Skip to main content

The UN, Google and Cisco Unveil Online Resource in the Fight to Decrease Global Poverty

The United Nations, Google and Cisco today unveiled a pioneering online site that tracks progress towards decreasing global poverty by 2015, a global campaign known as the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the project, called MDG Monitor, and highlighted the urgent need to increase global cooperation. The site is available here. (opens in new tab)

"Achieving the Goals is a truly global task, requiring Governments, international organizations, private companies and civil society to work together," said the Secretary-General. "I thank Google and Cisco for helping us create the MDG Monitor -- an example of the kind of innovative partnerships we need."

The Secretary-General was joined by UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervi, Cisco Senior Vice President Carlos Dominguez, and Google Chief Technologist for Google Earth and Maps, Michael T. Jones in launching the project, a groundbreaking innovation in charting development progress.

MDG Monitor tracks progress toward the MDGs in a number of categories in nearly every country in the world. The site presents the most current data from multiple sources in development bellwethers like public health, education and women’s empowerment. By laying out areas of progress and continuing challenge for the world to see, MDG Monitor aspires to keep the global community’s eye firmly fixed on the Millennium Goals, and to provide vital information for policy makers and development practitioners worldwide.

On one portion of the site, MDG Monitor allows a Web surfer to use Google Earth to fly anywhere on the planet and explore from above, in three dimensions, the places where work is being done to realize the MDGs. With a few simple clicks, users can access country assessments and data collected by the UN worldwide. MDG Monitor enables more than 300 million Google Earth users to better understand the MDGs and what it will take to achieve them. This information will soon appear as a Global Awareness layer in Google Earth, and is currently available for download on the MDG Monitor website

"We at Google are honoured to join the UNDP in making this valuable data more accessible to the public," said Michael T. Jones of Google. "It is our hope that the Millennium Development Goals and issues of human development will become more openly and frequently discussed, and we believe Google Earth and its users around the world can play an important role in making that happen."

Cisco, whose approach to corporate citizenship includes applying its business and technological expertise to social issues, provided expert consultancy as well as technical and financial support for MDG Monitor’s development. Many of Cisco’s corporate social responsibility initiatives are aligned with the MDGs, such as achieving universal primary education through its Global Education Initiatives.

"Cisco believes that the power of technology, along with human ingenuity in deploying it, can effectively address global socio-economic issues and lead to sustainable change. We also understand the critical importance of working in partnership with others to help make the Millennium Development Goals a reality. Cisco is proud to be a part of this worthy effort and firmly believes the MDG Monitor can effectively guide expertise and resources to those in need while highlighting the successes of others in reaching these important goals," said Carlos Dominguez, Senior Vice President of Cisco.

Bontron & Co also chipped in, producing MDG Monitor’s logo on a pro-bono basis.

The MDGs, agreed by world leaders from 189 countries in New York in 2000, call for quantified, time-bound progress in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development. UNDP, in its designated role as MDG scorekeeper, initiated MDG Monitor as an innovative means of keeping track of progress and raising awareness at the same time.

Although almost eight years have passed since the MDGs were first introduced, today just short of one billion people live on less than one dollar a day, every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday, and in deeply impoverished nations less than half of the children are in primary school and fewer than 20 percent go to secondary school.

"By making the world’s successes and challenges in human development just a mouse click away, MDG Monitor hopes to rally new resources and help build momentum for achieving a more equitable and sustainable world for all." said Mr. Dervi.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.