Julian Omidi discusses the Millennium Development Goals – goals set forth by the United Nations in order to eradicate global poverty, gender inequality, disease and environmental distress.
In 2000, a summit was held by the United Nations for the purpose of addressing global development. During the summit, eight objectives were established, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), for the purpose of strengthening struggling national economies, empowering women and promoting global environmental responsibility. These goals were to have been implemented by 2015. They were to:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV, malaria and other virulent diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
This initiative has been criticized for numerous reasons. One criticism is that much of the funding for the above objectives went into debt relief for heavily indebted nations and disaster relief, which don’t directly contribute to the achievement of the goals. Another criticism is that some of the goals are arbitrary and defy sound progress analysis. Nevertheless, the MDG strategies have been implemented, and while some nations have been progressing and may be on track to meet the 2015 deadline, others haven’t achieved a single objective.
The fact that economic objectives in Sub-Saharan Africa aren’t being met and the lack of progress is being disguised by several African nations’ own governments is one of the major roadblocks to the success of MDG. Several Sub-Saharan African nations are being hailed as being the fastest growing economies in the world, but the data, when closely inspected, reveals disheartening statistics. 48 percent of all Sub-Saharan Africans live on less than $1.25 per day – down from 58 percent in 2000 – but the number of poor has increased by 37 million.
While many countries in Africa seem to be developing rapidly and are experiencing a boom of luxury hotels, office complexes and high rises, there is nonetheless a growing population of devastating poor; people with no access to clean water, medical care or even shelter. Nations such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Nigeria, while being the next growth areas for investors in Europe, China and the United States, score very poorly on the United Nations Human Development Index (Democratic Republic of Congo is at the very bottom).
Another one of the goals, “Promote gender equality,” has been woefully unrealized in most African countries, according to female representatives from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa addressing a conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The lack of progress stems from a lack of political and social will to change, something that has thus far not been addressed. 
Even though the realization of the MDG on a global scale might not be as soon as the United Nations anticipated or hoped, some countries have made progress. Brazil has succeeded in achieving numerous goals (spurred on by the upcoming Summer Olympics, likely), as has India and China (China did not, however, meet the environmental goal).
 Wikipedia: Millennium Development Goals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Development_Goals#Progress
 Nossiter, Adam: Behind Those Fast Growth Rates, Rising Inequality New York Times 11/5/2013
 Sum, Abigael: Most African Nations ‘Will Not Achieve Millennium Goals’ Standard Digital News 11/11/2013 http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000097494&story_title=most-african-nations-will-not-achieve-millennium-development-goals&pageNo=1