The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that 189 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include reducing extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development.
They derive from earlier international development targets, and were officially established at the Millennium Summit in 2000, where all world leaders present adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, from which the eight goals were particularly promoted.
To accelerate progress towards the MDGs, the G-8 Finance Ministers met in London in June 2005 (in preparation for the G-8 Gleneagles Summit in July) and reached an agreement to provide enough funds to the World Bank, the IMF, and the African Development Bank (ADB) to cancel an additional $40-55 billion in debt owed by HIPC nations. This would allow impoverished countries to re-channel the resources saved from the forgiven debt to social programs for improving health and education and for alleviating poverty.
Backed by G-8 funding, the World Bank, the IMF, and the ADB each endorsed the Gleaneagles plan and implemented the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative ("MDRI") to effectuate the debt cancellations. The MDRI supplements HIPC by providing each country that reaches the HIPC completion point 100% forgiveness of its multilateral debt. Countries that previously reached the decision point became eligible for full debt forgiveness once their lending agency confirmed that the countries had continued to maintain the reforms implemented during HIPC . Other countries that subsequently reach the completion point automatically receive full forgiveness of their multilateral debt under MDRI.
While the World Bank and ADB limit MDRI to countries that complete the HIPC program, the IMF's MDRI eligibility criteria are slightly more expansive so as to comply with the IMF's unique "uniform treatment" requirement. Instead of limiting eligibility to HIPC countries, any country with annual per capita income of $380 or less qualifies for MDRI debt cancellation. The IMF adopted the $380 threshold because it closely approximates the countries eligible for HIPC.
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