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Passing on the torch: from the MDGs to the new Global Goals

World Vision
25 August 2015 by Hayley Channer
Passing on the torch: from the MDGs to the new Global Goals

Photo by Orlando Ducay Jr., World Vision

This year will mark the end of a major milestone in the fight to end extreme poverty; the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, declared that the Millennium Development Goals produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history. Here’s why.

15 years of the world’s collaborative efforts to end poverty have seen the Millennium Development Goals save the lives of millions of children and their families and improve the lives of billions more.

Since 1990:

  • Extreme poverty has been cut in half, from 1.9 billion to 836 million.
  • Under-five child mortality has declined by more than half, from 12.7 million to 6 million.
  • The number of children out of school has halved to 57 million.
  • Maternal mortality has declined by 45%.
  • 37 million tuberculosis, 7.6 million AIDS, and 6.2 million malaria sufferers have been saved due to improved vaccine coverage and antiretroviral therapy.


Carrying on the torch of the Millennium Development Goals are the new Sustainable Development Goals or ‘Global Goals’ which will be officially signed off at the United Nations General Assembly in September. The Global Goals don’t replace the Millennium Development Goals; rather they build upon them.

So what can we expect from these successor goals and how are they different from the Millennium Development Goals?

  1. They apply to all countries – rich and poor – not just developing countries. Yes, Australia, that includes us!
  2. They bring together two frontiers, development and climate.
  3. They are more ambitious. There are 17 Global Goals and 169 targets, compared with 8 MDGs and 18 targets. This makes sense when you consider the UN conducted the largest consultation effort in history to gauge opinion on what the new goals should be!

What will World Vision focus on?

The recent MDG report gives an encouraging story of how far we’ve come, but also reminds us how much work remains if we are to reach all of the world’s most vulnerable people.

World Vision will focus on ensuring that the new Global Goals reach the most vulnerable children. This means addressing hunger, malnutrition, preventable child deaths and violence. It’s also about reaching children in hardest places to live as it’s children living in war, fragility and instability that have largely missed out on the benefits the Millennium Development Goals have brought.

World Vision believes it is possible to end extreme poverty by 2030 if world leaders deliver truly ambitious goals focused on the most vulnerable children in the hardest places to live. And, if governments like Australia, do all they can to support these goals.

The Millennium Development Goals made us focus on poverty reduction in a way we’ve never seen before. However, we must take the lessons we’ve learnt over the past 15 years and stop at nothing to ensure the new Global Goals reach the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in the hardest to reach places – children like Ana. Millions of lives depend on it.

Hayley Channer Hayley Channer

Hayley works in World Vision Australia's Government Relations team.


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