UNITED NATIONS : Thirteen years after the world set the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), countries have made big strides to meet the eight anti-poverty targets by their 2015 deadline, says a new UN report, which stresses that the unmet goals are still within reach, but nations need to step up their efforts to achieve them.

“In more than a decade of experience in working towards the MDGs, we have learned that focused global development efforts can make a difference,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in the report’s foreword, in which he urges for accelerated action to close development gaps. “Now is the time to step up our efforts to build a more just, secure and sustainable future for all.” Agreed upon by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, the MDGs set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education and gender equality.