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April 8, 2014 | Amina J. Mohammed

Since their adoption in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history. They have helped in achieving tremendous progress, including halving extreme poverty, improving the lives of 200 million slum dwellers, increasing access to safe drinking water and attaining gender parity in primary education.

As we approach the MDGs target date of 2015, accelerated efforts are being made, focusing on those goals that are the most off-track. Where there is political will, results follow. For example, attended deliveries have increased in Kenya as a result of eradicating fees for birth deliveries in public health facilities, contributing to lowering maternal and neonatal mortality rates. Also in the financial sector, policy reforms by the government have spurred innovations, dramatically improving the access to financial services. Such examples of leadership can be found in many countries.

However, more than 1 billion people still live in extreme poverty and far too many continue to face serious deprivations of basic human needs, with progress hampered by deep inequalities linked to income, gender, ethnicity, disability, location and age. The global economic downturn and increasing conflicts of recent years have worsened poverty and inequality, while climate change threatens to reverse achievements and undermine future gains. The devastating effects of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines reminded us of the interconnected nature of what is happening to our planet and human well-being; droughts afflicting several African countries, earthquakes in Pakistan, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and numerous other examples highlight the need for an integrated approach to development.

Read the full op-ed at The Broker.