The eighth Millennium Development Goal defines the way in which the first seven goals are achieved, and stipulates that there must exist a “global partnership for development” for the MDGs to succeed.
Goal 8 builds on the idea of global solidarity to ensure international responsibility for development and forms, according to Human Rights Quarterly, “arguably the most significant step since the Covenant on Economic Social Rights”. Essentially, it commits the global community to strengthen international cooperation in dealing with poverty-reduction, and defines benchmark targets and indicators of progress.
In practical terms, a large part of this mission attempts to move from international aid to agreement, so that instead of sending money and resources, the wealthier countries agree unilaterally to control the socio-economic constraints they collectively control or influence. As the Human Development Report stated in 2003: “Many global environmental problems: climate change, loss of species diversity, and depletion of global fisheries – can be solved only through partnerships between rich and poor countries.”
Goal 8 Targets
- Target 12: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system. Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction – both nationally and internationally.
- Target 13: Address the special needs of the least developed countries. Includes: tariff and quota-free access for least developed countries’ exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous ODA for countries committed to poverty reduction.
- Target 14: Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing States (through the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the outcome of the twenty-second special session of the General Assembly).
- Target 15: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term.
- Target 16: In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth.
- Target 17: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.
- Target 18: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.
Current State of Play – What has been achieved?
With such a general goal, it’s very easy to get cynical and bogged down in details of specific partnership failings, so let’s start with the general trend of extreme poverty which has been in decline (as shown below) since 1980. Whether or not this can be directly attributed to the partnership of nation states is unclear, however there is certainly a correlation between increased cooperation (along with the rise of partnership-organisations such as the UN) and a significant decline in poverty.
Decline in Extreme Global Poverty
This graph shows the proportion of world population in extreme poverty 1981–2008 according to the World Bank.
“We can report broad progress… Working together, governments, the United Nations family, the private sector and civil society can succeed in tackling the greatest challenges. As the 2015 deadline is fast approaching, we must be united and steadfast in our resolve to accelerate progress and achieve the MDGs.”
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon states:
Specific Successes/Failures of MDG8:
- Official development assistance stands at 0.31 per cent of the combined national income of developed countries, still far short of the 0.7 per cent UN target.
- Aid to the African continent increased by 0.9 percent to 31.4 billion in 2011, but remains below expectations.
- Developing countries gain greater access to the markets of developed countries.
- In 2011, 75 percent of the worldwide mobile cellular subscriptions were in the developing regions, up from 59 percent in 2006.
- By the end of 2011, over 160 countries in the world had launched 3G mobile broadband services and 45 percent of the population worldwide was covered by a high-speed mobile broadband signal.
- The developing world share of the world’s Internet users rose to 63 percent in 2011, when 35 percent of the world was online.
- Almost two thirds of the world’s Internet users are in developing countries facilitating better connectivity and potentially better global cooperation.
- You can read more detailed 2012 research on Goal 8’s results here
Update 2012 – Unfortunately as the recession has hit developed countries the level of bilateral aid for development projects has fallen by 4.5% in real terms, this is the first time core aid has fallen in more than a decade.
Note: Please check back as this post will be continually updated as and when research becomes available.