Every year the UN puts out a progress report on the MDGs. The latest report showed that there has been lots of progress: 

  • The MDG target of reducing extreme poverty by half was reached five years ahead of the deadline in 2015 (MDG1).
  • The target of halving the number of people without proper access to clean and safe sources of drinking water has been met (MDG7).
  • Living conditions for more than 200 million people in slums have improved; that’s double the target set for 2020 in the MDGs (MDG7).
  • The number of girls enrolling in primary school now equals the number of boys (MDG2).
  • There has been progress in reducing the number of children and mothers who die from preventable causes (MDG5).
  • The number of people dying around the world from tuberculosis and malaria has fallen and there is now more treatment available for people living with HIV (MDG 6).

However, we still have a lot to do. On some of the MDG targets there has been much less progress, and there is an urgent need for more attention to be given to them. One example is the target for sanitation in MDG7, which is off-track. In 2010, 2.5 billion people were still estimated to be living without access to safe and clean toilet facilities.

Even where MDG targets have been met, there are still many people who have not been reached. For example, while the target for clean water has been met, there are still around 780 million people who do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.

The progress which has been made towards the MDGs has often been unequal and unfair. The poorest and most vulnerable people, who are the most in need of support, are often the ones who have been left behind.

There are big challenges to meeting all of the MDG targets by the 2015 deadline. Natural disasters, climate change and the global financial crisis all threaten the progress achieved so far. However, governments must stick to their commitments to achieve the goals, and do everything they can before 2015. Much more progress is possible if we focus our attention and resources on reaching those people who are poorest and most vulnerable.