Written evidence submitted by Matt Berkley



I write and edit millenniumdeclaration.org, which provides documentation and analysis on some government commitments.  


People talk about better data for the SDGs.  But who will watch for misuse of data?   Is it possible to make coherent plans for goals and monitoring without looking at how data have been and are used?




Wrong baseline for Millennium pledges


Millennium Declaration, 8 September 2000: 

Leaders resolve to reduce child mortality by two-thirds from "current rates".  Media correctly report Declaration as having a 2000 baseline.

Evidence: millenniumdeclaration.org


DFID publishes a video, 9 September 2015: 

"In 2000 [which is when leaders made pledges with 2000 baselines]
the UN issued the MDGs" [which have a standard 1990 baseline].



"Millennium Development Goals…agreed ...at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 ...clear [!] and inspiring commitmentshalving the number of people going hungry. The 2015 deadline for achieving these goals..."




Mark Lowcock, Permanent Secretary at DFID:

"Millennium Development Goals – including to halve poverty, reduce infant and maternal mortality…in 2000" [!]




"The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of 8 poverty targets set by the UN in 2000"

Press release

From: Department for International Development and The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP

7 July 2014




"Since their launch in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals...


How will our entry be judged?

Presentations will be judged on the following criteria:

1. Knowledge of the current MDGs...
...3. Use of relevant evidence and research

4. A demonstration of critical thinking (questioning evidence, drawing on a wide range of views, thinking laterally about the purpose of goals) ...

What do I need to know about the Millennium Development Goals?


History of the Millennium Development Goals


In September 2000, world leaders from 189 countries met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where they committed to the Millennium Development Goals "






2000: "As leaders we have a duty therefore to...in particular, the children...
We resolve...by the year 2015...to have reduced child mortality by two thirds, of...
current rates"

[to roughly 3.6 million child deaths in 2015, or 10,000 deaths each day]



"The United Nations General Assembly embraced the eight Goals

[target about 4.3 million child deaths in 2015, or 11800 a day: see millenniumdeclaration.org]

only as late as October 2005."

Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals in Practice:
A review of country strategies and reporting
United Nations, 2010



A former DFID Director-General:

"(MDGs), of which the authoritative version was contained in an Annex to a ‘Road Map’ produced by the Secretary-General in September 2001...
the Annex to the ‘Road Map’ was not formally endorsed by the UN membership, but merely described as ‘a useful guide’ in the relevant Resolution,"

[MB:  That is not quite accurate.  The General Assembly in the resolution of 14 December 2001 recommended the 58-page "Road Map" be considered as a useful guide. It did not mention, as Richard Manning states, the Annex containing the MDG framework.  The Assembly did not make clear whether it was referring to the MDGs as a useful guide, or other parts of the report.
http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Resources/Static/Products/GAResolutions/56_95/a_res56_95e.pdf ]

"…despite this less than robust formal basis, there can be no doubt that the MDGs have become highly influential at least at the level of international discourse about development."

The Impact and Design of the MDGs: Some Reflections
Richard Manning
Former UK Department for International Development Director General



"We, Heads of State and Government…
reaffirm the United Nations Millennium Declaration"

World Summit, 2005


"We, the Heads of State and Government and heads of delegation…
reaffirm our commitment to the Millennium Declaration"





Are people richer if they spend more?


DFID makes categorical claims:

"About 700 million fewer people lived in extreme poverty conditions in 2010 compared to 1990."

DFID Annual Report and Accounts 2014-15 Results




DFID, 9 September 2015:  "Since 2000, the world has halved extreme poverty."



How do DFID know?  The World Bank estimate neither prices nor needs faced by the poor, as can be seen in their methodology papers or the UN Statistics Division metadata:








"The world is on track to reach the MDG hunger target by 2015"

DFID Annual Report and Accounts 2014-15



That claim is clearly not correct according to the official target, method and statistics.

The FAO report mentioned by DFID states:

"prevalence of undernourishment (PoU), has decreased from 18.6 percent in 1990–92 to 10.9 percent in 2014–16".

That is not a halving.  FAO talk about progress in "developing regions" but that is not what the MDG target is on. 


Also, DFID implies that the MDG target is a Millennium pledge.  A reduction from 15% to 10.9% is far from a halving.



June 2015: UK claims easier MDGs were "set in 2000 by 191 UN member countries"





There are no official estimates for safe water

DFID misled that a target on safe water has been met:




"the assumption that improved sources are more likely to provide safe water than unimproved sources is misleading."

