How the United Nations used the Millenium Development Goals to improve the world

In the happiest place on Earth, there exists such a place which brings together cultures from all around the world, and places where people can discover new things that will teach them how to improve the future.  This place is called the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT.  EPCOT was created to teach others about the world and to inspire a new wonder at people’s pasts and futures and help the people of the world create a better one.  Similarly, the United Nations is an organization of 193 countries that come together to help create a better future by dealing with global issues such as human rights, poverty, education, health and the environment.

The United Nations was established on October 24, 1945, after the second World War as a way for nations to come together and discuss issues before war would break out.  This was a replacement for the League of Nations, which was put in place after the first World War.  While this league was proposed by President Woodrow Wilson with his 14 points, it was vetoed by the Senate, so the United States was not a part of it.  This obviously failed as World War II broke out, and afterword the United Nations was formed.  They continually worked and met together to help create a better future and resolve conflicts peacefully.

 In 2000 they established the Millennium Developmental Goals to improve the world further by the year 2015.  The Millennium Developmental Goals are made up of eight issues that the United Nations planned to improve upon by using a variety of methods.


The first bullet on their list was eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.  The United Nations defined this as “a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.  It depends not only on income but also on access to services”.

One of the big campaigns that they launched to achieve this goal is the Zero Hunger Challenge.  The Zero Hunger Challenge is an idea that will hopefully make sure that all poverty and hunger is abolished by 2030.  This will become more and more important as our population increases, and our food supply decreases due to global warming.  It is projected that we will need to increase our food production and supply by 50% to sustain our growing population.  However, because of global warming, our food supply is predicted to decrease by 25%.  By continuing to use the Zero Hunger Challenge, we will hopefully be able to reduce the amount of food we waste and increase the amount of food we can preserve.  The title Zero Hunger Challenge was smartly selected to get many countries on board.  It is a bold statement, claiming that they will eradicate all hunger.  No country can say that they do not want that.  By calling it a challenge, people feel the need to participate and prove that they themselves can stand up and complete the challenge.  When a country does comply, and exterminate hunger and poverty in their country, they are crowned with the term “Champions”.

The next item on the Millennium Development goals list was universal primary education.  The United Nations defined this as “ensuring that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling”.

Children who are more educated will be better prepared to combat all the issues that they will face in the world.  There are a lot of them, like poverty and terrible diseases, but by giving the children of the world an education, we can create a better generation that will help limit these problems.

One of the main things that the United Nations continues to do to gain support for this is the UNICEF coin collection.  Halloween is coming up, and you know that if you are getting trick-or-treaters, you will not only need to get candy to hand out, but coins as well for UNICEF boxes.  These boxes teach children that other children do not have the same opportunities that they do, and gives them a chance to learn and help others.  It also reminds parents that there are other children in the world that do not get the same chances as their child, and may inspire them to continue to help further.  We can see that this is becoming increasingly helpful.  While many people still do not have access to education, we can see that they are willing to fight for it.

One example of this was Malala Yousafzai, who stood up to the Taliban who were trying to stop her from getting an education.  Granted, she did end up getting hurt and having to leave the country, but it brought a new awareness to the issue to many people.

The third item on the Millennium Development goals list was gender equality and the empowerment of women.   Since its emplacement, two thirds of developing countries have gained almost gender equality in the number of children in schools.

One big win for gender equality has recently occurred in Saudi Arabia.  As of September 26, 2017, women in Saudi Arabia can now drive.  Before this, women would have to either have a family member drive them around, or hire a chauffeur.  Since that is a very expensive thing to do, it effectively stopped the less wealthy women of Saudi Arabia from moving around.  By allowing women to drive, they are being given not only their license but a symbolically their freedom.

As teenagers, we can relate to this as we also have recently gotten the chance to drive.  Before you got your license, you were dependent on others, but with it, the world is your oyster.

The next concern on the list is the reduction of child mortality.  Child mortality refers to the deaths of children under the age of 5.  This is not a new idea that the United Nations has propose; they’ve reduced the amount of child mortality by more than half since the year 1990.  However, that number is still too high, so the United Nations continually advocates the reduction of child mortality.  Child mortality is mainly caused by problems that occur from neo-natal complications and pneumonia.

One way that the United Nations is doing to raise awareness to this is the “Every Woman, Every Child” movement.  This movement brings light to the idea that women and children are pillars of society.  If they are sick, and unable to participate in society, then society cannot grow.  This alludes to the fact that children are the future, and without them there will not be one.

Maternal health is the next bullet on the list.  The United Nations defines maternal health as “the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.”

One organization that helps deal with maternal health around the globe is Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood accomplishes this goal by educating people about their health options.  Many people protest this organization because it offers abortions.  However, Planned Parenthood does many other things including pregnancy tests, prenatal care, STI screening and treatment, Pap Smears, breast scans and research.

