Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) - List of all the 8 Goals

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world’s main development challenges. The 8 MDGs break down into 18 quantifiable targets that are measured by 48 indicators. This article comprehensively provides all the details pertaining to Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

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To complement your preparation for the upcoming exam, check the following links:

United Nations Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) – 8 Goals

The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted by 189 nations-and signed by 147 heads of state and governments during the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. Full list of Goals, Targets and Indicators are provided below.

  • Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
  • Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
  • Goal 5: Improve maternal health
  • Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – Important Features

  1. It synthesizes, in a single package, many of the most important commitments made separately at the international conferences and summits of the 1990s;
  2. recognize explicitly the interdependence between growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development;
  3. acknowledge that development rests on the foundations of democratic governance, the rule of law, respect for human rights and peace and security;
  4. It is based on time-bound and measurable targets accompanied by indicators for monitoring progress; and
  5. It brings together, in the eighth Goal, the responsibilities of developing countries with those of developed countries, founded on a global partnership endorsed at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002, and again at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2003.


  1. To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce its impact, developing countries need to mobilize all levels of government and civil society.
  2. UNDP advocates for placing HIV/AIDS at the centre of national planning and budgets; help build national capacity to manage initiatives that include people and institutions not usually involved with public health, and promotes decentralized responses that support community-level action. Know in detail about United nation development Program – UNDP on the linked page.
  3. UNDP helps developing countries attract and use aid effectively. In all our activities, we encourage the protection of human rights and the empowerment of women. The annual Human Development Report, commissioned by UNDP, focuses the global debate on key development issues, providing new measurement tools, innovative analysis and often controversial policy proposals.
  4. The global Report’s analytical framework and inclusive approach carry over into regional, national and local Human Development Reports, also supported by UNDP.
  5. In each country office, the UNDP Resident Representative normally also serves as the Resident Coordinator of development activities for the United Nations system as a whole. Through such coordination, UNDP seeks to ensure the most effective use of UN and international aid resources.

United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

  1. The Fund was established in 1966 and became fully operational in 1974.
  2. It invests in poor communities in least-developed countries by providing economic and social infrastructure, credit for both agricultural and small-scale entrepreneurial activities, and local development funds which encourage people’s participation as well as that of local governments in the planning and implementation of projects.
  3. UNCDF aims to promote the interests of women in community projects and to enhance their earning capacities.

Candidates preparing for the upcoming Civil Services exam can check the following relevant links for assistance in their preparation –

Developing 8 Countries World Development Report 2023 National Infrastructure Pipeline [NIP]
Farm Loan Waiver Kisan Credit Card Scheme (KCC) National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development
Small Scale & Cottage Industries in India What Do You Mean By Line of Credit? Local Area Development Schemes (MPLADS)
Electronics Development Fund (EDF) Citizen Centric Administration Citizen’s Charter [Definition, Features, Challenges]
Government To Citizen (G2C) Initiatives  Social Empowerment – Definition Health Issues – Schemes, Implementation, Challenges

United Nations Volunteers – (UNV)

  1. The United Nations Volunteers is an important source of middle-level skills for the UN development system supplied at modest cost, particularly in the least-developed countries.
  2. Volunteers expand the scope of UNDP project activities by supplementing the work of international and host-country experts and by extending the influence of projects to local community levels.
  3. UNV also supports technical co-operation within and among the developing countries by encouraging volunteers from the countries themselves and by forming regional exchange teams comprising such volunteers.
  4. UNV is involved in areas such as peacebuilding, elections, human rights, humanitarian relief and community-based environmental programmes, in addition to development activities.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Mission

To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. Further relevant information on United Nation Environment Program – UNEP is available on the linked page.

  1. 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment recommends the creation of UN environmental organization 1972 UNEP created by United Nations General Assembly
  2. 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), 1975 Mediterranean Action Plan first UNEP-brokered Regional Seas agreement, 1979 Bonn Convention on Migratory Species, 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. 1988 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 1989 Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) publishes Agenda 21, a blueprint for sustainable development, 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, 1995 Global Programme of Action (GPA) launched to protect marine environment from land-based sources of pollution, 1997 Nairobi Declaration redefines and strengthens UNEP’s role and mandate, 1998 Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent, 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety adopted to address issue of genetically modified organisms, 2000 Malmö Declaration – first Global Ministerial Forum on the Environment calls for strengthened international environmental governance, 2000 Millennium Declaration – environmental sustainability included as one of eight Millennium Development Goals, 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2004 Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building, 2005 World Summit outcome document highlights key role of environment in sustainable development.