Human Rights and MDGs in Practice:
A review of country strategies and reporting
United Nations


"At the current rate of progress, 672 million people will not use improved drinking water sources in 2015. It is likely that many hundreds of millions more will still lack sustainable access to safe drinking water."



From millenniumdeclaration.org/hunger.pdf:


"Questions of whether, when and in what way member states committed themselves to the MDG structure are somewhat complex, with different academics and specialists giving different versions. Richard Manning, an ex-Director-General of the UK Department for International Development, stated that they were not endorsed by the membership.

Leaders reaffirmed the 2000 Declaration at summits in 2005 and 2013. Leaders and UN officials have often referred to the Declaration for authority in one way or another. So to some extent, the question of whether or when the easier targets were formally endorsed may be unimportant: leaders are still committed to the harder pledges made in September 2000"



The UN hunger report for 2015 from FAO, IFAD and WFP mentions an easier target for "developing countries", which is not in the Millennium Declaration or the MDG official list.

The FAO include at least 12 countries as "achieving" the MDG target when they did not.

The report claimed 72 countries "achieved MDG 1c" by including:

a) an unspecified number of countries which

"brought hunger below 5 per cent" and

b) 12 countries which

"kept hunger close to or below 5 per cent".




The FAO "Food security methodology" page falsely claims:

"In 2000, the Millennium Declaration (MD) recognized the value of hunger

reduction by setting the MDG target of "halving, between 1990 and 2015,

people who suffer from hunger" ...

Such estimates...are presented annually in the State of Food Insecurity in

(SOFI) report."




The FAO main Food Security Statistics page falsely claims:


"In 2000, the Millennium Declaration (MD) promoted the target to ''halve, between 1990

and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger''. "




The main food security interactive page misleads:

"The World Food Summit target measures the progress made by countries towards

halving the number of undernourished people between 1990-92 and 2015."





"13 July 2015

Over the last decade, international development policy has been heavily influenced by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed by the UN General Assembly in 2001."

New inquiry: Sustainable Development Goals - News from Parliament - UK Parliament




"MDG Report 2015 released - NEW!

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015

Secretary-General on 6 July 2015. The report provides

regional progress towards the MDGs since their

unstats | Millennium Indicators



"The MDGs were presented to UN member States during the 56th session of the General Assembly (2001), as an annex to the Secretary-General’s report titled “Roadmap towards the implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration.” States only took note of the report and recommended that the roadmap be considered a “useful guide” in implementing the Millennium Declaration by the UN System in 2001 (A/RES/56/95). Clearly, not all States immediately endorsed the MDGs, arguing that they had not been inter-governmentally negotiated and adopted. Nonetheless, there was already broad acceptance of the Goals as benchmarks of progress on the part of several donors, developing countries, civil society and main development institutions."

Morgera, E 2010, 'The Environmental Dimension of the MDGs: Progress Made?' Environmental Policy and Law, vol 40, no. 6, pp. 269-72.
Elisa Morgera, Lecturer in European Environmental Law, University of Edinburgh School of Law, UK




"...the deputy secretary general pointed out. "What the Summit will do is elevate the level of commitment to make it a commitment by the leaders themselves. This makes a big difference."

30 August 2000





"target of halving...extreme poverty, and so lifting more than 1 billion people out of it."

Secretary-General, Millennium Report 2000


"The world has reduced extreme poverty by half...people living in extreme poverty by 700 million"

MDG Report 2014









Goals and Targets (from the Millennium Declaration) [!]

...- Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate ...

[to c. 4.3 million child deaths in 2015]

"The Millennium Development Goals and targets come from the Millennium Declaration, [False]
signed by 189 countries, including 147 heads of State and Government, in September 2000"


The second reference is also at:





"forged the MDGs in the year 2000" [?]





"Goals and Targets (from the Millennium Declaration) [False]

- Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day ...

- Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger ...

- Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate ...

- Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio ..."

"The Millennium Development Goals and targets come from the Millennium Declaration, signed by 189 countries, including 147 heads of State and Government, in September 2000"






"My Report sets a series of targets...Within the next 15 years, I believe we can halve the population of people living in extreme poverty...We need a much better informed public"

Statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the General Assembly as he presented his Millennium Report,
“We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century”. 3 April 2000





Matt Berkley is the editor of millenniumdeclaration.org. 

The site publishes documentary evidence clarifying government commitments. 



