URGENT action is required to agree a new plan to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 1000 days, a report by the Roman Catholic agency CAFOD says.
The eight MDGs were agreed by all UN member states in 2000, with a deadline of 2015.
The report, 1,000 Days: An end and a new beginning, welcomes the progress made on some of the goals, such as the reduction in deaths from illnesses such as measles. In other areas, however, such as maternal health and wealth inequality, it says that there has been much poorer progress.
The goal to reduce the maternal mortality rate by three-quarters is still the furthest from being achieved. More than 350,000 women are dying annually from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
The director of CAFOD, Chris Bain, said that 1000 days was a “tiny amount of time” to do this work, and compared it with the 7500 days spent by the British Olympic Association preparing for the London 2012 Olympics.
“We must learn the lessons from the MDG process,” he said, “and ensure that what replaces them is a new framework designed for the challenges of the next decade: a framework that builds on — but goes far beyond — the progress achieved by the MDGs, so that people living in extreme economic poverty are able to flourish and realise their full humanity through contributing to the common good.”
The CAFOD report says that leaders must listen to the voices of the poor, and put the environment at the centre of a future plan, as the land forms the basis of many poor people’s livelihoods. It urges them to address the needs of disabled people, a subject that was not included in the current MDGs.
CAFOD co-chairs the Beyond 2015 campaign, which has brought together 280 civil-society organisations from more than 70 countries, to work on proposals for the post-MDG framework.