At the turn of the millennium, the world embraced an unprecedented shared commitment to improve the lives of the world’s poorest – by dramatically reducing hunger, maternal and child mortality, and extreme poverty. At the United Nations, all 189 member countries signed on to the Millennium Development Goals, which provided not only a vision of a better world but also a 15-year roadmap with specific targets and timelines.
I worked at the UN at the time and recall the scepticism that greeted this bold agenda. The sceptics have largely been proved wrong, however. As a leader of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s policy and advocacy team since 2007, I have witnessed how successful such targeted efforts can be and how shared commitments can galvanize international resolve.