The Millennium Development Goals, although replaced with the refined Sustainable Development Goals, withheld successes that set a foundation for future development initiatives. Adopted in 2000, the MDGs set their goals to reached by 2015, a goal that ultimately was not achieved. Because the MDGs were so ambitious in their goals, it’s not completely surprising that their outcome was less than expected. Amongst some of the goals included in the MDGs were the eradication of poverty and hunger, universal primary education, and gender equality. Although these goals were not achieved in their entirety, they act as an important global framework for how certain actors approach things such as poverty reduction and global education. The unifying framework that was laid out by these goals set the foundation for the Sustainable Development Goals and allowed for the exchange of dialogue and practical approaches towards overall solutions to the problems at hand.
Although this framework was created by the MDGs, one major limitation that continues to exist is overall access to outlets of influence. This is addressed more deeply within the SDGs, but is still a major problem everywhere.In modern society, the only people that are able to access policy-making opportunities are those who withhold access to Prep Coms and the resources to do so, such as ICTs and financial ability. Due to the fact that over 80% of the world lives in poverty and 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability that hinders their ability to access these kinds of opportunities, there is a huge disparity between those who are allowed a voice in decision-making processes. One of the main reasons why the MDGs are seen as a failure by some is that persons with disabilities were completely left out of their framework, leading to policies that made little to no mention of them, a problem that is intensely problematic given the amount of people on this earth that live with a disability. It has been claimed by countless scholars, including people like Kett and Lang, that would be impossible to achieve the goals of the MDGs. Not only did the MDGs struggle with inclusion, but they also struggled with implementation due to the fact that the goals are not legally binding, providing no real motivation for states to implement their policies. This coupled with the fact that the wording and content of these goals were both vague and general sets a foundation of rhetorical commitments that holds no valor in the global sphere. This is highlighted by Deepak Nayyar when he notes the difficulty in contextualizing the MDGs in different setting, both locally and statewide.
On the whole, the MDGs withheld positive and negative aspects. Although they failed in their implementation and overall sphere of influence, they did in fact set a trail for the SDGs through allowing the global community to grow and strategize off of what failed and what succeeded. For instance, when looking at the disparities between the MDGs and the SDGs, the SDGs withhold 11 mentions of persons with disabilities, a number that emerged out of the need for the MDGs to include this large population of people. As we progress as a society, hopefully we are able to continue to grow and learn from the failure of our attempts towards inclusive sustainable development.