When world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration in 2000, they produced an unprecedented international compact, a historic pledge to create a more peaceful, tolerant and equitable world in which the special needs of children, women and the vulnerable can be met. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a practical manifestation of the Declaration’s aspiration to reduce inequity in human development among nations and peoples by 2015.
The past decade has witnessed considerable progress towards the goals of reducing poverty and hunger, combating disease and mortality, promoting gender equality, expanding education, ensuring safe drinking water and basic sanitation, and building a global partnership for development. But with the MDG deadline only five years away, it is becoming ever clearer that reaching the poorest and most marginalized communities within countries is pivotal to the realization of the goals.
In his foreword to the Millennium Development Goals Report 2010, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon argues that “the world possesses the resources and knowledge to ensure that even the poorest countries, and others held back by disease, geographic isolation or civil strife, can be empowered to achieve the MDGs.” That report underscores the commitment by the United Nations and others to apply those resources and that knowledge to the countries, communities, children and families who are most in need.
‘Achieving the MDGs with Equity’ is the focus of this ninth edition of Progress for Children, UNICEF’s report cardseries that monitors progress towards the MDGs. This data compendium presents a clear picture of disparitiesin children’s survival, development and protection among the world’s developing regions and within countries.
While gaps remain in the data, this report provides compelling evidence to support a stronger focus on equity for children in the push to achieve the MDGs and beyond.