Millennium Goals Revisited

Noble Ideas, and Feel-Good Moments – Published on political affairs pa, by Ramzy Baroud, July 1, 2010.

When the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were first declared, they were met with a sense of promise. A decade later, despite all the official insistence that all is on track, it is increasingly clear that this approach to development was flawed from the onset.

For ten years, numerous committees, international and local organizations and independent researchers have tirelessly mulled over all sorts of indicators, numbers, charts and statistical data relating to extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, gender equality, child mortality, and so on. 

The conclusions derived from all the data weren’t necessarily grim. And the sincerity of the many men and women who have indefatigably worked to ensure that the eight international development goals – agreed to by all 192 UN member states and over 20 international organizations – were fully implemented, cannot in any way be discounted. They were the ones who brought the issue to the fore, and they continue to push forward with resolve and determination.

The problem lies with the concept itself, and with the naive trust that governments and politicians – whether rich or poor, democratic or authoritarian, leading global wars or trying to steer clear from the abyss of famine – could possibly share one common, selfless and unconditional love for humanity, including the poor, the disadvantaged, hungry and the ill. The utopian scenario might be attainable one day, but it certainly won’t be happening anytime soon.

So why commit to such goals, with specific deadlines and regular reports, if a genuine global consensus is not achievable?

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