experience progress and others are left behind. Although poverty rates have been declining for developing countries as a whole, significant fractions of young people still live in poverty. Trends in poverty rates vary across regions, with big declines in Asia but an increase in poverty in Africa. In the panel’s view, the successful achievement by 2015 of many of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals will require that policy makers center their attention on adolescents (see Box 1-1).

Critics of globalization argue that it has been associated with growing income inequality and social polarization, as some local participants in global change improve their economic situation while the livelihoods of others remain largely unchanged or decline (see, for example, Milanovic, 2003; United Nations, 2004; Wade, 2004). Over time the situation of those left behind may actually deteriorate, as their skills and assets become less

BOX 1-1
Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals are a set of time-bound and measurable goals and targets designed to address the world’s most compelling human development problems. Adopted by world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, they are now at the heart of the global development agenda. By adopting the United Nations Millennium Declaration, the international community pledged itself to eight development targets by 2015:

  • Halve extreme poverty and hunger

  • Achieve universal primary education

  • Empower women and promote equality between women and men

  • Reduce under-five mortality by two-thirds

  • Reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters

  • Reverse the spread of diseases, especially HIV/AIDS and malaria

  • Ensure environmental sustainability

  • Create a global partnership for development, with targets for aid, trade, and debt relief

Although for the most part not explicitly addressed, implicit in many of the Millennium Development Goals is the need for greater attention to services for young people. For example, greater investments in education and health, particularly for girls, is essential for reducing poverty, lowering infant and child mortality, and achieving greater lifelong gender equality. Similarly for a variety of reasons, slashing maternal mortality by three-quarters and reversing the spread of diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, will necessarily require far greater attention be paid to reproductive health services for young people. Finally, creating a global partnership for development will go a long way toward sustaining a healthy growth in job opportunities for young people.

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