Millennium Declaration commitment: about 3.6 million child deaths in 2015.

MDG target: about 4.3 million child deaths in 2015.

Difference since 2000: About 5 million child deaths and rising.



"The results of this exercise, a framework containing 8 Goals, 18 Targets and 48 Indicators, were annexed to the Secretary-General’s Road Map of 2001. This list became the authoritative statement of the MDG framework, despite the fact that, ironically, it was never endorsed as such by the General Assembly, not least because of both US and G77 reservations (from dierent perspectives) about aspects of Goal Eight. Instead the relevant resolution, though adopted without a vote, recommended that the Secretary-General’s report ‘Road map towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration’ be considered ‘a useful guide’,… mandate to the Secretariat, adopted in the same Resolution, to monitor progress towards implementing the goals of the Millennium Declaration."

Richard Manning, former Director General, UK Department for International Development



"The MDGs were informally endorsed at the UN Conference on International Financing for Development at Monterrey in 2002..."

MB note: The Monterrey outcome document does not mention MDGs, but does mention the Declaration.

"...The Declaration has a longer and higher set of aspirations, and should not be confused with the very specific and time-bound set of indicators which comprise the 8 MDGs and 21 targets through with progress towards the Declaration is to be measured. ...

As late as 2005, in the build up to the World Summit, the government of the United States argued for removing the references to the MDGs in the draft Summit Outcome Document, with the rationale that they had never been agreed (although they were eventually persuaded to retain them). The final 2005 World Summit Outcome document reaffirms the UN Millennium Declaration on the first page, but only begrudgingly recognizes the MDGs in paragraph seventeen"

A post-2015 global development agreement: why, what, who?
Claire Melamed and Andy Sumner



"Let us resolve therefore: - To halve, by the time this century is 15 years old, the proportion of the world’s people (currently 22 per cent) whose income is less than one dollar a day.

- To halve, by the same date, the proportion of people (currently 20 per cent) who are unable to reach, or to afford, safe drinking water."

"Specifically, I urge the Summit to adopt the target of reducing by half, between now and 2015, the proportion of people who lack sustainable access to adequate sources of affordable and safe water."

Millennium Report
27 March 2000


"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has worked hard to build international support for the UN Secretary-General's proposals for the Millennium Summit."
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 15 May 2000.  Mr Hain.

"President Clinton is strongly committed to working...to meet the vision of a sustainable future outlined in the Secretary General's Millennium Report."
The White House September 7, 2000


Speeches at the Millennium Summit:

"...Millennium Report serves as an excellent reference for checking whether our homework has been properly done."
Mr Persson, Prime Minister of Sweden

"Secretary-General...the report he presented...sets out clear and precise objectives. Belgium fully supports it. My country commits itself ...to support all actions that can help attain those objectives"


"I am pleased that the Declaration we are about to adopt at this Summit has such a broad range of commitments, and the specificity of the language and the time scales mean that we can and will be held accountable for delivery."

Bertie Ahern, Prime Minister of Ireland at the Millennium Summit
6 September 2000


"...let us be honest at this Millennium Summit, too many times we have set new deadlines to reach old goals."

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark
8 September 2000



Spain: "... we must overcome poverty.... It would be unforgivable if we do not gather the means to do it. We heartily support the objectives set out to this end in the Secretary-General’s report for the Millennium Summit..."


"We have all agreed on the goals for international development. We have the knowledge to achieve them, and we have the resources to achieve them. We live in an age of unparalleled promise and prosperity. We will not be forgiven, and we should not be forgiven, if we fail to fulfil this promise, if we fail to share this prosperity with the neediest among us."

King Harald of Norway



"Let this be remembered as the time when the leadership of the world rose to the occasion and, using all its God-given wisdom, laid down the foundations of a healthy, safe and progressive global village to be our collective destiny in the new millennium. To that end, I pledge most solemnly the full cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference."


"I want to congratulate the Secretary-General on the valuable report he submitted to the Millennium Summit; I call for a discussion of the ideas set out in that report in universities and other academic and research centres and intellectual forums."



"The Co-Chairperson (Finland): I now give the floor to the Chairman of the round table held yesterday afternoon...

President Chávez Frías ( spoke in Spanish ): ...round table with heads of State, representatives of Governments of America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania. ...we spent about four hours there...I am going to make a major effort in these first few minutes to reflect the spirit that prevailed...

My colleagues and I agree on one question based on the deliberations we are witnessing here and on the excellent report submitted by the Secretary-General to guide us at this Millennium Summit. How can the goals determined there be met? ...

