Doing well on development — but could do better

12 February 2014
One of the ironies about the response to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals is that funding is being cut by governments even as progress is being made. In other words the drive to end extreme poverty could be a lot more successful if the modest sum guaranteed by the Irish government (and others) at the Millennium Summit in September 2000 could be made a reality. Nevertheless Ireland’s promise to reach the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid by 2015 can still make a major difference — if it happens. But the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are about more than just handing over money; they are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. You can read about them at And yes, things are improving. Have a look at this Millennium Development Goals quiz developed by our very own Dóchas and colleagues in Denmark: You may be surprised at some of the answers. There is, of course, more to be done, as the same partnership makes clear at However, that page also illustrates the fact that some MDG goals have already been met. In fact the argument that aid works is nicely illustrated by these two pages. And, again, it’s not just a matter of giving money, but how it is used. Given the right tools, the developing world is doing a great job of helping itself too, which is one of the themes of this page: The World’s Best News Facebook page brings regular stories of change and transformation in developing countries. It’s a great page to recommend to people convinced by mainstream media that things are getting worse. They are not. The will is there to make things better — and things are getting better. But they could get better faster. We can take heart from the progress made so far, but we need to make clear to our governments that a lot more needs to be done — and can be done. Find out more at the Act Now page mentioned earlier (and drop a line to your TD if it inspires you).