According to experts at U.N. Habitat, the international Human Settlement Program, the MDG has turned out to be the most successful anti-poverty movement in history. More than a billion people have been brought out of extreme need.
But the 2015 Millennium Development Goals report, released in Nairobi, said sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind other regions, with most of its inhabitants still dealing with severe inequality.
Two decades ago nearly half the developing world lived in extreme poverty. According to the United Nations, the number of those living in such dire conditions has fallen from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million this year.
Gender parity has been achieved in many areas, especially in schooling, where the ratio of boys to girls is now even. The report notes that new HIV/AIDS infections fell by 40 percent worldwide from 3.5 million to 2.1 million.
And conditions in sub-Saharan Africa have improved in some ways. Although the region still has the world’s highest child mortality rate, the rate has dropped sharply in terms of real numbers.
In 1990, the under-five mortality rate was 179 deaths per 1,000 live births. Today, the number has dropped to 86.
But the report said the region urgently needs to accelerate progress. To do that, U.N. urban economist Marco Kamiya, said African nations must do better at collecting taxes and revenue to fund their projects.
“There is a direct relationship between the capacity to collect revenues and to have funding available and the quality of the services that ultimately will improve environment for MDGs and SDGs,” he said.
SDGs are the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals. Those will be adopted later this year, replacing the Millennium Development Goals, which are set to be retired in September.
The MDGs were established in 2000 featuring eight goals all aimed at ending poverty and the conditions that contribute to suffering. Progress was determined based on the state of the world in 1990.
The U.N. report shows the major progress made that did not quite reach the targets set by the goals.
For example, the number of children dying each year fell from 12.7 million in 1990 to 6 million today, short of the goal to reduce the number by two-thirds.
Maternal mortality had the same reduction target and also fell by half – a big reduction in deaths, but short of the goal.