A Resource Guide to the Millennium Development Goals

As part of the Global Investigative Journalism Network’s series of Resource Pages, we are publishing this guide on the Millennium Development Goals. It is reprinted from the Reporter’s Guide to the Millennium Development Goals: Covering Development Commitments for 2015 and Beyond, published by the International Press Institute (IPI).

MDG ResourcesIPI has compiled a wide-ranging set of valuable resources and contacts for journalists covering topics related to development in general and to the MDGs — Millennium Development Goals — in particular.  While not exhaustive, the links below can help point intrepid reporters in the right direction.

Statistics on Progress toward the MDGs

General Sources for Human Development Data

List of National Statistics Offices

Further MDG and Human Development Statistics/Resources by Region



Latin America and the Caribbean

Asia and the Pacific

Arab States

Terminology in MDG Reports and International Development

Research on Development Issues

Government and Social Development Resource Center (GSDRC): “GSDRC provides applied knowledge services on demand and online. Our expertise is in issues of governance, social development, humanitarian response and conflict. Our specialist research team supports a range of international development agencies, synthesising the latest evidence and expert thinking to inform policy and practice.”

GSDRC Development Guides: Topics including gender equality, climate change, justice, conflict and more; each topic area provides resources, background information, and statistics.

Global Development Network: “GDNet is a knowledge hub that brings together and communicates policy-relevant research from the Global South.”

International Policy Center for Inclusive Growth (UNDP): Online catalogue of development networks that share development-related information.

International Development Research Centre (IDRC): “To achieve self-reliance, poor communities need answers to questions like: How can we grow more and healthier food? Protect our health? Create jobs? A key part of Canada’s aid program since 1970, IDRC supports research in developing countries to answer these questions.”

Post2015.org: “A hub for ideas, debate and resources on what comes after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”

UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: The platform serves to “provide wide access to information and knowledge for sustainable development.”

World Bank Human Development Network: “The Human Development Network (HDN) is the World Bank’s home for policy, programs, and research in the fields of education, health, and social protection and labor. The HDN Chief Economist’s Office supports evaluations and training to measure program impact and improve service delivery.”

World Resource Institute: “WRI was launched June 3, 1982 as a center for policy research and analysis addressed to global resource and environmental issues.”

Government Accountability and Access to Information

Access Info: “Access Info Europe is a human rights organisation dedicated to promoting and protecting the right of access to information in Europe and globally as a tool for defending civil liberties and human rights, for facilitating public participation in decision-making and for holding governments accountable.”

Anti-Corruption Research Network (ACRN): ACRN is a podium to present innovative findings and approaches in corruption / anti-corruption research, a sounding board to bounce off ideas and questions, a marketplace to announce jobs, events, courses and funding.

Freedominfo.org: “Freedominfo.org is a one-stop portal that describes best practices, consolidates lessons learned, explains campaign strategies and tactics, and links the efforts of freedom of information advocates around the world. It contains crucial information on freedom of information laws and how they were drafted and implemented, including how various provisions have worked in practice.”

Global Integrity: “Global Integrity is an innovation lab that produces high-quality research and creates cutting-edge technology to advance the work of a global network of civic, public, and private reformers pursuing increased transparency and accountability in governments.” Global Integrity Report:  www.globalintegrity.org/report.

Right2Info: Right2INFO.org brings together information on the constitutional and legal framework for the right of access to information as well case law from more than 80 countries, organized and analyzed by topic.

Transparency International: “Through more than 100 national chapters worldwide and an international secretariat in Berlin, we work with partners in government, business and civil society to put effective measures in place to tackle corruption.” Global Corruption Report: www.transparency.org/research/gcr.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): “Corruption is a major impediment to economic and social development, UNODC partners with the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, to loosen the grip that corrupt individuals have on government, national borders and trading channels.” List of Field Offices: www.unodc.org/unodc/en/field-offices.html?ref=menutop

Lists of Regional Resources on Corruption

GSDRC Corruption Resources

Act Against Corruption Regional and National Resources

International Organisations Working To Promote MDGs

Many of the intergovernmental organisations listed below have field presence across the world; check the particular website to see if there is an office near you.  Remember, this list of is just a start – there are many more MDG allies out there!

