The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the most prominent initiative on the global development agenda and have a great deal in common with human rights commitments. But neither the human rights nor development communities has embraced this linkage with enthusiasm or conviction. This article explores the reasons why the two agendas resemble ships passing in the night, even though they are both headed for very similar destinations. The empirical evidence examined includes analyses prepared by a range of human rights NGOs, the MDG National Plans adopted by many developing countries, and the relevant analyses undertaken by UN human rights treaty bodies and special rapporteurs. The author calls upon the human rights community to engage more effectively with the development agenda, to prioritize its concerns rather than assuming that every issue needs to be tackled simultaneously, and to avoid being overly prescriptive.