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A website (www.mdgmonitor.org) will monitor how well nations around the world are meeting the United Nations millennium development goals for 2015, which were established at a UN summit in 2000. It will allow countries to compare themselves with others.
The millennium goals are to decrease global poverty and hunger, to increase primary school education, to promote sexual equality, to reduce child mortality, to improve maternal health, to combat HIV/AIDS and malaria and other diseases, to ensure environmental sustainability, and to develop a global partnership for development.
The website will provide information for policy makers and development experts, who can learn from each other's successes and setbacks. It will also increase public access and attention to whether the goals are being met.
The website tracks progress toward the goals in a number of categories in almost every country. The UN says that the site gives the most current data available from many sources in developing indicators of public health, education, and women's empowerment.
The website, developed by the UN in cooperation with Google and Cisco Systems, will provide updated information on efforts to fight malnutrition, poverty, and disease. Visitors to the site can also zoom in and use Google Earth to explore places where work is being done to meet the goals. Cisco contributed $150000 (£71000; €102000) and technical expertise to the initiative, and Google ensured all the monitor's data was available on Google Earth, which can be accessed though www.mdgmonitor.org.
Achievements to date are rated by a series of easy to recognise symbols that show whether the country has achieved a target, is on track to do so, could do so with some minor changes, or is off track. There is also a category for “insufficient information available”.
Data on the site are compiled from UN agencies, the World Bank, and governments, according to Kemal Dervis, UN Development Programs administrator. He told the Associated Press news agency that the data were often hard to obtain and can differ among sources.
Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the UN, thanked Google and Cisco for their help in creating the site. He said the site was “crucial” and said that it was the first time that all information about the millennium development goals would be available in one place “for all who seek it, with a few simple clicks of the mouse.”