Millennium Development Goals and the DPRK
Before the 1990s, the DPRK experienced much higher levels of human development than currently exist, from life expectancy and infant mortality rates to access to health services and water and sanitation. However, the disruption of the economy following the transformation of socialist market economies in neighboring countries during the early 1990’s, combined with a series of natural disasters, caused many economic difficulties.
Energy, food security, information infrastructure, agriculture and industrial production all suffered. Per capita income fell by 50 percent, life expectancy declined, and the infant mortality rate increased. From 1995 to 2005, the DPRK required external humanitarian assistance, including large quantities of food aid, to meet the basic needs of its people. While gains have been made, one-third of the population continues to experience food shortages.
In the DPRK, the MDGs have been nationalized and prioritized, with assistance from UNDP. The country is making progress towards achieving MDG 2 on primary education as there are indications that literacy and school attendance rates are high. It is also making progress on MDG 3, which sets targets for gender equality.
The government has set a target to achieve MDG 4 and 5 by reducing infant mortality ratios by two-thirds and maternal mortality ratios by three-quarters by 2015. Progress lags in meeting MDG 7, which sets targets for the environment, and MDG 8 on global partnerships for development.
Background on the MDGs
The Millennium Development Goals emerged from the 2000 Millennium Summit of 189 world leaders in New York. They give voice to shared values and an unequivocal commitment to halving world poverty by 2015. The eight MDGs and their 18 targets and 48 indicators embody the solemn commitment of all countries to promoting development. They are now an important yardstick by which the international community measures development progress. The MDGs also provide a set of time-bound and measurable targets for combating poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease, discrimination against women and environmental degradation, and for promoting a global partnership for development. They offer an accountability framework to which countries commit themselves.
The MDGs emphasize shared accountability and reciprocal obligations among developed and developing countries to reach important development milestones. Poor countries have pledged to govern better and invest in their people through health care and education. Rich countries have pledged to support them through aid, debt relief and fairer trade.
The MDGs respond to the world's main development challenges: reducing poverty, education, maternal health, gender equality and child mortality, AIDS and other diseases. The global MDG effort rests on the premise that every member of society’s participation is essential to attaining these goals.
Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling.
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.
Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five.
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio. Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health.
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it. Halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss. Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system. Its targets include a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction – both nationally and internationally.
Address the special needs of the least developed countries. Includes tariff and quota free access for the least developed countries' exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance (ODA) for countries committed to poverty reduction.
Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and Small Island developing States. Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries. In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.