Let us inform our peoples about what was discussed here, about the conclusions that were drawn in this Summit..."


"Resolution adopted by the General Assembly


United Nations Millennium Declaration

...We, heads of State and Government, have gathered...As leaders we have a duty therefore to...in particular, the children...

We resolve...

- To halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and, by the same date, to halve the proportion of people who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water. ...

- By the same date, to have reduced maternal mortality by three quarters, and under-five child mortality by two thirds, of their current rates. ....

We request the General Assembly to review on a regular basis the progress made in implementing the provisions of this Declaration...

We therefore pledge our unstinting support for these common objectives and our determination to achieve them."


8 September 2000



"The Co-Chairperson (Namibia): We have come to the close of this historic Millennium Summit...

We cannot, therefore, afford to go back home from here and continue business as usual. We, as heads of State or Government, have the mandate and the responsibility individually and collectively to take bold steps.....We must act now by translating our commitments into action. It is time to combine our vision and our renewed commitment with the increased resources for the United Nations in a purposeful manner....We must fulfil our promises..."

[The following text of the co-chairperson's statement is from a press release, http://www.un.org/press/en/2000/20000908.ga9758.doc.html , since the official record refers to a non-existent paragraph in the Declaration: ]

"I ... call upon [the new President of the General Assembly, Harri Holkeri] to ensure the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and pay particular attention to paragraph 31."

Paragraph 31 of the Millennium Declaration reads:

"We request the General Assembly to review on a regular basis the progress made in implementing the provisions of this Declaration..."




"The declaration endorsed ...halving by the year 2015 the 22 percent of the world's population now existing on less than a dollar a day."

Reuters, 8 September 2000




"A main target, set by Mr Annan and agreed to by the summiteers, is to halve by 2015 the 22% of people who live on less than a dollar a day"

The Economist, editorial. 7 September 2000



"A declaration to be signed on Friday when the summit meeting ends has set ambitious benchmarks....
One such goal proposes to reduce by half over the next 15 years the number of people earning less than a dollar a day. To achieve that, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela reckoned, ''we should increase that income to levels of fairness and dignity for 140,000 persons each day of each month and of each year from the present until Dec. 31, 2015.''
"The Italian prime minister, Giuliano Amato, agreed that radical efforts were required. "

"Published: September 8, 2000 United Nations, Sept. 7"





Clinton/Blair/Putin/Schroeder/Clark etc, 8 September 2000:
"Millennium Declaration…
We resolve…by 2015...to reduce...child mortality by two-thirds, of their current rates"

(to c. 3.6 million child deaths in 2015)



Kofi Annan, 8 September 2000: "I hereby re-dedicate myself, as from today, to carrying out your mandate."



"Setting out to halve in fifteen years the number of poor people we now have is an undoubtedly remarkable endeavor..."


Felipe Perez Roque, Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs, General Debate of the 55th General Assembly

http://www.un.org/ga/webcast/statements/cubaE.htm 15 September 2000

"Proponernos reducir a la mitad, dentro de quince años, el número de pobres que hoy tenemos, es un empeño sin duda encomiable..."






"the targets set by the Millennium Summit, including the target to halve, by the year 2015, the current proportion of the world's poor people"

Nguyen Dzy Nien, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Vietnam,
General Debate of the 55th Session of the UN General Assembly
13 September 2000


"The commitment by world leaders at this month's United Nations Millennium Summit to halve global poverty and hunger ...These and other goals that the world signed up to are...best-case scenarios...might be called a "stretch target."

Mark Malloch Brown

Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

September 21, 2000



"[MDG] targets were formulated based on historical trends....projections to 2015 based on the global trends in the 60s, 70s and 80s."

Yongyi Min

United Nations Statistics Division





Harri Holkeri, President of the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session, 2000-2001:

"...the Summit is a unique, symbolic moment. The Summit Declaration ...will guide our work....for years to come.
...the Secretary-General...His report entitled "We the peoples" (A/54/2000) laid an indispensable foundation for the work of the Summit. It has also set for us new standards in clarity of purpose, relevance and readability."



