The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent an unprecedented effort on the part of the world community to better the lives of hungry and poor people across the globe. As the 2015 target date approaches, many developing countries have already made extraordinary progress, improving the lives of millions of people. But not all countries or regions of the world are on track to meet the MDGs. Developing nations face many barriers to achieving the MDGs, some unique and country-specific, others broadly shared. Common problems faced by developing countries can be grouped into four areas: poor starting conditions; weak governance and institutions; conflict and instability; and environmental degradation. To meet the MDGs and create a sustainable path to development, countries must adopt policies and programs to overcome these problems. Developed countries have a role to play in overcoming these barriers as well. Aid donors, particularly the United States, must ensure that development assistance is flexible enough to help countries address these challenges and meet the MDGs.