Millennium Development Goals

In September 2000, 189 heads of state and governments gathered at the United Nations in New York at the Millennium Summit and adopted what became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight goals were set to encourage all countries, rich or poor, to focus on human development problems. The goals were about basic human rights – the rights of every woman, man and child to health, education, shelter and security as pledged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Millennium Declaration.

The MDGs were the most broadly supported, comprehensive, and specific poverty reduction targets ever established. For the international political system, they were the platform on which development partnerships were based. The goals and targets mobilised national and international partners into action and helped forge new alliances for development. They also provided a means for benchmarking and assessing progress in development. The eight MDGs break down into 21 quantifiable targets that were measured by 60 indicators. The MDGs provided a framework for the entire UN system to work coherently together towards a common end.

The MDGs have been the most successful anti-poverty movement in history. They proved that setting goals and sticking to them could lift millions of people out of poverty, empower women and girls, and improve health and well-being. They decreased misery and made it possible for millions to lead better lives. The MDGs heightened global and national ambition, and then kept a spotlight on tracking their progress, requiring reporting on national, regional and global levels.

2015 marked the conclusion of the MDG implementation; unfinished business is being finished in the ambitious 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

MDGs in Ghana

Ghana joined other countries in a transparent exercise of accountability, providing regular progress reports and budget statements to the Parliament as well as to the international community in many global meetings.

Ghana mainstreamed the MDGs into the national development framework that has driven the national socioeconomic development agenda. The UN system partnered with the Government of Ghana to ensure that national priorities were linked with the Millennium Development Goals. The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda 2010-2013 guided the country’s efforts to reach the MDGs.

Out of 21 MDG targets and 60 indicators adopted globally for monitoring the MDGs, Ghana adopted a more nationally relevant set of 17 targets and 36 indicators. The impressive growth performance of Ghana over the years and the improvement in social protection programmes have contributed significantly to the progress made towards achieving the MDGs.

However, the outcomes have been mixed.

Targets such as halving extreme poverty (MDG 1A), halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water (MDG 7B), universal primary education (MDG 2A) and gender parity in primary school (MDG 3) were attained. Substantial progress has been made in reducing HIV prevalence (MDG 6C), increasing access to ICT (MDG 8F) and reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger.

However, slow progress has been made towards the targets of achieving full and productive employment (MDG 1B), equal share of women in wage employment in non-agriculture sectors and women’s involvement in governance (MDG 3), reducing under-5 and child mortality (MDG 4), reducing maternal mortality (MDG 5), and reversing the loss of natural resources and improving sanitation (MDG 7).