About 8+GOALS

“ Open your heart ”

This is the message that 8+goals is striving to promote. The initiative to promote the United Nations Millennium Development Goals includes the organisation of shows and events so as to combat fatalism and indifference in the face of extreme poverty. By stimulating the interest of the media, as well as our own, it aims at reminding decision-makers of the need to achieve these goals.

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1 eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Over a billion people continue to live in extreme poverty, whilst quite paradoxically we live in a period of great prosperity. And although the financial downturn has had serious consequences on the global financial situation, signatory countries, both the less affluent and the wealthiest, should continue to respect their commitments so as to bring this problematic situation to an end.

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Recent figures for living costs in developing countries could change our perception of the scale and the spread of poverty in the world. However, continuous economic growth recorded by all developing regions leads us to believe that poverty has continued to decline in 2007. The objective of halving, by 2015, the percentage of the population living on less than one dollar per day remains within reach.

Since 1990, extreme poverty in the world has been measured using a scale representing poverty thresholds as recorded in some of the poorest countries throughout the globe. Initially set at one dollar per day, the international poverty threshold was subsequently set at 1.08 dollars per day.

The reduction of poverty is dependent on full employment and decent jobs for all. The number of poor people in employment has little chance of reducing if productivity does not increase.

Over the course of the last decade, productivity has increased by at least 4% per annum in Southern Asia, Eastern Asia and in the Community of Independent States. As a result, the number of poor people in employment has reduced in these three regions. However, the generally weak and irregular progression of productivity in sub-Saharan Africa has not enabled people in employment in this region to escape from poverty.


2 Achieve universal primary education

Primary education paves the way towards personal development and autonomy. Insofar as this goal is not achieved, each initiative undertaken in developing countries is likely to lead to increased dependence and instability.

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The amount of children in primary education has increased, but not sufficiently enough to guarantee that all children will complete a full course of primary education before 2015.

In order to achieve this goal, the number of new teachers required in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015 is the equivalent of the entire body of teachers currently employed in the region.

In sub-Saharan Africa, at least one quarter of primary school age children did not attend school in 2008. Education is crucial for children. However, continuing with education is just as important and over 30% of children abandon their schooling before reaching the final year. Despite all of these challenges, between 1999 and 2008, the school enrolment rate increased in many regions:

  • + 18% in sub-Saharan Africa
  • + 11% in Southern Asia
  • + 8% in North Africa

The disparities between sexes additionally decreased amongst the percentage of children not attending school. However, other figures also demonstrate that children in rural areas are twice as likely not to attend school as those living in urban areas.

Poverty constitutes the largest obstacle to education, but there are also several social and cultural barriers. In many countries, the education of girls and children with disabilities is seen as having reduced value, which only fuels the phenomenon of marginalisation.


3 Promote gender equality and empower women

Women… some women are rising up to make themselves be seen and heard… In many countries, women also represent the primary key to development. However, today still, a large percentage of women do not have access to education, are very few in numbers to work in sectors other than agriculture, and are ineligible for election to government.

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Gender equality, which is one of the fundamental human rights, is at the very heart of achieving the MDGs. Without this, it is not possible to eradicate hunger, poverty or disease. Instilling women with an equal amount of power to be involved in decisions which influence their lives - from within the family to the upper echelons of government - means granting women the keys to their own autonomy.

Between 2000 and 2006 the percentage of girls in primary education increased much more rapidly than that of boys across all developing regions. However, girls continue to represent 55% of the total amount of children not following educational programmes.

The participation of women in non-agricultural remunerated employment has increased. In some regions, women are slowly gaining access to employment remunerated at an equivalent level to men, or in the instance of the CIS, to a higher level.

Despite a greater representation in politics, women are largely absent from the upper echelons of government. In January 2008, out of a total of 150 elected Heads of State, only seven were women; and out of 192 heads of government of United Nations Member States, only eight were women.


4 Reduce child mortality

It is said that our first memories are those from our first five years of life. Throughout the world, many children do not live this long. Before 2015, we must reduce by two thirds the level of child mortality. There is no time like the present.

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In 2006, for the first time in history, the annual rates of child mortality for under fives fell below the ten million mark. However, millions of children die each year from avoidable causes, a fact which remains unacceptable. Every child born in a developing country, is 13 times more likely to due during the first five years of life than a child born in a developed country.

The lack of progression in terms of child survival rates is reflected in the lack of basic healthcare facilities in certain regions of developing countries.

