PlanetsRotating_Marc Becher_Flickr Marc Becher/Flickr

Setting the Right Global Goals

There are now more than a thousand proposed targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire next year. But having a thousand priorities is like having none at all.

COPENHAGEN – The world has generally become a much better place during the last half-century. Skeptics will scoff at the idea of overall improvement, but the numbers don’t lie. The task we face now is to make the world even better.

In the year 1960, 20 million children under the age of five died. In 2011, far too many kids were still dying. But, though there were 40% more children, the number of deaths had declined by two-thirds, to 6.9 million.

In 1970, only 5% of infants were vaccinated against measles, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, and polio. By 2000 the proportion was 85%, saving about three million lives annually. Each year, these vaccines alone saved more people than world peace would have saved in the twentieth century.

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