"Millennium Development Goals...
The proposed formulation of the 8 goals, 18 targets and 40+ indicators are listed below.  ...
...the normal baseline year for the targets will be 1990..."
"proposed list of goals, targets...listed below...between 1990 and 2015"

[relevant targets mention 1990 except for water target]

Report of the Secretary-General: Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration
6 September 2001

(MDG target is for c. 4.3 million child deaths in 2015)


(Note by the Secretariat)
17 September 2001
...Staff from the Secretariats of the UN (Secretary General’s Office and UNDG), IMF, OECD-DAC, and the World Bank met in New York on 21 June 2001 to discuss aligning the goals

[MB note: This means:
a) civil servants' generally easier 1990-baseline International Development Goals whose seven-goals-21-indicators structure and baseline were the basis of the MDG framework,
b) the world leaders' 2000-baseline Declaration goals for 2015;  there were some other differences].

"In subsequent correspondence they reached agreement on a presentation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)...

It was agreed that there should be a standard baseline year of 1990 against which to measure progress (with an exception of using 2000 for the safe water goal as that was agreed in a recent UN conference)."


[.pdf document which may need the extension .pdf to be added]


http://millenniumdeclaration.org/mdgwaterbaseline.pdf .



On 6 November 2001 the heads of UNDP, UNICEF, WFP and UNFPA announced to UN country representatives,

"The International Development Goals (IDGs) and the development goals contained in the Millennium Declaration have recently been merged under the designation of "Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs). They have been agreed by the United Nations system, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and OECD/DAC." 

They attached a guidance note for country reporting. This stated that the text of the Declaration "would imply" a baseline of 2000 for both the mortality and other relevant pledges.



"The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)…
For the purpose of monitoring progress, the normal baseline year for the targets will be 1990... ...the Secretary-General is to report annually to the General Assembly on progress towards a sub-set of the MDGs…"

"Baseline year – 1990 or 2000?
...In two cases - maternal mortality and under-five mortality - the term "current rates" is used, directly specifying a 2000 baseline. For the remainder, the targets are stated in the form of "to halve by 2015…" This would imply a 2000 baseline year of the Millennium Declaration. After discussions within the UN system and with other partners, the issues have been resolved in favour of 1990 serving as the baseline year."

Guidance Note sent by heads of UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP to country offices
United Nations Development Group
Reporting on the Millennium Development Goals at the Country Level
October 2001






...JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union would like the Millennium Declaration to be the touchstone for any practical steps taken by the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and by all governments."
19 November 2001
Press Release





In December 2001 the General Assembly did not say it "adopted" the new targets but recommended "that the "road map" be considered as a useful guide in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration".

Even then it requested

"the Secretary-General to prepare an annual report and a comprehensive report every five years on progress...towards implementing the Millennium Declaration, drawing upon the "road map" map” and in accordance with resolution 55/162...while the quinquennial comprehensive reports examine progress achieved towards implementing all the commitments made in the Declaration".

It looks like member states were asking the Secretary-General to report not just on the generally easier MDG4 and MDG5 but on their pledges of 2000.

This interpretation is boosted by the fact that they at the same time invited "specific measures to give widespread publicity to the Millennium Declaration".



Resolution 55/162 reads:

"The General Assembly…requests the Secretary-General to prepare a comprehensive report every five years, supplemented by an annual report on progress achieved towards implementing the Millennium Declaration...

(a) The annual reports should reflect the broad array of specific goals and commitments enunciated in the Millennium Declaration

(b) All reports should focus, in this respect, on the results and benchmarks achieved, identify gaps in implementation….

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly
55/162 Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit
14 December 2000




National leaders did not make any explicit statement at the UN on MDGs until September 2005.

The USA's position earlier in 2005 emphasised that the MDG framework was "solely a Secretariat product" and not formally endorsed by the UN membership.


Leaders reaffirmed the Declaration in 2005 and 2013.




"The General Assembly...
Reaffirming also the United Nations Millennium Declaration..."

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly
21 December 2001

(c. 3.6 million child deaths in 2015)


"On behalf of Canada I would like to voice strong support for the Monterrey Consensus.
A consensus that is unprecedented in scope and participation.
That seeks to take an indispensable step forward together in securing a fundamental common cause of the United Nations.
As expressed in the Millennium Declaration."

Monterrey, Mexico March 2002


"To achieve the aims of the Millennium Summit, the World Bank estimates it will be necessary to double the amount currently spent on poverty eradication."
Jacques Chirac, President of France


"We are conscious of the absolute moral imperative of combating the extreme poverty suffered by one fifth of humanity and we have fully endorsed the historic development goals written into the Millennium Declaration.
We know that in order to attain these objectives it is necessary...."
European Community
Romano Prodi President of the European Commission at the International Conference on Financing for Development
Monterrey, Mexico
March 22, 2002


"Something must be done to galvanize the global political will for an accelerated drive to meet the Millennium Declaration targets.
I am convinced that the UN Millennium Declaration points the way forward."
Han Seung-soo
President of the General Assembly of the United Nations
International Conference on Financing For Development, Monterrey, Mexico
March 2002



Kofi Annan, 2002: "the world has committed itself to reducing child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015." [!]