UN Millennium Development Goals Official Portal

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

“UNDP works with a wide range of partners to help create coalitions for change to support the Millennium Development Goals at global, regional and national levels, to benchmark progress towards them, and to help countries to build the institutional capacity, policies and programmes needed to achieve the MDGs.”

African Development Bank

“The overarching objective of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries (RMCs), thus contributing to poverty reduction.”

Aga Khan Development Network

Works “to improve the welfare and prospects of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa, without regard to faith, origin or gender.”

Asian Development Bank (ADP)

“Dedicated to its vision of an Asia and Pacific region free of poverty, ADB strongly supports the Millennium Development Goals, and the ADB’s developing member countries are guided by the MDG in preparing their own poverty reduction strategies, in collaboration with development partners.”


“AVERT is an international HIV and AIDS charity, based in the UK, working to avert HIV and AIDS worldwide, through education, treatment and care.”


“BRAC works with people whose lives are dominated by extreme poverty, illiteracy, disease and other handicaps.  Our mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice.”


“CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of disease, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives.”


“We have until 2015 to meet the Goals and to keep our word. We can’t let this chance slip through our fingers – we may not have it again. Caritas believes in the Millennium Development Goals. Caritas believes all of us have the right to escape abject poverty. Caritas believes we can keep the moral commitment we have made.”

Inter-American Development Bank

“Partnering with clients, the IDB seeks to eliminate poverty and inequality, and promotes sustainable economic growth.”

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

IFAD’s overarching goal is that rural women and men in developing countries are empowered to achieve higher incomes and improved food security at the household level. In this way it will contribute to the achievement of Millennium Development Goal number 1: the eradication of extreme poverty.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

“The IMF contributes to the MDG effort through its advice, technical assistance, and lending to countries, as well as its role in mobilizing donor support. Together with the World Bank, it assesses progress toward the MDGs through an annual Global Monitoring Report.”

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNIAIDS)

“A joint venture of the United Nations family, bringing together the efforts and resources of ten UN organizations in the AIDS response to help the world prevent new HIV infections, care for people living with HIV, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic.”

MDG Achievement Fund

The MDG Achievement Fund (MDG-F) is committed to eradicating poverty and inequality and changing people’s lives around the world. Set up in 2007 with a generous contribution from the Government of Spain to the United Nations system, we work together with and in support of citizens and their organizations as well as governments to implement programs that help advance the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) worldwide.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

“The OECD’s work is intrinsically linked to supporting the MDG effort, specifically through work related to financing the MDGs, building a global partnership for development, and supporting strategic areas contributing to progress in the MDGs.”

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

“PAHO is a key contributor to the effort towards the attainment of the MDGs in the countries of the Americas. The Organization’s vision on the MDGs was approved by member countries during the 45th Session of the Directing Council in September 2004, and led to an official resolution calling for countries and PAHO to use the MDGs as a guide for national and international efforts towards better health for the peoples of the Region.”

Panos Institute

The Panos institutes work to ensure that information is effectively used to foster public debate, pluralism and democracy. Globally and within nations, Panos works with media and other information actors to enable developing countries to shape and communicate their own development agendas through informed public debate.
We particularly focus on amplifying the voices of the poor and marginalized.

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

“The main objectives of SADC are to achieve economic development, peace and security, and growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through Regional Integration.”

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

“AWID is committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights, with its mission focused on strengthening the impact and influence of women’s rights advocates, organizations and movements internationally to effectively advance the rights of women.”

The Global Fund for Women

“The Global Fund for Women advances women’s rights by making grants that support and strengthen women’s groups around the world, with the aim to promote women’s action for social change, equality, peace, and justice worldwide.”

The Hunger Project

“The Hunger Project is a global, non-profit, strategic organisation committed to the sustainable end of world hunger in order to enhance human dignity by empowering people to lead lives of self-reliance, meet their own basic needs and build better futures for their children.”

The International Institute for Environment and Development

“The International Institute for Environment and Development is a global leader in sustainable development, its mission to build a fairer, more sustainable world, using evidence, action and influence in partnership with others.”


