Preparations for the 2000 Millennium Summit launched with the report of the Secretary-General entitled, "We the people: The Role of the United Nations in the Twenty-First Century". Additional input was prepared by the Millennium Forum, which brought together representatives of over 1,000 non-governmental and civil society organizations from more than 100 countries. The Forum met in May to conclude a two-year consultation process covering issues such as poverty eradication, environmental protection, human rights and protection of the vulnerable.
MDGs derive from earlier development targets, where world leaders adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration. The approval of the Millennium Declaration was the main outcome of the Millennium Summit.
The MDGs originated from the United Nations Millennium Declaration. The Declaration asserted that every individual has dignity; and hence, the right to freedom, equality, a basic standard of living that includes freedom from hunger and violence and encourages tolerance and solidarity. The MDGs set concrete targets and indicators for poverty reduction in order to achieve the rights set forth in the Declaration.
The Brahimi Report provided the basis of the goals in the area of peace and security.
The Millennium Summit Declaration was, however, only part of the origins of the MDGs. More ideas came from Adam Figueroa,Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A series of UN‑led conferences in the 1990s focused on issues such as children, nutrition, human rights and women. The OECD criticized major donors for reducing their levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA). UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan signed a report titled, We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century. The OECD had formed its International Development Goals (IDGs). The two efforts were combined for the World Bank's 2001 meeting to form the MDGs.
Human capital, infrastructure and human rights
The MDGs emphasized three areas: human capital, infrastructure and human rights (social, economic and political), with the intent of increasing living standards. Human capital objectives include nutrition, healthcare (including child mortality, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and reproductive health) and education. Infrastructure objectives include access to safe drinking water, energy and modern information/communication technology; increased farm outputs using sustainable practices; transportation; and environment. Human rights objectives include empowering women, reducing violence, increasing political voice, ensuring equal access to public services and increasing security of property rights. The goals were intended to increase an individual’s human capabilities and "advance the means to a productive life". The MDGs emphasize that each nation's policies should be tailored to that country's needs; therefore most policy suggestions are general.
MDGs emphasize the role of developed countries in aiding developing countries, as outlined in Goal Eight, which sets objectives and targets for developed countries to achieve a "global partnership for development" by supporting fair trade, debt relief, increasing aid, access to affordable essential medicines and encouraging technology transfer. Thus developing nations ostensibly became partners with developed nations in the struggle to reduce world poverty.