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What are the Millennium Development Goals?

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -- which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 -- form a blueprint agreed to by all the world's countries and all the world's leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest.

The eight goals are:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day

Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five

Goal 5: Improve maternal health care
Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS

Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs; reverse loss of environmental resources

Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water

Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty
reduction- nationally and internationally

Address the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction

Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States

Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term

In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth

In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies- especially information and communications technologies

Further information on the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals