The summer of 2007 marks the halfway point between the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs’) creation in 2000 and the deadlines in 2015. This survey was part of an awareness campaign in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Why was the survey conducted?
The goals were agreed by the entire world and the world’s leading development institutions. By raising awareness the project hope donor countries will live up to their pledges to deliver enough aid to achieve the eight MDGs which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.
“If we are to achieve our MDGs, citizens of all countries need to know that they exist,” says Jakob Simonsen from a UN agency.
The survey shows that many Nordic citizens do not know much about the MDGs, or the challenges developing countries are facing.
“With too negative a view of the world, there is a risk that taxpayers in donor countries will stop believing that they can make a difference. This can lead to a decrease in international development aid. The survey is a way to avoid the misconception that aid-receiving countries are not developing, and thereby, an attempt to maintain the political will in the Nordic countries to engage in international co-operation.” he continues.
What does the survey reveal?
However according to Jakob, he is happy to see that such a comparably high percentage of Vietnamese know about the MDGs.
In general, the Vietnamese respondents had a much more realistic picture of the realities and development challenges (being faced by some countries) than Nordic citizens.
“This could be due to the fact that campaigns in the Nordic countries have focused on immense problems and poverty, which might have created the myth that the situation is hopeless,” says Jakob.
“We want to burst that myth. It is in fact possible to increase human development and thereby the quality of life for the many people living in the developing world. Since the MDGs were agreed upon in 2000, we’ve seen a concrete and measurable commitment from governments and organisations.”
Nordic countries have chosen to conduct the survey in Viet Nam as Viet Nam is in the front lines globally when it comes to UN-reform.
“The country has already delivered extraordinary results in terms of progress towards its MDGs. In Nordic countries, we hope the survey will increase momentum in Viet Nam to reach its targets and keep the country on track,” says Jakob.
“Also, the eight goals highlight the responsibilities of developing and developed countries. Our decision to conduct the survey in both parts of the world underlines this interconnectivity: What affects us in the Nordics also affects the citizens of Viet Nam.” he explains.
“When we compare public understanding of the MDGs in Viet Nam with Nordic donor countries we bring the south and the north closer to each other. Hopefully, that will break down stereotypes and myths about how the world looks halfway towards 2015.”
“Living in a country that has had to face a difficult past and that has made immense progress, we thought it would be interesting to compare what the people of Viet Nam and the Nordic countries thought about the development goals. As it turns out, Vietnamese people have a much more realistic and positive perception of the world.” he concludes.
For more information about MDGs please visit http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/