Introduced in 2000, the Millennial Development Goals (MDGs) committed the world to reducing extreme poverty and its many dimensions by the year 2015. In the span of 15 years, significant progress has been made on all of the eight goals, but at times disproportionately. According to the Millennial Project, “there are huge disparities across and within countries” with rural areas still experiencing much of the brunt of poverty although urban poverty is also extensive. The MDGs were in part a successful step towards bringing the world together to focus on necessary development targets but they received criticisms in certain regards both in terms of conception and design. To begin with, a conceptual problem was the fact that each goal specifies a required outcome while not laying out a plan of action for the process that will help achieve the desired results (Reading week 1). Furthermore, another conceptual issue was that in the goals there is no reference to the initial conditions of each target, so that made difficult the ultimate analysis to measure their success (Reading Week 1). In terms of design, the MDGs have 8 goals, 21 targets and 60 indicators, creating a multiplicity of objectives that complicated the completion of objectives (Reading Week 1). Despite these complications, the biggest issue with the MDGs is that they did not include people with disabilities. Given that about 15% of the world population has disabilities, that is a significant portion of the population that is missing out entirely from any type of help.
Although the MDGs had several weaknesses, they led the way for better, more focused goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into effect in January 2016 to replace the MDGs and advance where they fell short. There are 17 SDGs but there is also a larger agenda that focuses on people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership, just just poverty. Furthermore, a big improvement and step forward in development is the fact that there are 11 references to people with disabilities in the SDGs. Although it is still too soon to make any concrete analysis of the SDGs, it is already quite noticeable that they will be much more inclusive and that more portions of the population will greatly benefit from them.
Besides the SDGs, many international frameworks in the field of development are increasingly looking to ensure that Persons With Disabilities (PWD) are actively included. For example, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), is an international treaty that requires parties to the convention to promote, protect, and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities to enjoy full equality under the law. With this as a basis, several other international frameworks are addressing the issue and including disadvantaged groups into their official language. The future of development is looking promising. The frameworks being created appear more and more likely to follow through on their commitments and disadvantaged groups are becoming more included. Although there is a lot of work to be done, there is much progress being made that looks very promising.