The Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights

“Our responsibility is to keep the promise made to the poorest, for which we will be held accountable.”

Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights

Human rights are essential to achieving and sustaining development. The Millennium Declaration, adopted by all the world’s leaders in 2000 recognized the link between human rights, good governance and development.

Ten years after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established, it is clear that the objectives of human well being and dignity for all, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will not be achieved if the MDGs are pursued in isolation from human rights.

While some countries are on track to reaching a few of these Goals, more than a billion people are still trapped in extreme poverty. The challenges are most severe in the least developed countries and land-locked countries, some small island developing states and those vulnerable to natural hazards and armed conflict. Yet, even in countries scoring major successes, large disparities still persist, with millions of people left behind in the race towards achieving the MDGs. Poverty and deprivation is often exacerbated by poor governance and multiple deprivations of human rights.

With only five years until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, it is essential to renew our commitment to a human rights-based development approach.

Preparations are in full gear for a high-level UN meeting in September 2010 to review progress towards achieving the MDGs. The 2010 high-level meeting should result in a renewal of existing commitments as well as galvanize coordinated action among all stakeholders to strengthen human rights and good governance as an integral part of global development efforts.

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Information notes

Human rights help achieve MDGs (PDF)
A | C | E | F | R | S

The right to development - Framework for achieving the MDGs (PDF)

Maternal mortality is a human rights issue (PDF)

The right to water and sanitation and the MDGs (PDF)

How social protection can help to achieve the MDGs (PDF)

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