From Promise to Performance: How Rich Countries Can Help Poor Countries Help Themselves

July 18, 2005
At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 the nations of the world committed to join forces to meet a set of measurable targets for reducing world poverty, disease, illiteracy and other indicators of human misery—all by the year 2015. These targets, later named the Millennium Development Goals, include seven measures of human development in poor countries. At the same summit, world leaders took on several qualitative targets applicable to rich countries, later collected in an eighth Goal. The key elements of the eighth Goal, reaffirmed by senior leaders of the richest countries at a 2002 summit, pledge financial support and policy changes in trade, debt relief, and other areas to assist poor countries'domestic efforts to meet the first seven Goals. Combined, the eight Goals constitute a global compact between poor and rich to work today toward their mutual interests to secure a prosperous future. Mirroring past domestic efforts at social integration during their own economic development, industrial countries have in effect agreed to extend those policies and promises to poor people in poor countries. The CGD/Foreign Policy Magazine Commitment to Development Index measures and monitors the policies of rich countries that affect the poor. It provides one mechanism to ensure that rich countries, like the developing countries, are held accountable for their promises by their own citizens and by the citizens of the world.

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