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Narrowing the Gaps to Meet the Millennium Development Goals

In 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders in history convened at the UN Millennium Summit to address global poverty, conflict, environmental degradation and human rights. 

The 189 UN member states acknowledged that human development is the key to sustaining social and economic progress as well as global security. Together, they drafted these eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to change the world by 2015:

End poverty and hunger primary education gender equality

End poverty and hunger

Achieve universal education

Promote gender equality

Reduce child mortality

Maternal health Environmental Sustainability Global Partnerships
Improve maternal health Combat disease Ensure environmental sustainability Develop global partnerships

What is UNICEF doing to achieve the MDGs?

UNICEF's work can be grouped into six main strategic areas which aim to secure children's rights and meet the MDGs. These areas are:

  1. Child survival - in support of MDGs 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7
  2. Education - in support of MDGs 2 and 3
  3. Child protection - in support of MDGs 1 and 6
  4. HIV and AIDS - in support of MDG 6
  5. Advocacy - in support of MDG 8
  6. Emergencies - in support of MDGs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Despite the world's progress in reaching some MDGs, the very poor are falling further and further behind. UNICEF will work to address the needs of the most vulnerable to ensure that all MDGs are met and that no child is forgotten. Additionally, recent data and analysis indicate that programs that target the world's poorest mothers and children could save more lives and do so in an efficient way.

What is Canada doing to achieve the MDGs?

The Canadian government has demonstrated leadership in achieving the MDGs this year – first by pledging $1.1 billion for maternal, newborn and child health at the G8 Summit in June, followed by a $540 million pledge to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at the MDG Summit in September.

It is important that Canada honours these pledges with new funds and commits to increasing its official development assistance spending to 0.7% of our gross national income by 2015. Canada can also demonstrate diplomatic leadership by keeping international development on its political agenda.


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"UNICEF's Idea" in the New York Times

"Right in Principle, Right in Practice" in the Huffington Post


Progress for Children

Progress for Children:
Achieving the MDGs with Equity

Interactive website

Narrowing the Gaps to Meet the Goals



UNICEF at the MDG Summit

UN MDG site

The G8 Summit for maternal, newborn and child health

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria