It is critical that the natural resources base and ecosystems are managed sustainably to ensure that people’s food requirements and other social, economic, and environmental needs are sufficiently met. Climate change, conflicts over access to resources, and increased water scarcity all pose a threat to not only environmental sustainability but also food security.
As such, millennium development goal 7 has 4 targets:
- To integrate the principles of sustainable development into every nation’s policies and programmes, and also reverse the depletion of environmental resources
- To reduce biodiversity loss and achieve a substantial reduction in the rate of loss by 2010
- To halve the proportion of the universal population without sustainable access to clean and safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.
- To achieve substantial improvement in the lives of a minimum of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
An estimated 30 percent of total land area on the planet is forested. An estimated 1.6 billion people depend on forests directly for their livelihoods, plus they provide other benefits enjoyed by all, including clean air and water. Forests also provide a habitat for millions of plants and animals, as well as catchment for 75 percent of the world’s fresh water. They help in the adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, though they are under threat from deforestation.
Hunger and poverty tend to compel the disadvantaged to over-exploit resources on which their livelihoods depend. Policies, institutions, and strategies for protecting, conserving, and enhancing natural resources should be strengthened to deliver an enabling environment, and be based on the specific resource challenged faced in a given location.
Some of the achievements of MDG 7 include:
- The virtual elimination of ozone-depleting substances since 1990. Consequently, the ozone layer is expected to recover by around the middle of the century
- Substantial increase in marine and terrestrial protected areas in many areas since 1990. In Caribbean and Latin America, coverage of terrestrial protected areas increased from 8.8 percent in 1990 to 23.4 percent in 2014.
- The number of people using improved drinking water sources has increased from 76 percent in 1990 to 91 percent in 2015.
- 2.6 billion people have gained access to better drinking water since 1990. Of these, 1.9 billion have access to piped drinking water on premises, with 58 percent of the global population enjoying this level of service in 2015.
- 147 nations in the world have fulfilled the drinking water target; 95 nations have achieved the sanitation target; and 77 nations have met both.
- 2.1 billion people in the universe have gained access to improved sanitation. At the same time, the proportion of people practising open defecation has reduced by nearly 50 percent since 1990.
- A reduction in the proportion of urban population in developing nations living in slums from 39.4 to 29.7 percent in the period between 2000 and 2014.