Millennium Development Goals
At the turn of the millennium, in 2000, government leaders from all over the world made an ambitious plan to eradicate poverty and secure development for everyone. They adopted the Millennium Development Goals, which are to be achieved before 2015. The eight goals are as follows:
- Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
- Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
- Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
- Goal 5: Improve maternal health
- Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
- Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
As everybody else, indigenous peoples have the right to benefit from the MDGs. However, in reality indigenous peoples are often not part of the MDG processes. Too little is known about indigenous peoples´ own perceptions of poverty and well-being, and very few indigenous communities have had the opportunity to participate and to contribute to making the MDG strategies relevant to their needs and priorities.
If indigenous peoples’ concerns and priorities are not specifically addressed in the strategies to reach the MDGs, there is a danger that their living conditions can actually deteriorate and their exclusion increase. If, for example, strategies to reach MDG 1 on poverty reduction are based on increased exploitation of natural resources on indigenous peoples’ lands, this will often lead to worse poverty than before despite improvement in the overall economic growth of a given country,. And, if Goal 2 on universal primary education is achieved in a given country, what kind of education will that be? Will indigenous children be taught in their own language or will education be used as a means of assimilation, leading to the further loss of indigenous languages, knowledge and culture?