Check out the links provided below for important information on various summits, conventions and organizations-

35 Years of Vienna Convention for the Protection of Ozone layers CMS – 40 Years of Bonn Convention Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Basel Convention 1989 – History, Objectives Rio Summit (1992) – Earth Summit United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
Nairobi Package + SSM Rotterdam Convention 1998 – Significance Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety [29th January 2000]
Montreal Protocol: Provisions & Significance Stockholm Convention (2001) on POPs World Sustainable Development Summit 2018
Sustainable Development Goals (2012) List of Important Summits 2023 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)


  1. UNEP National Committees are multi-stakeholder support organizations set up under practices and norms existing in different countries on the operation of NGOs.
  2. They may include in their constituent members and representatives of environmental and development NGOs, UN Associations, news media, industry and labour, the scientific community, academia, women, youth, indigenous peoples, community groups as well as prominent individuals.
  3. In some cases, observers and supporters from relevant government agencies may take part as ex-officio members.
  4. National committees are channels for communication with the public in their country but not official UNEP representatives.
  5. There are great variations in their core activities from one country to another. They are established in order to, among other things:
    • increase public awareness of the mandate and functions of UNEP;
    • promote public support for its work;
    • increase public awareness of environmental problems and the steps necessary to deal with them;
    • mobilize public support for the provision of adequate resources for the solution of environmental problems;
    • and provide an additional forum for participating members to share information and experiences in the context of UNEP’s programme and the work of the United Nations.

Activities of UNEP National Committees

The priorities of Regional Offices may affect the choice of programme. In general, however, committees are expected to:

  1. hold meetings, seminars and workshops on various environmental issues;
  2. organize media and public information campaigns in support of UNEP initiatives
  3. facilitate public participation (NGOs, Major Groups and individuals) in UNEP activities;
  4. issue their own newsletters, publications, and translations and wider dissemination of UNEP information where this is needed;
  5. lobby, where this is feasible, to lift the profile of environmental issues and UNEP’s programmes;
  6. devise fund-raising strategies for their own survival and collaborate with UNEP in its fund-raising ventures;
  7. and keep UNEP informed on environmental activities in their country.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.

UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Meeting Development Goals (MDGs)

  1. UNFPA seeks to improve the lives and expand the choices of individuals and couples.
  2. Over time, the reproductive choices they make multiplied across communities and countries, alter population structures and trends.
  3. UNFPA helps governments, at their request, to formulate policies and strategies to reduce poverty and support sustainable development.
  4. The Fund also assists countries to collect and analyse population data that can help them understand population trends.
  5. It encourages governments to take into account the needs of future generations, as well as those alive today.
  6. The close links between sustainable development and reproductive health and gender equality,
  7. The other main areas of UNFPA’s work were affirmed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo.
  8. UNFPA was guided in its work by the Programme of Action adopted there. At the conference, 179 countries agreed that meeting needs for education and health, including reproductive health, is a prerequisite for sustainable development over the longer term. They also agreed on a roadmap for progress with the following goals:
    • Universal access to reproductive health services by 2015
    • Universal primary education and closing the gender gap in education by 2015
    • Reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent by 2015
    • Reducing infant mortality
    • Increasing life expectancy
    • Reducing HIV infection rates

Reaching the goals of the Programme of Action is also essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. These eight goals, which are fully aligned with the ICPD roadmap, have the overarching aim of reducing extreme poverty by half by 2015. UNFPA brings its special expertise in reproductive health and population issues to the worldwide collaborative effort of meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Go through the following relevant links for assistance in the preparation of UPSC Exams-

