"An annual report card [.pdf] on the ambitious U.N.-led initiative known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) says that in three areas -- poverty, slums and water -- the goals have been met ahead of the 2015 deadline, but persistent gaps remain, notably in the critical area of maternal health," Inter Press Service reports (Cortes, 7/2). "The eight MDGs, agreed by world leaders at a U.N. summit in 2000, set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a 'Global Partnership for Development,'" the U.N. News Centre notes.
Speaking at the launch of the report, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "These results represent a tremendous reduction in human suffering and are a clear validation of the approach embodied in the MDGs. But, they are not a reason to relax," the news service writes. Though progress has been made in some areas, "[h]e noted that projections indicate that in 2015 more than 600 million people worldwide will still lack access to safe drinking water, almost one billion will be living on an income of less than $1.25 per day, mothers will continue to die needlessly in childbirth, and children will suffer and die from preventable diseases," the U.N. News Centre adds (7/2).