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Should the UN and other sources correct their statements on world leaders' pledges of 2000, reaffirmed in 2013?
Version of 13 October 2015
Adopted on 25 September 2015 at the United Nations:
1. "We reaffirm the outcomes of all major United Nations conferences and summits"
These commit nations, for
- reducing child mortality by 2015 to a third of its 2000 rate, and working to
- halve the number of hungry by 2015 from the 1996 rate.
Some outcomes reaffirmed in 2015 are more ambitious than these.
2. "Almost 15 years ago, the Millennium Development Goals were agreed."
Misleading. In reality the 1990-baseline MDGs were not even proposed until 6 September 2001.
The General Assembly, far from mentioning them in 2001, reaffirmed the Millennium Declaration on 21 December 2001, and repeatedly until at least 2013. Leaders reaffirmed the Millennium Declaration in 2013.
Why did the world's leaders make that misleading statement in 2015?
Is it because the MDGs have easier targets – with 1990 baselines - than leaders actually agreed fifteen years ago?
United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda
"We, the Heads of State and Government and heads of delegation...
reaffirm our commitment to the Millennium Declaration...
and the outcomes of all the major UN conferences and summits in the economic, social, and environmental fields."
25 September 2013
"We resolve...by the
year 2015...to have reduced ...
under-five child mortality by two thirds, of their current rates"
[to 3.6 million child deaths in 2015]
"Goals and Targets (from the Millennium Declaration)
...- Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate ...
[to 4.3 million child deaths in 2015]
"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"
The second false reference is also at:
" "MDGS" CAN REFER TO TWO QUITE DIFFERENT SETS OF GOALS: THE GOALS IN THE MILLENNIUM DECLARATION ADOPTED BY WORLD LEADERS AT THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT IN 2000 OR THE GOALS AND ASSOCIATED TARGETS AND INDICATORS THAT THE UN SECRETARIAT FORMULATED AND PROMULGATED IN 2001. "
".....2. AT THE 2000 UN MILLENNIUM SUMMIT, HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT ADOPTED THE MILLENNIUM DECLARATION, WHICH, AMONG OTHER THINGS, BROUGHT TOGETHER A VARIETY OF DEVELOPMENT GOALS ON POVERTY, HUNGER, EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND ENVIRONMENT, MOST OF THEM TO BE ACHIEVED BY 2015, SOME OF WHICH WERE FROM EARLIER CONFERENCES AND SOME ORIGINAL.
3. IN 2001, THE UN SECRETARIAT ISSUED A REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MILLENNIUM DECLARATION. BASED ON THE GOALS THAT UN MEMBER STATES HAVE AGREED TO IN THE DECLARATION, THE SECRETARIAT FORMULATED A SET OF GOALS AND SUBSIDIARY TARGETS AND INDICATORS, AND CHRISTENED THEM "MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS." THEY ARE SOLELY A SECRETARIAT PRODUCT, NEVER HAVING BEEN FORMALLY ADOPTED BY MEMBER STATES.
4. SINCE THEN THE TERM "MDGS" HAS BECOME AMBIGUOUS. MOST PEOPLE USING THE TERM ASSUME THAT THE "MDGS" ARE AGREED DEVELOPMENT GOALS FROM THE MILLENNIUM DECLARATION, WHICH THE UNITED STATES SUPPORTS. OFTEN THE UN SECRETARIAT AND REPRESENTATIVES OF A NUMBER OF COUNTRIES, HOWEVER, USE IT TO REFER TO THE SECRETARIAT GOALS......
SUBJECT: THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGS) -- WHAT ARE THEY?
DRAFTED BY: IO:CCHANG -- 04/26/05
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE
"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"
Perhaps we might say there are at least three Millennium Scandals:
Leaders at the Millennium Summit set targets which look better if the poor die;
Policies have been chosen based on economic theories which they would not apply to their own families, the mortality flaw in economic theory and other flaws such as the idea that people are richer if they spend more, and
Governments and international agencies deceived the poor on what leaders promised.
A question for August 2015:
Should the UN, governments, media organisations, scientists and others now tell the world's people the truth - that leaders resolved in 2000 and reaffirmed in 2005 and 2013 - that under
3.6 million children
would die in 2015 - and not
4.3 million -
and that other targets also have 2000 baselines?
A criminal deception?
The UN, scientific journals, news organisations, and other sources falsely claim that in 2000 world leaders made pledges with easier 1990 baselines.
There is no mention of 1990 in the Millennium Declaration.
They claim, in effect, that world leaders promised to save perhaps five million fewer children by 2015 than they actually promised.
The official list of Millennium Development Goals falsely claims that its target "comes from the Millennium Declaration".
The Millennium Development Goals proposed in 2001 include a target to bring
the child mortality rate to about one in 33, or 3%, but leaders resolved to
achieve about one in 40, or 2.5%.
The official baselines are about one in 11 (9%), in 1990 and one in 13 (7.6%) in 2000.
This is not only important for global claims. Although the pledges were
global, countries may claim to have met national pledges.
A similar situation applies to other pledges such as on water and money. These were reported in September 2000 - by the Times of India, Reuters, the Guardian, the Economist and the Independent - as having 2000 baselines but are now reported as having 1990 baselines.