(to c. 4.3 million child deaths in 2015)

Report of the Secretary-General
Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit
Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration
General Assembly 31 July 2002


...In 2002, the declaration of the ‘World Food Summit:

need: ‘We call upon the concerned development

achieve the international development goals of

those related to halving poverty and hunger by 2015,

indicators necessary for measuring progress and





We, the representatives of the peoples of the world…commit ourselves to the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and to expedite the achievement of the time-bound, socio-economic and environmental targets contained therein.”

[Plan:] "Reduce, by 2015, mortality rates for infants and children under 5 by two thirds, and maternal mortality rates by three quarters, of the prevailing rate in 2000 (reaffirmation of millennium development goal)"







"We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 and China...at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 25 September 2003, adopted the following declaration: ...
We reaffirm our commitment to the Millennium Declaration and call upon the international community to fully and speedily implement the provisions set out therein"


"The General Assembly...

Reaffirming the United Nations Millennium Declaration...

...increase in ...resources will be required if developing countries are to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration...

Encourages ...to continue to provide....resources...to meet the development targets...agreed upon at ...the Millennium Summit..."

23 December 2003
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly


"We reaffirm our commitment to fight global poverty and to help countries achieve the international development goals of the Millennium Declaration"
- Statement by G-7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, 2004





2005: "We, Heads of State and Government...reaffirm the United Nations Millennium Declaration....

we commit ourselves to: ...integrating [the reproductive health] goal in strategies to attain the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, aimed at reducing maternal mortality, improving maternal health, reducing child mortality...."

"We therefore resolve to create a more peaceful, prosperous and democratic

world and to undertake concrete measures to continue finding ways to implement

the outcome of the Millennium Summit"

"We emphasize the critical role of both formal and informal education in the achievement of poverty eradication and other development goals as envisaged in the Millennium Declaration"

"We call for strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and national and regional parliaments, in particular through the Inter-Parliamentary Union, with a view to furthering all aspects of the Millennium Declaration"




"The MDGs were agreed at the UN in 2000 [!]. These eight goals have guided international development ever since. Having set the standard, the UN is helping hold countries to account for progress. [!]
In 2005 at the UN summit, world leaders re-committed themselves to achieve the MDGs by 2015." [?]

UK Department for International Development White Paper


"...Charter of this United Nations...Universal Declaration of Human Rights...a decade ago, at the dawn of a new millennium, we set concrete goals... These are the standards that we set."

Remarks by the President at the Millennium Development Goals Summit
22 September 2010



"Between now and 2015, we must make sure that promises made become promises kept. The consequences of doing otherwise are profound...
We must hold each other accountable.
The UN system and I personally will do our utmost to promote accountability on all sides."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Closing remarks at High Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals
New York, 22 September 2010



Obama/Cameron/Merkel etc, 2013: "We reaffirm our commitment to the Millennium Declaration"
(c. 3.6 million child deaths in 2015)



The UK Government White Paper of December 2000, "Eliminating World Poverty..."


bizarrely mentions commitments to the goals with the easier 1990 baselines, rather than what Mr Blair had agreed in September at the Summit. The White Paper of December states: 

"In this Paper we strongly reaffirm the UK Government’s commitment to the International Development Targets set out in our first White Paper."


The International Development Targets, more often called the International Development Goals, had been promoted by the World Bank, OECD and IMF.

A publication signed by the heads of all three and the Secretary-General of the UN was published in June 2000.


That civil servants' document includes targets to:

"Reduce the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by half between 1990 and 2015";

"Reduce maternal mortality ratios by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015" and

"Reduce infant and child mortality rates by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015"



few observers ever noticed that the Millennium Declaration left considerable room for interpretation as to the level of ambition of the global targets.

It was left to the group of UN experts

[MB note: It was UN, World Bank, OECD, IMF]

to set the baseline year. The choice quickly fell on 1990, for two reasons. First, it proved unrealistic

[MB note: How did they know it "proved unrealistic" less than a year into 15-year pledges?  Is leadership not about leadership?]

to reduce hunger, poverty and the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by half, infant and child mortality by two-thirds, and maternal mortality by three-quarters between 2000 and 2015.”

