It’s been a year of conflict and challenge, but there is also reason for hope that a better world is possible. In fact, there are several reasons, and we want to share 11 of them.

Today marks the end date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). At the dawn of a new millennium in 2000, world leaders and the United Nations created eight goals to alleviate poverty and improve lives around the world by the end of 2015. Tomorrow the world launches the next set of goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals, which build on the MDGs and go further to not only end poverty, but promote opportunity for all by comprehensively addressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.

As we prepare for the future, it’s also important to look back and learn. Under the MDGs, we made incredible progress on many challenges, but we didn’t meet all of our goals, and we still have a lot of work to do to make sure no one is left behind.

The main lesson is clear though: When we come together and act with the UN, we can make a difference. Here are 11 highlights of global progress to inspire us to continue working as we head into a new era of sustainable development.

  1. Child deaths have been reduced by more than half since 1990. In that year, 12.7 million children under age 5 died, and this year the number is estimated to drop to less than 6 million. (Tweet this)
  2. Measles vaccination has saved more than 17 million lives from 2000-2014. (Tweet this)
  3. Since 1990, more than 1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty and the number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut by more than half. (Tweet this)
  4. From 2001-2015, an estimated 6.2 million malaria deaths were prevented. (Tweet this)
  5. The number of out-of-school children of primary school age has almost been cut in half since 2000, from 100 million children in 2000 to an estimated 57 million children today.
  6. Maternal deaths have declined by 43% since 1990. (Tweet this)
  7. New HIV infections decreased by approximately 35% since 2000. (Tweet this)
  8. An estimated 43 million lives were saved through tuberculosis prevention, treatment, and diagnosis solutions from 2000-2014.
  9. Since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to an improved source of drinking water. (Tweet this)
  10. The number of hungry people in the world has dropped to 795 million – 216 million fewer than in 1990-92. (Tweet this)
  11. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of girls for every 100 boys has risen from 92 to 97 in primary education and from 91 to 97 in secondary education.