The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were endorsed unanimously by all 189 UN member states and emerged as one of the central pillars of the global fight against poverty. However, the changes the MDGs brought about have been mixed at best. Though there are some notable successes, the MDGs have failed to bring about a substantial shift towards tackling global poverty and have had only a weak impact on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Several reasons are put forward for this failure: the continuing lack of political concern with poverty; the lack of a social movement behind the MDGs; and the lack of a well formed epistemic community for the MDGs to tie into. However, this paper argues that it would be wrong to dismiss the MDGs as a complete failure. The MDG project should instead be seen in a long term context as having played a role in changing international values and contributed to the emergence of an international norm that sees poverty in an affluent world as being morally unacceptable.