What are the Millennium Development Goals?

The MDGs are eight goals and associated targets that were set by world leaders during the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, to be reached by 2015: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1), Achieve universal primary education (MDG 2), Promote gender equality and empower women (MDG 3), Reduce child mortality (MDG 4), Improve maternal health (MDG 5), Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (MDG 6), Ensure environmental sustainability (MDG 7), Develop a global partnership for development (MDG 8).

Although culture was not explicitly mentioned in the MDGs adopted in 2000, it has been widely acknowledged as a key element to take into account to achieve the development goals set by the international community. In 2005, on the occasion of the first review of the MDGs, the international community recognized the “diversity of the world and that all cultures and civilizations contribute to the enrichment of humankind.” In 2010, while MDGs were reviewed for the second time, Member States went one step further by explicitly emphasizing the importance of culture for development and its contribution to the achievement of the MDGs, and by encouraging international cooperation in the cultural field. This was followed by two successive Resolutions on Culture and Development adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2010 and 2011.

Cultural policies and culture-based projects significantly contribute to achieving the MDGs and eradicating poverty in the world, while also strengthening national ownership by target populations. Integrating culture into development strategies and policies is also about building ownership of target populations and ensuring the sustainability of the MDGs. Placing culture at the heart of development is an essential investment for world peace and stability and a prerequisite for the success of a globalization that embraces the diversity of development approaches and models.


Click on each MDG to find out how culture contributes to its achievement.