One of the objectives of UNESCO's Decade of Education for Sustainable Development is to provide space and opportunity for refining and promoting the vision of sustainable development through all forms of learning and public awareness. This means that the journey towards SD involves everyone at every stage of life. It therefore takes place within a perspective of lifelong learning, engaging all possible spaces of learning formal, non-formal and informal, from early childhood to adult life. This learning does not necessarily take place in educational institutions but also in non-formal settings, within community-based organisations and local civil society, the workplace and so on. While the Decade focuses on education and life-long learning for individuals, communities and professional groups, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concern with national development and policies and programmes concerning that. MDGs are the world's time-bound and quantified targets for eradicating poverty from the face of the earth. They commit the international community to an expanded vision of development, one that vigorously promotes human development as the key to sustaining social and economic progress in all countries, and recognizes the importance of creating a global partnership for development. The goals have been commonly accepted as a framework for measuring development progress.Many of the targets of the MDGs were first set out by international conferences and summits held in the 1990s. They were later compiled and became known as the International Development Goals. In September 2000, 147 heads of State and Government, and 189 nations in total, unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration. The Declaration calls for halving by the year 2015, the number of people who live on less than one dollar a day. This effort also involves finding solutions to hunger, malnutrition and disease, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, guaranteeing a basic education for everyone, and supporting the Agenda 21 principles of sustainable development. Direct support from the richer countries, in the form of aid, trade, debt relief and investment is to be provided to help the developing countries.Against each MDG, there are quantitative targets and indicators for poverty reduction and improvements in health, education, gender equality, environmental and other aspects of human welfare. A framework of 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators will help measure progress towards achieving the MDGs. An overview of this is presented in the table below.

No. Goals Targets
Goal 1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Target 1: Halve, between 1990 and
2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day

Target 2: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
Goal 2 Achieve universal primary education Target 3: Ensure that, by 2015,
children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
Goal 3 Promote gender equality and empower women Target 4: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005 and in all levels of education no later than 2015
Goal 4 Reduce child mortality Target 5: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
Goal 5 Improve maternal health Target 6: Reduce by three-quarters,
between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
Goal 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases Target 7: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
Target 8: Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
Goal 7 Ensure environmental sustainability Target 9: Integrate the principles of
sustainable development into country policies and program and reverse the loss of environmental resources
Target 10: Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
Target 11: Have achieved, by 2020, a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers
Goal 8 Build a global partnership for development Target 12: Develop further an open,
rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system (includes a commitment to good governance, development, and poverty reduction both nationally and internationally)
Target 13: Address the special needs of the least developed countries (includes tariff-and quota-free access for exports enhanced program of debt relief for HIPC and cancellation of official bilateral debt, and more generous ODA for countries committed to poverty reduction)
Target 14: Address the special needs of landlocked countries and small island developing states (through the Program of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and 22nd General Assembly provisions)
Target 15: Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term
Target 16: In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth
Target 17: In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries
Target 18: In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications
  Most of these above-mentioned targets are to be achieved 2015. The goals establish yardsticks for measuring results, not just for developing countries but for rich countries that help to fund development programs and for the multilateral institutions that help countries implement them. The first seven goals are mutually reinforcing and are directed at reducing poverty in all its forms. The last goal - global partnership for development - is about the means to achieve the first seven. Many of the poorest countries will need additional assistance and must look to the rich countries to provide it. Countries that are poor and heavily indebted will need further help in reducing their debt burdens. And all countries will benefit if trade barriers are lowered, allowing a freer exchange of goods and services.