Millennium Development Goal #8

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.


Main Targets

Progress Report: Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.
Progress Report: Address the special needs of least developed countries.
Progress Report: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries.
Progress Report: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.
Progress Report: In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.




2010 saw net aid distribution total at 128.7 billion USD, which is about 0.32% of all developing countries’ combined national income, the largest level of aid than ever before, and represents a 65% increase from 2009. With debt relief and humanitarian aid excluded, bilateral aid for development programs and projects has increased by 5.9%, indicating a “scaling up” of core programs, and new lending up by 13.2%. There have, however, been shortfalls in aid commitments, with the G8 summit and other forums in 2005 seeing donors committing to increasing their aid to developing countries from 80 billion in 2004 to around 130 billion in 2010. The final outcome in 2010 saw a shortfall of 19 billion USD: about 1 billion USD of that shortfall can be attributed to lower than expected levels of gross national income from the economic crisis, and the 18 billion gap due strictly to failed commitments. This resulted in an increase of about 30 billion USD in 2010.

Aid commitments and aid successfulness are constantly re-examined on the international stage, but how successful have they truly been? Please watch the video below for some insight from Mr. Bill Gates. 


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Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.

Progress Report

  • While there was fear of protectionist measures being taken up by nation-states at the start of the economic crisis in 2008, international governance shown in the G20 and other initiatives averted restrictive trade measures. This left preferential market access open to the least developed countries relatively unchanged over the past 5 years.
  • Currently, the majority of exports from developing countries are imported free of custom duties into developed regions. Recently, an increase in proportion of duty-free imports from developing countries other than the least developed countries, together add up to around 80% of their total exports.
  • Overall, preferential access to duty-free trading that is granted to developing countries is different than that granted to the least developed countries. There are general reductions of tariffs in developed markets, with more products imported as duty-free under the World Trade Organization’s “most favoured nation” (MFN) Treatment.  MFN treated duty-free products include raw materials and manufactured good, like electronics under the Information Technology agreement, which benefits the more advanced developing markets.

  • With MFN treatment excluded, only 19% of exports from developing to developed countries benefit from “true” preferential treatment.
  • “True” preferential duty-free treatment remains the most dominant form through which the least developed countries  gain access to developed regions’ markets, with the total number of least developed country exports benefitting from these preferences increasing to an all-time high of 53% in 2009.
  • All but one developed country, the United States, has granted duty-free markets to at least 97% of products from the least developed countries. The US has traffics on imported textiles and clothing from the Asian least developed countries.
  • 2009 saw tariffs on agricultural products from developing regions and the least developed countries continue to fall, but saw tariffs for textiles and clothing go unchanged.
  • The economic crisis in 2008 saw no major tariff initiatives taken on. 


Address the special needs of least developed countries.

Progress Report

  • In 2005, 15 European Union member countries who are also members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development committed a minimum of 0.51 % of their gross national income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 2010.
  • The following surpassed their commitment: Luxemburg (1.09%), Sweden (0.97%), Denmark (0.90%), Netherlands (0.81%), Belgium (0.64%), UK (0. 53), Finland (0.55%) and Ireland (0.53). France was close to meeting its target, sitting at 0.50%.  All of the other members were extremely far from the target: Spain (0.43%), Germany (0.38), Austria (0.32%), Portugal (0.29%), Greece (0.17%), Italy (0.15%).
  • In 2010, other DAC members such as Australia, Canada, Norway, Switzerland and the US kept their commitments.
  • Japan committed to donating over 10 billion dollars in aid over 2004 – 2009, but fell 3.6 billion USD short due to extreme economic constraints. Their ODA rose significantly in 2010, however.
  • New Zealand plans to donate NZ 600 dollars by 2012-2013, and so far is on track.
  • The Republic of Korea was not a DAC donor in 2005, and also made no commitments for ODA  but since 2005, has increased its aid programme by 56%.
  • In addition, 2010 saw Denmark, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden exceeded their United Nations ODA target of 0.7% of their GNI.
  • The largest donors by volume were: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan, with the largest increase in ODA between 2009-2010 being: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Portugal, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.
  • It is estimated that most donors plan to increase aid over the next three years but at a sharply decreased rate – it is estimated to grow at a 2% rate between 2011-2013, compared to the average of 8% over the past three years. It is also estimated that aid to Africa is going to rise by 1% a year, versus the average of 13% over the past three years.
  • In 2008-2009, out of the 82.1 billion dollars in ODA, 23.1 billion dollars went into gender equality and women’s empowerment, with the least development countries receiving around one third of donor’s total aid flows. 
  • Flows to developing countries from DAC countries - Read More

Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries.

Progress Report

  • A country’s external debt burden can affect its ability to get credit and increases its vulnerability to economic shock. The solutions in dealing with extreme debt lie in better debt management, expansion of trade and debt relief.
  • At Gleneagles, the G20 conference, the issue of debt relief of the most indebted countries was discussed. A number of countries that had over a certain amount of foreign debt (including those owed to the World Bank and the IMF) became eligible for debt relief, but in order to qualify needing to meet a series of criteria and economic hurdles.
  • Currently, there are 40 countries eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. 36 of those countries have reached the “decision point” stage of the process, leading to a reduction of future debt payments by 59 billion dollars. Subsequently, 32 of those countries have reached the “completion point”, where they have received additional debt assistance of 30 billion dollars.
  • The debt burdens of the countries included in HIPC Initiative are below the average of all of the least developed countries.

In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.


Progress Report

  • In the past multiple pharmaceutical companies have given medication and vaccines to areas in need, often in times of crisis, for a cheaper rate or for free.
  • In May 2009, when the start of the H1N1 Pandemic was threatening to reach some less developed countries, the United Nations with the help of the World Health Organization made an agreement with a  pharmaceutical companies to donate at least 10% of their vaccines to poorer countries. 

In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications.

Progress Report

  • With the growing demand for information and communication services, paired with growing infrastructure and falling services, more people have joined the information society.
  • At the end of 2012, 90% of the world’s inhabitants were covered by a mobile signal. Subsequently, mobile subscriptions have grown to around 5.3 billion worldwide, with one billion subscriptions to 3G (third generation) services.
  • At the same time, around 2 billion people have been using the internet, increasingly through broadband.  The end of 2012 saw one out of three individuals worldwide online.
  • Developed countries have reached saturation levels in mobile subscriptions, with an average penetration level of 116%. Developing regions sat at 68% at the end of 2010, with the least development countries sitting at 30%. This should be directly compared to the 1% of fixed telephone line penetration in the developing regions.
  • The number of internet users worldwide is growing, with developing regions sitting at 21% at the end of 2010 and 72% of the developed regions. Globally, this makes up two out of every three people not using the internet. The least developed countries see the lowest internet usage of 30%.
  • Yet in absolute terms, developed regions have been surpassed by developing regions in terms of internet use. In 2010, the developing regions accounted for 60% of all internet users, up from 40% in 2005.
  • The end of 2010 also saw fixed broadband penetration in the developed region sit at about 26% versus 44% in developing regions. While this penetration in the developing regions seems optimistic, fixed broadband subscriptions are concentrated to a couple countries and urban areas. The least developed countries have seen very few subscriptions, and very expensive services making it inaccessible to the average citizen.
  • Mobile broadband subscriptions make up two thirds of all subscriptions in developed regions, with penetration levels surpassing the 50% mark at the end of 2010.



"Africa In Figures: Debt. BBC News".

“The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011”, the United Nations, June 2011.

“We Can End Poverty 2015 – Fact Sheet”, UN Department of Public Information, September 2010.

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