“The Millennium Declaration refers to the baseline year only for the targets on maternal and child mortality. Moreover, the reference is indirect — i.e. ‘of their current rates’, which implies the year 2000 without saying so explicitly. The other targets are totally silent about the baseline year. The Declaration never refers to 1990”

Jan Vandemoortele, co-chair of group in 2001 agreeing MDG framework





Explicit false statement by the UK:

"The Millennium Assembly of the United Nations marked an explicit world-wide agreement that extreme poverty must be halved from 1990 levels by 2015" [!]

DFID Departmental Report 2001
Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for International Development and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury
by Command of Her Majesty
March 2001



[search for dfid, baseline?  etc on milldec and also twitter.




US position



"the Secretary-General is to report annually to the General Assembly on progress towards a sub-set of the MDGs"

UN Development Group October 2001




"Gordon Brown has expressed "anger" at the failure of rich nations to honour pledges to combat global poverty. The United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals were set out in 2000 with the aim of being reached by 2015. …
"I'm angry because we made commitments that we would meet these Millennium Development Goals," he told the BBC....
"I think rich countries have not done enough to honour the promises that we made." …
Mr Brown, who was UK chancellor at the time the pledges were made, said the governments of wealthy nations needed to face continuing public pressure to ensure they stuck to their pledges…
Target:..between 1990 and 2015…
Target:...between 1990 and 2015."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11378604 21 September 2010




"UNICEF publishes yearly reports on child survival to track progress, promote accountability for global commitments made to children..."

Executive Summary...
In 2000, the world made a promise to children: to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015."

"In 2000, the world made a promise: to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two thirds by 2015 compared to 1990"

A Promise Renewed [!]


"In 2000...world governments pledged that by 2015 they will have reduced the 1990 [!] under-five mortality rate by two thirds"



"The Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000 aim to decrease child and maternal deaths worldwide by 2015. The fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to reduce the 1990 mortality rate among under-five children by two thirds"

World Health Organisation
Children: reducing mortality
Fact sheet N°178
Updated September 2014



"Keep the promise for mothers and children...the target set in 2000 by world leaders to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 on child and maternal health...





"The global development landscape has evolved significantly since the MDGs were agreed in 2000"

Post 2015 Development Goals
14th November 2012
Submission by UK Department for International Development to International Development Select Committee of the House of Commons



"The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 and nearly 190 countries have subsequently signed up to them. ...

Alongside the Goals, a series of 18 targets was also drawn up to give the international community a number of tangible improvements to aim for within a fixed period of time, and also make it easier for them to measure their progress to date.

The intention is that almost all of these targets will be achieved by 2015. "

Text as of 27 June 2015
Last updated: 01 August 2007



"the UK will continue to drive a transparency revolution in every corner of the world through our leadership of the Open Government Partnership."

15 June 2013

(Original script, may differ from delivered version)




"DFID continues to work alongside Omidyar Network on a range of global transparency initiatives…in particular exploiting the power of Open Data [!] to shine a spotlight on the facts that bring power closer to the people. ...

"Millennium Development Goals…eight global goals to fight poverty…agreed by countries and leading development institutions at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000. [!]

These goals have played a critical role ...clear and inspiring commitments…

Part of: Making UK aid more open and transparent..." [!]

7 July 2014



"Millennium Development Goals

A set of eight international development goals for 2015, adopted by the international community in the UN Millennium Declaration in September 2000...".




"...meeting the MDG objectives before 2015. The framework we have had since 2000...MDGs have made the development process more understandable...They are goals drawn up by 187-odd heads of state..."

Lords Hansard 22 Nov 2012
Health: Maternal Health
Question for Short Debate
7.32 pm



"The commitment made by world leaders in 1990 to reduce by 75 per cent by 2015 the 570,000 maternal deaths that occurred annually at the time - millennium goal 5 ..."

UK Parliament official record
House of Lords
12 Jan 2011 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/110112-0002.htm#11011286000052

"In 2000, the global community signed up to the Millennium Development Goals..."

House of Commons Library
Standard Note
The post-2015 development goals
UK Parliament
International Affairs and Defence Section
2 July 2014


"Since their launch in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals have encouraged countries to work towards meeting the needs of the world's poorest people by 2015."