UNICEF’s work “correlates closely with the Millennium Development Goals set by United Nations States in 2000 – and is central to meeting them. Of the 48 indicators of progress toward the Goals, UNICEF is chiefly responsible for progress in 13.”

UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

“The UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. By controlling and reversing desertification, curbing the effects of drought and restoring productive lands, there is an opportunity to make a direct positive contribution to reducing poverty, improving people’s lives and meeting the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.”

UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)

“The overall objective of ESCAP is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific region, with priority accorded to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”

UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCA)

ESCWA “identifies emerging and strategic socio-economic development issues in the ESCWA region, including the social impacts of globalization, social dimensions of urban development, and the overall monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals in the region.”

UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)

“ECLAC has been working in supporting country policies and in improving monitoring systems to reach the Millennium Developing Goals.”

UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

“The ECA undertakes comprehensive secondary and empirical research to support policy making and programming for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development in Africa.”

UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

“UNECE contributes to the latter objective of economic cooperation and integration (MDG 8), in particular through its activities in trade facilitation and border-crossing, as well as pan-European and Euro-Asian transport links, which are directly related to the targets on international trade and landlocked countries as contained in MDG 8. Through its environmental programme and its gender-related activities, UNECE also contributes to the achievement of MDGs 3 and 7, respectively. The Protocol on Water and Health, linked to UNECE Water Convention, also helps achieve some targets of MDG 4.”

UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

“UNEP supports assessments of environmental conditions and trends including building the capacity of its many partners to generate the information necessary for sound environmental decision making to support sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Goals.”

UN Millennium Campaign

“The UN Millennium Campaign supports and inspires people from around the world to take action in support of the Millennium Development Goals.

UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

“The eight Millennium Development Goals are interconnected and interdependent. UNFPAs’ work on population issues, reproductive health and women’s empowerment affects each of them. For some of the goals, especially goals 3, 4, 5 and 6, the connections are very direct.”

UNWomen (UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women)

“All eight MDGs touch essential aspects of women’s well-being, and in turn, women’s empowerment is critical for achieving the goals. UN Women has engaged in advancing the MDGs through three entry points: operational programs, monitoring and analysis, and advocacy.”

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)

WEDO promotes and protects human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment.

World Health Organisation (WHO)

‘Working with partners to support national efforts to achieve all the health-related MDGs is core business for the WHO’

World Food Program

“Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life (…) On average, WFP aim to reach more than 90 million people with food assistance in more than 73 countries. Around 15,000 people work for the organization, most of them in remote areas, directly serving the hungry poor.”

Looking for More?

The UN integrated Civil Society Organizations (iCSO) System contains a database of more than 24,000 non-governmental organisations, many of whom promote human rights and the MDGs. “The advanced search allows many combinations, including by organization name and type, region and country, consultative status, language, geographic scope, fields of activity and meeting participation.”

The UNODC also keeps a comprehensive list of NGOs working in all fields.

The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations maintains a similar searchable database.

Below are selected additional reporting guides related to human development (remember that tips designed for one region of the world may also apply in others!):

Anything Else I Should Know?

Yes! You should know that many organisations around the world, including the International Press Institute (IPI), work every day to protect the rights of journalists and support the media’s role in holding governments and special interests accountable to the people and to development agreements.

Freedom-of-expression NGOs can be valuable sources of support and can advocate for you if you run into trouble.  The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) keeps a list of its members around the world here.

IPI Guide

Excerpted from Reporter’s Guide to the Millennium Development Goals: Covering Development Commitments for 2015 and BeyondAgreed to in 2000, the UN Millennium Goals comprise an ambitious agenda to improve quality of life around the world, focusing on such issues as poverty, gender equality, and education. This unique manual, available in four languages, offers journalists practical tips on covering these critical areas as we near the 15th anniversary of the goals. Twenty-one journalists across six continents contributed to the report, including several active in GIJN. We are grateful to the publisher, the International Press Institute, for permission to publish the series, and to the European Press Photo Agency and EFE Agency for permission to publish the accompanying photos.