United Nations Peacekeeping UN Alliance of Civilizations Election Commission of India (Article 324)
Election of Government: Methods One Nation One Election United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC
Human Rights Day: Background and Notable events National Human Rights Commission of India – NHRC OHCHR – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
List of International Environmental Conventions Global Environment Facility (GEF) Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA
World Environment Day – Anthem and Annual Themes Difference between NGOs and SHGs Infant Mortality | Replacement Rate in Fertility Rate
Elementary Education Right to Education Act (RTE) Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in India
HIV and AIDS in India Poverty – Millennium Development Goals Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill

Making Motherhood Safer

Every minute, a woman in the developing world dies from treatable complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Every minute, a family is devastated. The lives of surviving children are put at risk. Communities suffer. And for every woman who dies, as many as 20 others are seriously harmed by fistula or other injuries of childbearing. UNFPA’s strategy for preventing maternal mortality includes:

  1. Family planning to reduce unintended pregnancies
  2. Skilled care at all births
  3. Timely emergency obstetric care for all women who develop complications.

UNFPA also advocates at many levels for the right of mothers to give birth safely. It spearheads the global Campaign to End Fistula, a collaborative initiative to prevent this devastating injury of childbirth and to restore the health and dignity of those who have been living with its consequences. And it is working to address the shortage of skilled midwives in much of the developing world.

Supporting Adolescents and Youth

  1. Half of the world—some 3 billion people—are under the age of 25. Addressing the critical challenges facing the largest youth generation in history is an urgent priority if social and economic development efforts are to succeed and the AIDS pandemic is to be reversed.
  2. UNFPA invests in programmes to meet young people’s needs for health care, education, economic opportunity and life skills.
  3. The Fund works to ensure that adolescents and young people receive accurate information, non-judgmental counselling and comprehensive and affordable services to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
  4. In this work, UNFPA seeks to engage young people as active participants in programmes that affect them.

Improving Reproductive Health
The critical importance of reproductive health to achieving international development goals was affirmed at the highest level at the 2005 World Summit.

Reproductive health is also a human right. Yet, reproductive health conditions are the leading cause of death and illness in women of childbearing age worldwide, and some 350 million couples lack the ability to plan their families or space their children.

UNFPA promotes a holistic approach to reproductive health care that includes:

  1. Universal access to accurate information, a range of safe and affordable contraceptive methods, and sensitive counselling
  2. Ensuring that quality obstetric and antenatal care is available to all pregnant women
  3. Prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV

Investments in reproductive health save and improve lives, slow the spread of HIV and encourage gender equality. These benefits extend from the individual to the family and from the family to the world.

Preventing HIV/AIDS

  • Three million people died of AIDS-related diseases in 2005, and more than 40 million people are living with HIV.
  • Each day 14,000 people—half of them aged 15 to 24—acquire the infection.
  • Women and young people are especially vulnerable.
  • Prevention, the centrepiece of UNFPA’s fight against the disease, is being integrated into reproductive and sexual health programming around the world.
  • Key priorities are promoting safer sexual behaviour—including delayed sexual initiation—among young people, making sure male and female condoms are readily available and widely and correctly used, and preventing infection among women and their children.

Promoting Gender Equality

Women can and must play a powerful role in sustainable development and poverty eradication. When women are educated and healthy, their families, communities and countries benefit. Yet gender-based discrimination and violence pervade almost every aspect of life, undermining the opportunities of women and denying them the ability to fully exercise their basic human rights.

Gender equality is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals as well as a human right. Investments in gender equality can improve the lives of both men and women, with lasting benefits for the next generations.

For more than 30 years, UNFPA has been at the forefront of bringing gender issues to wider attention, promoting legal and policy reforms and gender-sensitive data collection, and supporting projects that empower women economically.

Using Culturally Sensitive Approaches UNFPA’s activities touch on the most sensitive and intimate spheres of human existence, including reproductive health and rights, gender relations and population issues.

Attitudes about these subjects vary widely between and among different cultures. Changing deeply rooted attitudes, behaviours and laws—especially those dealing with gender relations and reproductive health—can be a long process that requires a culturally sensitive approach.

The Fund respects cultural diversity. At the same time, it rejects those practices that endanger women and girls. It works closely and respectfully with communities to enlist their support in upholding the human rights of all its members.