"In 2000, as part of the Millennium Development Goals, world governments pledged that by 2015 they will have reduced the 1990 under-five mortality rate by two thirds – from 93 children of every 1,000 in 1990 dying before they were five to 31 of every 1,000 in 2015."



The pledge was for 25 out of every 1000, not 31.




April 2015:  The Financial Times of London:

"The FT, by its Senior Legal Counsel on behalf of the Editor, responded...:

"The Millennium Development Goal framework of 2001...
...the aims adopted in 2000 have become widely known [!] simply as the MDGs.
....in many contexts there is no significant inaccuracy in
referring more loosely to the aims adopted in 2000 as the MDGs. This is
a convenient and appropriate 'shorthand' with which to summarise the
key information in the right context, and bring it to the attention of
readers without undue complexity." "




"Vandemoortele co-wrote the current eight UN MDGs, 18 targets and 40 indicators as a tool to communicate UN objectives emerging from the Millennium Summit in September 2000, such as eradicating extreme poverty and achieving universal primary education.

These were decided by measuring global trends in human development over a 25-year period from 1965-1990, and applying them to living standards over the 1990-2015 period, assuming that rates of progress stayed the same.

The MDGs were not intended to increase rates of progress in human development so much as maintain them. "

MDG designer fears UN goals will 'degenerate into wish list'





"An opinion article by FAO-Director General José Graziano da Silva

Thirteen years ago [!], world leaders [!] set out a series of development targets to be met

by 2015 through a global partnership, known as the Millennium Development Goals

(MDGs). [!]

Under MDG 1, which aims to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, the world sought to

halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of undernourished people.

...62 countries have already reached this target. Twenty two of them have also achieved a

higher goal, established during the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome, to halve the

absolute number of hungry people in the same time period." [!]

Less hunger, but not good enough

By José Graziano da Silva, Kanayo Nwanze, and Ertharin Cousin

Originally published 2 October 2013 by IPS






"Mobilizing resources to halve world hunger

Paper prepared by FAO

High-level Plenary Meeting of the

UN General Assembly 60th Session

New York, 14–16 September 2005


Rome, 2005

The World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996 set the goal of reducing by half the

number of hungry people in the world between 1990 [!] and 2015. The first Millennium

Development Goal (MDG) restated and reaffirmed [!] the goal of halving hunger by setting

hunger reduction as a specific target to be achieved as part of MDG 1."



"The 100 heads of state, 47 heads of government, three crown princes, five vice

presidents, three deputy prime ministers and 8000 other delegates rose to the occasion by

adopting the Millennium Declaration by which the Summit participants committed their

nations to a new global partnership to work towards a series of eight time-bound

Millennium Development Goals."

FAO booklet introduced by its head, 2010






"We, Heads of State and Government...call for strengthened cooperation..., in particular through the Inter-Parliamentary Union, with a view to furthering all aspects of the Millennium Declaration"




"Millennium Declaration (2000), which established eight Millennium Development Goals [!]
...MDG 4...child mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015...
MDG 5...maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015"

Resolution adopted unanimously
Kampala, 5 April 2012
126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union




"According to the 2015 joint FAO-IFAD-WFP State of Food Insecurity in the World report, the number of people who still suffer from chronic undernourishment fell to under 800 million for the first time since 1990.

This means that 216 million people have been freed from hunger."

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva

7 June 2015




1996, World Food Summit:

"Rome Declaration on World Food Security

We, the Heads of State and Government, or our representatives, gathered at the World Food Summit….pledge our political will and our common and national commitment to achieving food security for all and to an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to half their present level no later than 2015."




References and information sources


Millions Killed by Clever Dilution of Our Promise

Thomas Pogge, 2010



World Food Summit Declaration, 1996



Millennium Declaration



Targets "from the Millennium Declaration":

False statement in MDG Official List 2003



Targets "from the Millennium Declaration":

False statement in current MDG list from 2008




FAO statement is false by their own statistics:

"Seventy-two countries achieve the MDG target to halve proportion of hungry people"


"Annan...asked the United Nation's 188 member states to set such ambitious goals

as...cutting in half the proportion of people, currently 22 percent of the global

population, who earn less than $1 a day"




"secretary-general...suggests...that the world could try to halve by 2015 the figure of 1.2

billion people or 22% of its population, who currently exist in extreme poverty on less

than $1 a day."

6 April 2000



"A main target, set by Mr Annan and agreed to by the summiteers, is to halve by 2015

the 22% of people who live on less than a dollar a day"


7 September 2000