Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day

More than one billion people still subsist on less than $1 a day, with many regions of the world still falling short of achieving the target.According to the World Water Development Report (WWDR), problems of poverty are inextricably linked with those of water - it availability, its proximity, its quantity and its quality. Improving the access of poor people to water has the potential to make a major contribution towards poverty eradication.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Proportion of population living on less than $1 per day;
  • Poverty gap ratio, which is the mean distance below the $1 a day poverty line;
  • Share of the poorest quintile in national consumption.

By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), some 840 million people still suffer from undernourishment. This challenge is further amplified by the rapidly growing world population.According to the WWDR, large number of undernourished people lives in environmentally degraded rural areas and in urban slums. War and natural disasters, such as floods and droughts, are the major causes of undernourishment.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Prevalence of underweight children under five years of age;
  • Proportion of population below the minimum level of dietary energy consumption.

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

By 2015, ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling

Approximately 113 million children of school age, some 60% of which are girls, do not attend school. The outlook is, however, hopeful.

According to the WWDR, water factors, such as the need to collect domestic water, play a large part in school attendance.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Net enrolment ratio in primary education;
  • Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 and reaching grade 5;
  • Literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds.

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015

Two thirds of the world's illiterate are female, and the rate of employment of women is only two thirds that of men.

It has been shown, however, that water-related enterprises, such as agricultural development projects, have a far greater success rate when women are involved than when they are excluded.

According to the WWDR, many girls are prevented from attending school because they are in charge of collecting domestic water and of the lack of separate toilet facilities.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education;
  • Ratio of literate females to males aged 15 to 24;
  • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector;
  • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament.

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

By 2015, reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five

Some 11 million children under the age of five die each year, mainly from preventable diseases. Children are the most hit by water-related diseases.

According to the WWDR, of all the people who died of diarrhoeal infections in 2001, 70% (or 1.4 million) were children.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Under-five mortality rate;
  • Infant mortality rate;
  • Proportion of 1-year-old children immunized against measles.

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

By 2015, reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality rate

Access to safe water and sanitation is essential in reducing the maternal mortality rate.

In developing countries, there is one chance in 48 for mothers to die during childbirth, although many countries have now implemented safe motherhood programmes.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Maternal mortality ratio;
  • Proportion of births attended by skilled medical personnel.

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

By 2015, halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS

Forty million people are now infected with HIV/AIDS, but some countries, such as Brazil, have shown that the tide can be stemmed.

People weakened by HIV/AIDS are likely to suffer the most from the lack of safe water supply and sanitation, especially since diarrhoea and skin diseases are two of the more common infections.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • HIV prevalence among pregnant women aged 15 to 24;
  • Ratio of condom use to other contraceptive methods;
  • Number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

By 2015, halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other diseases

Malaria is a water-related vector disease that kills more than one million people each year, 90% in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the WWDR. The disease causes at least 300 million severe cases of illness annually, a number all the more striking since simple, effective solutions are available.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Prevalence and death rates associated with malaria;
  • Proportion of population in malaria-risk areas using effective malaria prevention and treatment measures;
  • Prevalence and death rates associated with tuberculosis;
  • Proportion of tuberculosis cases detected and cured under the DOTS programme (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course).

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

By 2015, integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.

Environmental resources are at ever greater risk.

Some 50% of all the world's wetlands have been lost since 1900, for example. Environmentally sound policies are needed to ensure the sustainability of our ecosystems.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Proportion of land area covered by forest;
  • Ratio of area protected in order to maintain biological diversity to surface area;
  • Energy use (metric ton oil equivalent) per $1 GDP;
  • Carbon dioxide emissions per capita and consumption of ozone-depleting CFCs;
  • Proportion of population using solid fuels.

By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water

One billion people lack access to safe drinking water, 2.4 billion to adequate sanitation. To achieve this target, an additional 1.5 billion people will require access to some form of improved water supply by 2015, that is an additional 100 million people each year (or 274,000/day) until 2015.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Proportion of population (urban and rural) with sustainable access to an improved water source.

Achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020

According to a publication by UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), almost 1 billion people now live in slums, mostly in the developing world where slum-dwellers account for 40% of the urban population. This number could climb to 2 billion by 2020. Slums present a particular challenge, as they are rarely supplied with clean, safe water or adequate sanitation.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Proportion of urban population with access to improved sanitation;
  • Proportion of households with access to secure tenure (owned or rented).

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory

Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction - nationally and internationally.

Address the least developed countries' special needs

This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction.

According to the WWDR, achieving the MDG on drinking water supply coverage will represent a major expenditure in all countries, requiring between US$10 billion and US$30 billion a year on top of the amount already being spent.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Official Development Assistance received in landlocked countries as a proportion of the gross national incomes;
  • Official Development Assistance received in small island developing states as a proportion of their gross national incomes.

Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term

Many developing countries now spend more on debt service than on social services, severely crippling their development capacity.

According to the WWDR, during the last decade, many governments preoccupied by debt and deficit reduction have significantly reduced their expenditures on environment-related infrastructure and services.

The main indicators for progress towards this goal are:

  • Proportion of total developed country imports (by value, and excluding arms) from developing countries and least developed countries, admitted free of duties;
  • Average tariffs imposed by developed countries on agricultural products and textiles and clothing from developing countries;
  • Agricultural support estimate for OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries as percentage of their gross national product;
  • Proportion of Official Development Assistance provided to help build trade capacity;
  • Total number of countries that have reached their Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) decision points and number that have reached their HIPC completion points (cumulative);
  • Debt relief committed under HIPC initiative, in US$;
  • Debt service as percentage of exports of goods and services.

In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth

The main indicator for progress towards this goal is:

  • Unemployment rate of 15 to 24 year olds, for each sex and in total.

In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

The main indicator for progress towards this goal is:

  • Proportion of population with access to affordable essential drugs on a sustainable basis.

In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies - especially information and communication technologies

The main indicator for progress towards this goal is:

  • Telephone lines and cellular subscribers per 100 in habitants;
  • Personal computers in use and Internet user per 100 inhabitants.

ICTS can go a long way in enhancing capacity-building and knowledge in the water domain. According to the WWDR, there are at present about 45,000 courses available internationally for online learning, including thirty in hydrology and water resources.

Back to top