The MDGs as a Tool for International Betterment

The United Nations has had several successes and failures since its development in 1945. As a whole, the United Nations still has a major international presence and sets the tone for the issues the global community must focus on. However, sometimes it seems the politics of the United Nations makes it its own enemy. Nevertheless, the United Nations exists to make the world a better place and it seems to be keeping that promise.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established in 2000 to usher in the new millennia with global improvements. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cites that the MDGs helped over a billion out of extreme poverty, increased female education and reduced global hunger. Yet Ki-moon also acknowledges the gaps in equity that still exist across the globe. Reports on the MDGs frequently note the amount of progress that was made on each goal and where each goal fell short. Many reports conclude that because nations failed to meet certain indicators, the goals failed. Arguably this should not be the case as a significant amount of progress was made within every goal. It is hard to know whether it was the design of the MDGs or efforts of the countries that endorsed them that led to their shortcomings. Additionally, it should be highlighted that there could have been external factors that prevented certain targets from being achieved. Without the MDGs, it is hard to say whether any progress would have been made towards any of the goals. Furthermore, the United Nations and the MDGs are simply tools to challenge the global community to improve itself by providing tangible goals and measurements.

Other global strategies and frameworks operate similarly. They are meant to challenge the global community, but should not be blamed for any shortcomings. However, some methods increase the likelihood of participation and success of certain frameworks. There must be a certain amount of international cooperation and pressure for frameworks to succeed. Without an international consensus, a framework cannot be passed nor can succeed. Within this analysis, developing countries often feel short-changed at the UN level as their voices are not heard as clearly as large countries like the United States. Due to this, developing countries cannot commit to frameworks to the same extent as other nations as it was not designed for them. On the other hand, global frameworks can be a channel where developing countries or key groups can have a voice and advocate for change in a meaningful way.

Furthermore, the United Nations will remain almighty in the international community. However, all voices must be heard for frameworks and goals to be successful. The more successful we are as a collective community the better off the world will be.