Saturday, March 31, 2007

Millennium Development Goals- Farfetched Dreams?

For us living in the 21st century, objectives such as eradicating poverty and having universal primary education seem very farfetched. Nevertheless, the Millennium Development Goals, an initiative taken by the UN member states to end extreme poverty and promote sustainable development worldwide by 2015, is indeed a ray of hope. This has been the first major step taken by world leaders of developed and third world nations to promote inter-regional development and ensure sustainability. Now that we have entered the time-bound race to make the world a better place to live in, I beg the question; will these 8 goals actually materialize by 2015? And will the UN be able to stand up to the plate and fulfill its promises? I think the answers to these two questions will only be uncovered at the completion of the campaign.

The Millennium Development Goals are a list of 8 goals in total which include, "eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environment sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development," by the year 2015. Many skeptics have argued that these “long term” objectives of the MDG are the same “long term” objectives from a long time ago. Those who lack faith in world leaders and the UN’s practical goals consider the objectives to be clichéd and lofty for the future of our world’s youth.

However, contrary to the pessimists’ view, there are actually thousands of non-profit organizations and local youth groups all over the world working towards the completion of the 8 Millennium Development Goals. Italian students happen to be one of those groups of people who are undeterred by cynicism. On March 16, during the National meeting of Peace School, the Italian Millennium Campaign, MTV and Fabio Vettori, a famous Italian artist, met with 2000 students from all over Italy to discuss what Italian students can do to promote the MDGs. The students drafted a request and presented it to the Italian Minister of education to support and coordinate their actions to fight poverty and achieve the goals. The Italian Minister signed a memorandum and made a public commitment to support school initiatives for peace and the Millennium Development Goals. This is an excellent example of students from developed nations standing up and working to make a difference in the world.

What today’s youth does not realize is that these goals will influence their future. The young generation all over the world must join hands and help achieve these “far-fetched” goals. The reason why problems around the world remain unsolved and stagnant is because we fail to make the effort of trying to make a difference. Even though statistically some improvement has been shown in developing nations as far as poverty rates are concerned, nonetheless we must mobilize every citizen of the world to pressure their respective governments to live up to their promises. Similar to what the Italian youth has done by reaching out to its government and laying out a framework, students and youth in every country must do the same. As global citizens, it is our duty to work towards these universal goals by sustained action and persistence. We might not achieve success overnight, but at least we will be able to plant the seeds for a better tomorrow.


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