We recently published a new article, “Change of pace: Accelerations and advances during the Millennium Development Goal era,” in the academic journal World Development. The paper assesses a cross section of key indicators to compare trends before and after the start of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the internationally-agreed anti-poverty targets for 2015.

Some key findings include:

  • Low-income countries and sub-Saharan African countries registered positive acceleration on a majority of the indicators assessed and accounted for much of the world’s post-2000 accelerations.
  • Middle-income countries typically registered larger cumulative gains than low-income countries but had less acceleration overall.
  • 20.9 million to 30.3 million additional lives were saved due to accelerated rates of progress above previous trajectories, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for approximately two-thirds of the total.

The total estimated number of lives saved is based on child deaths, maternal deaths, HIV/AIDS deaths, and tuberculosis deaths not attributed to HIV. Among the other calculations, progress on HIV/AIDS accounted for the second-largest number of lives saved, at 7.7 million, followed by tuberculosis at roughly 3.2 million.

Our paper aims to clarify where patterns of progress did and did not change during the MDG era. In so doing, we hope it helps establish boundaries for future research on why some patterns shifted while others did not. In turn, this can inform thinking on where further changes of pace are required to achieve a new generation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets.

Read the full article about millennium development goal era by John McArthur and Krista Rassmussen at Brookings.