Summary: The millennium declaration ratified in 2000 by the 189 member states of the United Nations, committed rich and developing countries to work in partnership to achieve a set of critical development outcomes. Those commitments are embodied in the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015, supported by 18 quantified targets and 60 indicators measuring progress since 1990. Progress has been uneven and many countries will not reach the targets set for 2015, but others have met or exceeded the targets, improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Standards of living vary substantially across the globe. Comparing income or consumption or poverty levels among countries requires a common unit of measurement. Exchange rates reflect the relative value of currencies as traded in the market. Purchasing power parities take into account differences in price levels. Both have important roles in measuring the size of economies. To measure differences in welfare, comparisons of income among economies should take into account differences in domestic price levels. Economic growth reduces poverty. As a result, fast-growing developing countries are closing the income gap with high-income economies. But growth must be sustained over the long term and the gains from economic growth must be shared to make lasting improvements in the wellbeing of all people. In addition to inequality of incomes, inequality of opportunities is a challenge facing most developing countries.
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