Since they were first adopted, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have raised awareness and
shaped a broad vision that remains the overarchingframework for the development activities of the United
At the September 2010 MDG Summit, world leaders put forward an ambitious action plan — a roadmap
outlining what is needed to meet the goals by the agreed deadline of 2015. The information presented
on the following pages demonstrates that this can be done if concrete steps are taken.
Already, the MDGs have helped to lift millions of people out of poverty, save lives and ensure that
children attend school. They have reduced maternal deaths, expanded opportunities for women, increased access to clean water and freed many people from deadly and debilitating disease. At the same time, the report shows that we still have a long way to go in empowering women and girls, promoting sustainable development, and protecting the most vulnerable from the devastating effects of multiple crises, be they conflicts, natural disasters or volatility in prices for food and energy.
Progress tends to bypass those who are lowest on the economic ladder or are otherwise disadvantaged
because of their sex, age, disability or ethnicity. Disparities between urban and rural areas are also
pronounced and daunting. Achieving the goals will require equitable and inclusive economic growth —
growth that reaches everyone and that will enable all people, especially the poor and marginalized, to benefit from economic opportunities.
We must also take more determined steps to protect the ecosystems that support economic growth and
sustain life on earth. Next year’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development — Rio + 20 —
is an opportunity to generate momentum in this direction, which is vital for achieving the MDGs.
Between now and 2015, we must make sure that promises made become promises kept. The people of
the world are watching. Too many of them are anxious, angry and hurting. They fear for their jobs, their
families, their futures. World leaders must show not only that they care, but that they have the courage and conviction to act.
Secretary-General, United Nations