Why the Millennium Development Goals Matter to You

By Eric Bond | October 3, 2013

Everyone should be uncomfortable about a world where many babies don’t have a decent shot at life. But we are changing that.

One out of every 10 children born in sub-Saharan Africa will die before reaching the age of 5, mostly from preventable causes such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malnutrition.

Last week, key members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), met in New York City to discuss progress toward a future in which such a statistic is unimaginable. In 2000, the United Nations set eight specific goals to improve the lives of people who face daunting obstacles to survival and success. Since then, nearly 200 countries have committed to these Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), working on a 2015 deadline to accomplish the following: 


1. Eradicate hunger and extreme poverty
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other major diseases
7. Ensuring environmental sustainability
8. Create a global partnership for development

With fewer than 16 months remaining, the pressure is on for world leaders, researchers, health workers, program coordinators, and others working to promote health, alleviate extreme poverty, and support education in order to achieve these goals.

Why should this matter to you?

You can help the world meet the MDGs and the next phase of goals, no matter how much money you have or where you live. Change is hastened when time and resources are funneled toward effective solutions. For example, at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), we have provided nearly 17 million women with services to prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies. Donations to fund such programs save lives.

But knowledge is power, too. You are part of the solution when you learn as much as possible about global health and poverty issues and keep up with news about progress and challenges. The UN news website, IRIN, is a good source of humanitarian news from around the world. Bookmark it or download the phone app and check in regularly to see what is happening around the world. Many stories of hope from vulnerable communities around the world never reach mainstream media.

Then share your knowledge with your friends, family, and colleagues through your social media channels. And through EGPAF’s! You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates on the global effort to achieve an AIDS-free generation. Simply by sharing information, you acknowledge basic human rights to health, education, and personal freedom.

Social movements stall when people of good fortune are unaware or unconcerned about the hardships that others endure. But those movements gain ground as public awareness grows. Inequities that were once taken for granted become unacceptable and people clamor for policies and funding for a new reality.

Everyone should be uncomfortable about a world where many babies don’t have a decent shot at life. But we are changing that.

To learn more about the MDGs, visit the UN’s Millennium Development Goals webpage, where you will find background information, specific targets, and how close we are to those targets.

To learn about EGPAF’s work toward achieving the MGDs and to get involved, click here!

Eric Bond is a Senior Writer at EGPAF, based in Washington, D.C.