The primary causes of child mortality are pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and measles and can be easily avoided by simple improvements both to basic healthcare facilities and measures taken in these areas.

In 2006, almost 80% of children in the world were automatically vaccinated against measles. This is admittedly quite remarkable, but it is necessary to renew efforts to ensure that each and every child be immunised so as to achieve the goal of reducing by 90% mortality due to measles by 2015.


5 Improve maternal health

The majority of us see maternity as a joyous event which happens, once, twice or even three times in our lifetime, and at such time of our choosing. For others, it signifies giving birth to a child, in appalling conditions, in suffering or quite simply distress, and where the mother, child or both often die. Can we continue to accept this? Surely not.

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Increased maternal mortality rates continue to be unacceptable in many countries of the developing world. In 2005, over half a million women died during pregnancy, in childbirth or in the six weeks following childbirth.

On a global scale, maternal mortality decreased by less than one percent per annum between 1990 and 2005 – a rate which is largely inferior to the 5.5% necessary to achieve the target.

The percentage of pregnant women in the developing world, who undergo medical examination at least once during pregnancy, has increased, rising from just over half in the early 1990s to almost three quarters in the subsequent decade.

Unfulfilled needs in terms of family planning – the gap between the confirmed desire of a woman to delay bearing child to a later stage in life or to not bear child, and the effective use of contraception – have decreased in the majority of countries in which trends are noticeable. Across all regions, it is within the poorest families that this need is the least fulfilled.


6 Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases

How to avoid something which cannot be seen coming? Instinct cannot prevent disease. But people can, provided they are aware and know what actions to take to avoid disease. Afterwards, it is necessary to provide sufficient resources, and where appropriate, treatment.

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Each day, almost 7,500 people are infected by HIV and 5,500 people die from AIDS because they do not have access to prevention or treatment for HIV. Behind these startling figures there are, however, some encouraging initiatives which have enabled some small breakthroughs to be achieved in combating AIDS.

According to estimations, 15.5 million women and 15.3 million men throughout the world were able to continue living with HIV in 2007, compared with 14.1 million and 13.8 million respectively in 2001.

The number of incidences of death declared due to malaria decreased by over 70% between 2000 and 2006.

In 2006, according to estimations, tuberculosis killed 1.7 million people; 14.4 million people were infected with the diseased including 9.2 million new cases.


7 Ensure environmental sustainability

For the years ahead, action must be taken, and quickly. Demographic pressure and our energy-guzzling tendencies are placing increasing burden on the planet. Access to clean drinking water is additionally problematic as it is a factor leading to the development of shanty towns.

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Between 1990 and 2005, 2% of the world’s forest area disappeared, which equates to an average reduction of 0.2% per annum. Deforestation, primarily due to the transformation of forest area into agricultural land in developing countries, continues to increase at an alarming rate - approximately 13 million hectares per annum.

In addition to the loss of biodiversity, between 18 to 25% of greenhouse gases result each year from deforestation, a phenomenon which is becoming a key factor in climate change.

Since 1990, the number of people in developing regions using improved sanitation facilities has increased by 1.1 billion, with South-East Asia and East Asia recording notable improvements. However, so as to reach the target, the number of people using sanitation facilities should increase by 1.6 billion over the next seven years.

In 2006, 96% of the urban population of developing regions had access to improved sources of drinking water, compared with 78% of habitants in rural areas.

The absence of improved purification systems and the shortage of water are two of the four factors characteristic of urban shanty towns. Simple and cheap measures to fulfil these needs would significantly improve the quality of life of people living in shanty towns.


8 Develop a global partnership for development

Providing global funding for development is not simple. The economic downturn has considerably reduced levels of global aid to below 0.7% of gross national income as targeted by the United Nations. Moreover, in order to speed up the development of poor countries, these populations require physical and communications infrastructures. It is only in improving this partnership that we will be able to improve the situation.

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Global aid remains well below the target outlined by the United Nations of 0.7% of the Gross National Income (GNI) of members of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. On the whole, public aid for development (PAD) originating from developed countries fell by 0.28% of their combined gross national income in 2007.

To speed up their development through the improvement of production and commercial capabilities, developing countries require technical assistance in addition to other forms of assistance, such as in the construction of infrastructures.

Internet connectivity will assist the developing world in achieving goals in terms of healthcare, education, employment and reducing poverty. In late 2006, 1.2 billion people had access to the internet – representing little more than 18% of the global population. However, the digital divide remains strong.