Fast facts

3.8% of national income

Was spent by low-income countries on education in 2011, compared to 2.9 per cent in 1999.

Quote of the month

The more children in conflict with the law are shut out of society, the harder it is for them to heal. Progress has been made but justice is often blind to children’s needs. Justice systems must adjust to meet the rights of all children.

Yoka Brandt, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director

Millennium Development Goals

The millennium declaration and development goals: A blueprint for progress

In September of 2000 the largest gathering of world leaders in human history met at the Millennium Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In that pivotal year, representatives from 189 Member States of the United Nations reflected on their common destiny. The nations were interconnected as never before, with increased globalisation promising faster growth, higher living standards and new opportunities.

Yet their citizens’ lives were starkly disparate. As some States looked ahead to prosperity and global cooperation, many barely had a future, being mired in miserable, unending conditions of poverty, conflict and degraded environments.

To begin addressing these crises back in 2000, the convened leaders set down the Millennium Declaration, a series of collective priorities for peace and security, poverty reduction, the environment and human rights — essential steps for the advancement of humankind, as well as for the immediate survival of a significant portion of it. Human development, they agreed, is the key to sustaining social and economic progress in all countries, as well as contributing to global security.

But how would the world community achieve these priorities? Following further meetings with many world agencies, the delegation also drew up a blueprint for a better future: the Millennium Development Goals. By 2015, the leaders pledged, the world would achieve measurable improvements in the most critical areas of human development. The goals established yardsticks for measuring these results, not just for developing countries but also for countries that help to fund development programmes, and for the multilateral institutions like the World Bank or the United Nations Development Programme, that help countries implement them.

Sustainable Development Goals

The new agenda for global action


The Millennium Development Goals were agreed almost fifteen years ago. These provided animportant framework for development and significant progress has been made in a number ofareas. But the progress has been uneven and some of the Goals remain off-track.

Heads of State and Government of the 193 member States of the United Nations will meet in New York from 25–27 September 2015 to agree on new global goals for the sustainable development of humanity intend, between now and 2030.They will adopt a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity which also seeks to strengthenuniversal peace in larger freedom.

The new Agenda builds on the MillenniumDevelopment Goals and seeks to complete what these did not achieve. It encompasses all human rights and promotes dignity of all human beings and sets out, inter alia, to:

  • End poverty and hunger;
  • Secure education, health and basic services for all;
  • Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls;
  • Combat inequalities within and between countries;
  • Foster inclusive economic growth, shared prosperity and sustainable lifestyles for all;
  • Promote safe and inclusive cities and human settlements;
  • Protect the planet, fight climate change, use natural resources sustainably and safeguardour oceans;
  • Strengthen governance and promote peaceful, safe, just and inclusive societies; and
  • Revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.