Evaluating the United Nations Millennium Development Goals

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Samaritans vision is for a society without poverty, where there is inclusion, care, dignity and opportunity for all its citizens.
However there are roadblocks in the community holding back this vision.
Our blogs seek to identify these roadblocks and point to ways to overcome them.
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Fifteen years ago the United Nations embarked on an ambitious 15 year international anti-poverty program when it launched the 8 Millennium Development Goals.

These goals ranged from halving extreme poverty, stopping the spread of HIV / Aids, and achieving universal primary school education. There have been many successes in this period of time, making the MDGs the most successful anti-poverty movement in history.

Much of course remains to be done, particularly to address ongoing concerns such as:

  • Increasing gaps between richest and poorest families in every nation.
  • 16,000 children under five years old die each day of preventable causes.
  • Unabated rise in greenhouse gas emissions coupled with massive loss in forests, fish stocks, and animal species. Poor people suffer most under climate changes.
  • 60 million people forced to flee their homes due to internal conflicts. This is the highest number of displaced persons since World War 2 and is the major global threat to human development. The UN and US led alliances have obviously no idea how to help resolve these conflicts within nations and how to help the 60 million displaced people around the world.

Most displaced persons just want the fighting to stop so they can go home. But when the fighting goes on for years, how should other countries respond? The going it alone response adopted by countries such as Australia obviously does not work, as this does not solve the problem for the 60 million displaced persons and just look at the current chaos in Europe.

My hope for the next global development goals is that each region of the world will develop regional plans to re-house adequate numbers of asylum seekers and refugees within their region. What better place to start than Europe (where Germany has made a wonderful welcome to refugees from Syria). Australia and its neighbours also must do more.

Let’s hope we can make the next 15 years the most successful refugee resettlement movement in our history. To do nothing is a betrayal of our common humanity and if things get worse, a threat to world peace.