A series of targets have been set by the United Nations called the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) which aim to considerably improve the condition of developing nations by 2015. The goals are a useful tool to focus the minds of the international community on development priorities, and this site has used them to guide its layout and content.
You can read more about the goals at the UNDP website. The goals and targets are:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Target for 2015: Halve the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education
Target for 2015: Ensure that all boys and girls complete primary school.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
Targets for 2005 and 2015: Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.
4. Reduce child mortality
Target for 2015: Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five
5. Improve maternal health
Target for 2015: Reduce by three-quarters the ratio of women dying in childbirth.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Target for 2015: Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources.
By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water.
By 2020 achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.
8. Develop a global partnership for development
Develop further an open trading and financial system that includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction – nationally and internationally
Address the least developed countries’ special needs, and the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States
Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt problems
Develop decent and productive work for youth
In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies – especially information and communications technologies.
The United Nations Development Programme has produced a Flash animation to demonstrate what progress has been made in achieving the goals.