In an attempt to exercise equality and equity around the world, the United Nations (UN) drew up the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the year 2000 with an intention of freeing the human race from extreme poverty. These goals were set and intended to be achieved by the year 2015 (United Nations, 2015). In September 2015, due to the shortfalls of the Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals were drawn up to replace the Millennium Development Goals by addressing shortfalls and accommodating new changes and developments happening around the world. However, both these strategies were gunning for the same thing which was improving people’s lives worldwide. Sustainable Development Goals differ from Millennium Development Goals in ‘purpose, concept and politics’ (Fukuda-Parr, 2016: 43). This essay will therefore discuss the Millennium Development Goals in detail and how they were implemented, the shortcomings of the Millennium Development Goals and how they changed to Sustainable Development Goals. It will also discuss the Sustainable Development Goals in detail and the difference between Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals. A report on the progress of the implementation of the sustainable Development Goals, as to what has been done since 2015 to put the goals into practice will be provided.
THE EMERGENCE OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND THEIR PURPOSE
The Millennium Development Goals were set up because studied statistics showed that the number of women that died during pregnancy or labor was drastically increasing whilst the number of children that were not schooling was also increasing and most people in poor countries lived on $1.25 a day. The infant mortality rate increased with the number of people that were newly infected by HIV (UN,2015). Millennium Development Goals were set to address all these issues and more by finding the causes of these living conditions and finding ways of stopping the situation from worsening. According to Haines ; Cassels (2004:394) the eight Millennium Development Goals that were set up were to ‘eradicate poverty and extreme hunger, to promote gender equality and empower women, to reduce child mortality, to improve maternal health, to combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, to ensure environmental sustainability and to develop a global partnership for development.’
THE SHORTFALLS AND LIMITATIONS OF MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
These Millennium Development Goals were clearly stated with a clear intention of what the world leaders aimed to achieve however, the progress that was made was unequal and the distribution of benefits was uneven across countries in the world. The limitation of the success of the Millennium Development Goals is said to be as a result of lack of ‘unmet commitments, inadequate resources, lack of focus and accountability, and insufficient
interest in sustainable development’ (Fehling et al, 2013: 1110). These goals are said to be ‘overambitious’, ‘unrealistic’ and ‘unambitious’ as they are way more than ambitious for poorer countries and less challenging for richer countries. Hayman as cited in Fehling et al (2013) claimed that the list of goals is restricted, and Fukuda cited in Fehling et al (2013) in agreement stated that there is one missing goal that must aim for reducing inequalities inside a country and between other countries and that is a limitation to the success of the Millennium Development Goals. Another limitation according to Saint cited in Fehling et al (2013) is that the world leaders that drew up the goals had different visions which is why the structure of the Millennium Development Goals was unclear. According to Bianchi (2015) the only reason why Millennium Development Goals were successful in other places, not other places is that they relied on only finances to eradicate poverty.
THE SHIFT FROM MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Millennium Development Goals are rendered as successful even though they did not pay much attention to other indicators of development such as ‘sustainable economic growth and health system strengthening.’ During the implementation of the goals, they were criticized and found to be restricted. After their set time was up, there occurred change, Sustainable Development Goals were drawn up and they consisted of 17 goals. This is how Millennium Development Goals changed to Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of the Sustainable Development Goals was not to totally replace the Millennium Development Goals but to succeed them. The uncomplete agenda of the Millennium Development Goals is featured in Sustainable Development Goals to show that Millennium Development Goals have not been completely written off but now exist in an improved version (World Health Organization, 2015:192) however, Griggs et al (2013: 305) describes Sustainable Development Goals as ‘a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals.’
THE EMERGENCE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Even with the Millennium Development Goals’ successes, there are still so many people suffering from poverty and hunger, there are still a lot of children aged five and less who are still dying of malnutrition and HIV/AIDS and there still people living without electricity, clean water nor good sanitation (United Nations, 2016). According to Griggs et al (2013) it will not be sufficient to simply extend the Millennium Development Goals due to the fact that people engage in activities that might and will hinder development. New goals that applied to all countries (developed and underdeveloped) were enacted at the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals and were set to be accomplished by 2030. These were called Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2016).
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were set up to: “(1) end any form of poverty everywhere, (2) end hunger, enhance food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, (3) ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for people of all ages, (4) ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, (5) achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, (6) ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, (7) ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, (8)promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, (9) build a resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, (10) reduce inequality within and among countries, (11) make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, (12) ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, (13) take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, (14) conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, (15) protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainability manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss, (16) promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels and (17) strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.” (United Nations, 2016: 12-44).
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Although Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals have common goals, they also have their differences. According to Sachs (2013), Millennium Development Goals had only 8 goals and 18 targets which made them easier to handle and communicate on the other hand, Sustainable Development Goals have 17 goals and 169 targets which made them much difficult to handle. Millennium Development Goals focused more on changing people’s poor living conditions and the Sustainable Development Goals were concerned about the environment, how it is utilized and what should be done to protect it. Millennium Development Goals aimed to elevate those at the bottom of the economic ladder to make their lives better whilst Sustainable Development Goals aimed to set them up for life with continuous economic growth (Hak et al, 2016).
Millennium Development Goals targeted poor countries, yet Sustainable Development Goals were set up in a way that they work in both poorer and richer countries. Millennium Development Goals focused on reducing poverty, increasing literacy levels and improving health care facilities whilst Sustainable Development Goals focus on meeting the needs of people at the same time protecting the environment for next generations. Sustainable Development Goals exert more effort on ensuring ‘food security, water security, clean energy and productive ecosystems’ (Griggs et al, 2013:305).
This essay has successfully discussed the Millennium Development Goals, their shortcomings and their shift to Sustainable Development Goals. It has also discussed the Sustainable Development Goals and how different they are from Millennium Development Goals.
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