Another maternal health issue that the United Nations is trying to combat is women who do not have access to care during birth attaining injuries, such as obstetric fistula, which, without medical care, can result in Chron’s disease, dehydration and kidney diseases and failure in the mother and possibly a stillborn baby.  While this is not as common in the United States, it is still very common in areas that may not be close enough to medical care.  To shed light upon this issue, the United Nations created a short video, in which a young woman talks about her experience with obstetric fistula.  Seeing her struggles strengthens the viewers emotions towards other young women in similar situations, hopefully compelling them to help and donate to the cause.

The combating of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and other diseases is the next thing on the Millennium Developmental Goals list.  Since this has been implemented, HIV/AIDS and Malaria deaths declined by 40% in women.

One of the ways that they are helping people in areas that do not have the time or money to go to hospitals or clinics is by bringing the clinics to them.  Mobile Clinics is something that the United Nations has created to allow people to be diagnosed.  Knowing whether you have the virus or not could potentially stop the spread of the disease.

Something that becomes increasingly relevant as time goes on is the need to ensure environmental sustainability.  Despite some government officials who would rather you believe otherwise, climate change is a real and scary issue.

The Paris Agreement is one of the main things that the United Nations implemented to combat this issue.  The Paris Agreement encourages its participants to come up with laws and goals to help decrease their emissions use.  This past summer the Trump administration announced that they would like to leave the Paris Agreement.  While this is not something that they will be able to do anytime soon, it will certainly become a hot topic in the next election.

Last on the Millennium Development Goals list is to develop a global partnership for development.  One component of this is a more open and non-discriminatory trade between countries.  This will help eradicate poverty in many countries.

Another part of this goal is addressing the needs of landlocked and developing countries.  Some of these needs may include things like debt relief and getting the internet to many areas.

The icons on the Millennium Development Goals logo are each very simplistic and recognizable.  The simplicity of them reminds us that these goals are not something that should be challenging to achieve, but are basic human rights.  The symbols are universal, making sure that no matter where you are from, you can recognize them.  The use of negative space really makes the images on the icons stand out, demonstrating that these are the main ideas that need to be focused on.

The first goal, the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, depicts a steaming bowl of soup.  There is this commonplace that when you are sick or feeling down, you eat soup.  By showing the bowl of soup, the observer remembers those times that they themselves felt bad, and is compelled to feel bad in turn for those without food and want to help them.

The second goal, achieving universal primary education, is presented as just a simple pencil.  With just a pencil, a person can take on the world.  The yellow/green background reminds people of the youthfulness of the next generation and their ability to make a difference.

The third goal icon depicts the Venus symbol, which usually stands for the female gender.  The background is a bright orange, which evokes optimistic feelings in the observer.

The fourth, child mortality, displays a small teddy-bear-like figure.  This creates an empathic emotion in the onlooker, as the use of a teddy-bear makes the child a person with likes and dislikes, as opposed to just a number.  The light blue color creates an almost blank slate type of feel.  This conjures up thoughts about all the new ideas and innovations that were lost as these children were not given the chance to live.

The fifth goal, the improvement of maternal health, displays a pregnant woman with a heart in her stomach.  The heart in her stomach demonstrates the bond between mother and child, as well as the love that the child will in turn bring into the world.  The pink background reminds the stirs up feelings of love, caring, and feminity.

The sixth goal, the combating of diseases such as Malaria and HIV/AIDS, shows a bottle with a cross on it.  This cross symbol is usually associated with things such as first aid and the Red Cross.  Both indicate a sense of urgency in the situation, which may make the observer feel as though they need to act fast to save people who are dying from these diseases.  The red background also influences the feelings of urgency and pain, as it may make them reminisce a time they were in pain.

The seventh goal, ensuring environmental sustainability, depicts a tree that almost also looks like a factory.  That, and the fact that it has a green background, tells the observer that green energy is the way to go.

The final goal, global partnership for development, displays a row of four people who are linked together.  This indicates that they are all working together to help each other, and that they all care about the well-being of the others.  Blue is also the color of trust, which is a very smart choice when you are talking about global partnership.  You need to be able to trust each other for any type of relationship to work, and the blue background on this icon helps stimulate this sentiment.

While the goals in the Millennium Development Goal list were not completely met, the United Nations was able to use many of these goals to help improve the world.

Works Cited:

“Climate Focus Client Brief on the Paris Agreement III .” 28 Dec. 2015.

“Sustainable Development Goals.” United Nations, United Nations,

Strickland, Ashley. “Planned Parenthood: Fast Facts and Revealing Numbers.” CNN, Cable News Network, 1 Aug. 2017,


By Kjerish – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Type: Blog post

Audience: the students in class


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