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Recently, in late 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 17-goal Sustainable Development Agenda for eradicating poverty, protecting the planet and advancing prosperity by 2030 ( The new sustainable development agenda builds on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which helped more than 700 million people escape poverty. The eight MDGs, adopted in 2000, aimed at an array of issues that included slashing poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality, and access to water and sanitation by 2015.

The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the broader sustainability agenda, go much further, addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people. For the full document, see The new agenda is people-centered, universal, transformative and integrated. It calls for action by all countries for all people over the next 15 years in five areas of critical importance: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. The agenda recognizes that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with a plan that builds economic growth and addresses a range of social needs, while tackling climate change. The implementation of the SDGs should provide important opportunities for MDP students and alumni from and in all countries—with government institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

The University of Florida MDP program is part of the Global MDP Association, which consists of 36 MDP programs in 25 countries around the world. Initiated with the generous support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the MDP degree is focused on training development practitioners who are able to address development challenges in innovative ways. The UF MDP bridges the Natural, Social and Health sciences and Management skills.

Read more about the program in the UF MDP Brochure.

MDP Program Framework

Our program strength lies in our core and affiliate faculty, who have, over the last 30 years, developed a niche working with communities in Africa, Latin America and other regions using grassroots participatory approaches to development and research.

The MDP program is administered jointly between the Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida, and is also closely linked with University of Florida’s internationally recognized Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) program.