The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a potentially powerful tool for progress on development and human rights. Women’s human rights activists should recognise and build on the political will mobilised around the MDGs. However, the MDGs reflect problems in the dominant development approach. They seek to use women in their existing social roles to ‘deliver’ other aims, and do not address the need to eradicate gender inequality, resulting in lack of commitment to address key issues for women, including gender-based violence. There are further problems with the MDGs’ indicators, analytical approach, and accountability mechanisms. The MDGs should be reframed as human rights obligations. To this end, links should be fostered between the 2005 reviews of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and progress on the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs.
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