Protecting Human Rights

  • All individuals are entitled to equal rights and protections. This idea is fundamental to UNFPA’s mission and to its way of working.
  • A strong emphasis on the rights of individual women and men underpins the 1994 Cairo Consensus that guides UNFPA’s work.
  • This emphasis on human rights at the ICPD marked a shift in population policy and programmes away from a focus on human numbers and placed human lives front and centre.
  • At that meeting, delegates from all regions and cultures agreed that reproductive health is a basic human right and that individuals should be able to freely choose the number, timing and spacing of their children.
  • Numerous international agreements affirm the human rights principles that underpin UNFPA’s work in reproductive health, gender equality and population and development.

Securing Reproductive Health Supplies

  • Without essential commodities—from contraceptives to testing kits to equipment for emergency obstetric care—people cannot fully exercise the right to reproductive health.
  • In many places, male and female condoms are urgently needed to prevent the further spread of HIV.
  • UNFPA’s mandate in this area is to provide the right quantities of the right products in the right condition in the right place at the right time for the right price.
  • This complex logistical process involves many actors from both the public and private sectors.
  • UNFPA takes a lead role in reproductive health commodity security, by forecasting needs, mobilizing support, building logistical capacity at the country level and coordinating the whole process.

Check out the relevant links for your preparation –

Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) YuWaah Youth Skilling Initiative Family Planning in India – Importance, Need
Skill India Mission: Objectives, Features  Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (SUMAN) Scheme
Gender Inequality Women Empowerment Child health Programmes in India

Assisting in Emergencies

Humanitarian crises are reproductive health disasters. In the wake of war or natural disaster, educational and health systems collapse, gender-based violence increases, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections spread, and infant and maternal mortality rates often skyrocket.

The collapse of social systems leaves women and young people especially vulnerable. Within the coordinated, inter-agency response to disasters, UNFPA takes the lead in providing supplies and services to protect reproductive health.

Priority areas include safe motherhood; prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; adolescent health; and gender-based violence. UNFPA also encourages the full participation of women and young people in efforts to rebuild their societies.

Building Support

As the world’s leading multilateral agency on population, UNFPA is the most prominent international advocate for reproductive health and rights, including the right to choose the number, timing and spacing of one’s children.

Working in partnership with other United Nations agencies, governments, communities, NGOs, foundations and the private sector, the Fund raises awareness and mobilizes the support and resources needed to reach the targets set forth at the International Conference on Population and Development and in the Millennium Development Goals.

In 2005, UNFPA received a record high in voluntary contributions for its core resources from 171 countries, also a record number

United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

  1. Towns and cities are growing today at unprecedented rates setting the social, political, cultural and environmental trends of the world, both good and bad.
  2. In 1950, one-third of the world’s people lived in cities. Just 50 years later, this rose to one-half and will continue to grow to two-thirds, or 6 billion people, by 2050.
  3. Cities are now home to half of humankind. Cities are the hubs of much national production and consumption – economic and social processes that generate wealth and opportunity. But they also create disease, crime, pollution, poverty and social unrest.
  4. In many cities, especially in developing countries, slum dwellers number more than 50 per cent of the population and have little or no access to shelter, water, and sanitation, education or health services. It is essential that policy-makers understand the power of the city as a catalyst for national development.
  5. Sustainable urbanisation is one of the most pressing challenges facing the global community in the 21st century.
  6. UN-HABITAT’s programmes are designed to help policy-makers and local communities get to grips with the human settlements and urban issues and find workable, lasting solutions.
  7. The organization’s mandate is outlined in the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, Habitat Agenda, Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium, and Resolution 56/206.
  8. UN-HABITAT’s work is directly related to the United Nations Millennium Declaration, particularly the goals of member States to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020,
  9. Target 11, Millennium Development Goal No. 7, and Target 10 which calls for the reduction by half of the number without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
  10. UN-HABITAT’s strategic vision is anchored in a four-pillar strategy aimed at attaining the goal of Cities without Slums. This strategy consists of advocacy of global norms, analysis of information, field-testing of solutions and financing. These fall under the four core functions assigned to the agency by world governments – monitoring and research, policy development, capacity building and financing for housing and urban development

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2023.

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