World leaders pledged in effect not to bring the number to below 4.3 million child deaths in 2015 but
Assuming a straight-line trend from 2000, the difference in number of children's lives pledged and the fake pledge is around 5 million.
"We, heads of State and Government...have a duty therefore to...in particular, the children...
We resolve...by the year 2015...to have reduced ...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."
"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
"This, the first such annual report, focuses on commitments made in all chapters of the Declaration"
"The development goals set out in the Millennium Declaration express the resolve of the world's political leaders...
Extreme poverty in East Asia and the Pacific has already declined roughly by one half — from 28 per cent in 1990 to 14 per cent in 1999...
...the world has committed itself to reducing child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015." [!]
31 July 2002
Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration
Report of the Secretary-General
and Targets of the Millennium Declaration [!]
...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"
DRAFT DAC GUIDELINES ON POVERTY AND HEALTH
"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"
"To achieve MDG 4, fewer than 4.3 million children can die before their fifth birthday in 2015"
Office of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and Malaria
"UNICEF publishes yearly reports on child survival to track progress, promote accountability for global commitments made to children..."
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"
"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
"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
"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...
"Millennium Development Goals…eight global goals…agreed ...at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000. ...clear [!] and inspiring commitments…halving the number of people going hungry. The 2015 deadline for achieving these goals..."
"forged the MDGs in the year 2000"
"The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of 8 poverty targets set by the UN in 2000"
From: Department for International Development and The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP
7 July 2014
"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
According to the then UK Secretary of State for International Development she stated on
26 September 2000,
following world leader's commitments of
8 September 2000:
"Over the last 3 years we have worked...getting all parts of the international system committed to meeting the international development targets. ...which means a billion people being lifted out of poverty between 1990-2015. The UN and all its members, the World Bank, the IMF and the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, are now all firmly committed to the targets"
This is of course bizarre.
The International Development Targets, or
International Development Goals, were devised by the OECD in 1996.
That civil servants' document included 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"
The Millennium Declaration said nothing about 1990.
Yet eighteen days later, the UK Secretary of State spoke of "the UN and all its members" being committed to the easier 1990-2015 target.
It is clear from speeches to the General Assembly in September 2000 that several member states were under the impression the baseline was 2000 for other goals as well as the mortality goals.
Several leaders gave clear support for the Secretary-General's proposals, which included halving the proportion without clean water "between now and 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.
"In this Paper we strongly reaffirm the UK Government''s commitment to the International Development Targets [?] set out in our first White Paper.
[These have the easier 1990 baselines]
They remain absolutely central to our development strategy...[?]
Most recently, many of the targets were also endorsed by 149 Heads of State at the UN Millennium Summit in New York."
The white paper says it was "Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for International Development by Command of Her Majesty".
Is it saying the Queen commanded Clare Short to present to Parliament commitments to easier targets than those Mr Blair had agreed?
"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..." [!]
"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
Asked by Lord Patel
"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
The post-2015 development goals
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'
following is odd, especially because Josef Ritzen played a main part chairing
sessions at the two-day World Bank March 2001 seminar on the (1990-baseline)
"International Development Goals".
The main outcome of the seminar was the idea of merging of those easier goals with the more ambitious (2000-baseline)
Millennium Declaration pledges,
to create the easier 1990-baseline
"Millennium Development Goals".
Dr Ritzen published this strange account of a non-existent UN resolution:
"188 Heads of State [in 2000] accepted a resolution that describes the Millennium Development Goals [!]. These are the following eight objectives…
half the 1990 [!] level…
between 1990 and 2015…" [!]
A Chance for the World Bank
By J. M. M. Ritzen
Former Vice President of the Development Economics Department, World Bank;
Professor and President of Maastricht University
Foreword by Joseph Stiglitz
"Prior to coming to the Bank, [Dr Ritzen] was Minister of Education, Culture, and Science of The Netherlands, one of the longest-serving Ministers of Education in the world."
At the 2001 seminar where Mark Malloch Brown stated that the Declaration
goals were endorsed at a higher level than the (easier, 1990-baseline) IDGs, Dr
Ritzen, as World Bank vice-president for Development Policy, chaired the beginning and end sessions.
He mentioned that he was Chairman of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics.
"The MDG´s were set in 2000 ..."
"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 I was one of the heads of government who travelled to the United Nations
General Assembly here in New York and signed the Millennium Declaration.
That document enshrined the Millennium Development Goals [!]
as the international community's collective commitment"
Helen Clark [head of UN Development Programme] remarks on MDGs
"As one who signed the Millennium Declaration, back in 2000, I have never believed that the MDGs were meant to be mere aspirational or stretch targets. The MDGs can be met, and we should do everything possible within our power to ensure that they are.
because the MDGs represent basic development benchmarks, and promise a better
life for billions of people. Those people are entitled to believe that the promises
of action made in 2000 were promises which were meant to be
Helen Clark: Remarks at the DFID MDG Conference
"Launched in 2000 [!], the MDGs mobilised the international community around common goals. The MDGs were set as global targets, and were considered feasible at that level. When translated to the national level, however, some developing countries had surpassed many of the targets at the time of their launch"
"Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009"
Clark: Speech at Commonwealth Local Government Forum Conference 2013 | UNDP
No statement or reference by the author should be taken as implying wrongdoing by any person unless specifically stated.
Clearly, some people have made honest mistakes.
It is hard to see how all have.