continuing threats of chronic poverty, growing inequality, poor governance and the extreme problems facing the most fragile states, where the necessary leadership – and the basics of development – are often lacking.