As of 5 April, only 1,000 days remain until the end of the 2015 target date for achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs – which range from halving extreme poverty to promoting gender equality to providing universal primary education by the target date of 2015 – form an internationally agreed blueprint which countries and leading development institutions have signed onto. Since their adoption in 2000, the MDGs have made a huge difference, helping to set global and national priorities and fuel action on the ground. They have raised awareness and shaped a broad vision for development work across the world.

The MDGs are not just abstract or aspirational targets. Achieving the Goals is about ensuring certain basic human rights for all, and making a real difference in people’s lives. UN Women is actively working on the achievement of the MDGs, for which women and girls play a pivotal role, as well as for MDG3, which specifically focuses on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Snapshot of Progress: MDG targets for reducing poverty, improving access to safe drinking water, and improving the lives of 200 million slum dwellers have been met. More kids than ever are attending primary school with parity achieved between boys and girls. Child deaths have dropped dramatically, and targeted investments in fighting malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have saved millions of lives.

While significant progress has already been made, gaps still remain. Much more needs to be done, particularly when it comes to implementation on the ground, including for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, and addressing the gender dimensions of the all the eight goals. Studies also show that millions of people – particularly the poorest and most marginalized, minorities, women and girls – are being left behind.

We have 1,000 Days to the end of 2015 – 1,000 Days for action.

With 1,000 Days to achieve the MDGs, efforts have to accelerate action and scale up what works – with contributions from Governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector. Focusing on reducing inequalities on many fronts – such as improving food security, maternal health, water and sanitation, rural development, environmental sustainability and responses to climate change – is critical at this juncture.

Evidence shows that gender equality and women’s empowerment is a cornerstone to accelerating and sustaining MDG progress and furthering all the Goals. According to the World Bank, ensuring equal access for women and girls to education, nutrition, basic services, health care, employment, economic opportunities and decision-making at all levels has proven to be one of the most powerful drivers of progress across all the Goals.

Find out more about how women and girls are faring in progress towards each of these goals, and UN Women efforts towards the MDGs. UN Women efforts towards the MDGs