Goal 1 - Eradicate Poverty and Hunger

MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Goal 1 - Eradicate PovertyRecent gains in millennium development goal 1 have seen the number of hungry people in the world decrease to fewer than 1 billion, though the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations believes that this number is still unacceptably high.

Millennium Development Goal 1 has three targets:

  1. To halve the proportion of people whose daily income is less than $1.25
  2. To achieve full and productive employment, as well as decent work for all, including young people and women
  3. To halve the proportion of individuals suffering from hunger in the period between 1990 and 2015.

Pioneering efforts have led to profound achievements including:

  • A considerable reduction in extreme poverty over the last 25 years. In 1990, nearly 50 percent of the population in developing nations lived on less than $1.25 a day. As of 2015, that proportion has dropped to 14 percent.
  • The number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide has reduced by more than 50 percent. In 1990, 1.9 billion people were said to be living in extreme poverty, compared to 836 million in 2015. Most progress was seen in the new millennium.
  • The number of living on more than $4 a day – those in the working middle class – has nearly tripled between 1991 and 2015. In 1991, this group made only 18 percent of the population, and rose to 50 percent in 2015.
  • The proportion of undernourished people in the developing world has dropped by almost 50 percent since 1990; from 23.3 percent in 1990 – ’92 to 12.9 percent in 2014 – ’16.

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WTO Reaches Deal on Export Subsidy Elimination - EU Supports

WTO Reaches Deal on Export Subsidy Elimination – EU Supports

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) on December 19, 2015 agreed on a vital deal to get rid of dissuading agricultural export subsidies between developing and developed countries across the world.

This happened at the 10th Ministerial Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya since Tuesday, 15th, and the EU has come out to espouse the pact describing it as a “a landmark deal that is good for fairer global trade and good for development”

According to the release, both developing and developed nations will for the first time be competing in a level agricultural export platform, gratifying a “key priority for EU negotiators”. (more…)

climate change accord reached by leaders in paris, france 2015

Climate Change Accord Reached at the Paris COP21

It took them little under two weeks of drawn out discussions and debates, but finally on Saturday evening leaders and diplomats at the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris, France came to an agreement on the much-anticipated global climate change accord.

The final draft of the agreement was presented by French President Francois Hollande to delegates on Saturday morning, while thousands of impatient protestors flooded the streets of Paris in bid to see the already delayed pact wrapped up.

In a year that the UN has laid a number of targets that would prove to be milestones if realised, the accord marks the first time developed and developing countries come together to jointly combat and adapt to the recent alarming climate change across the globe.

What’s the Climate Change Accord All About?

Inside the 31-page final agreement are two very important sections:

  1. A commitment to maintain global warming at “well below” two degrees Celsius.
  2. A bargain to protect low-lying nations against the slowly rising sea level by working to further reduce global warming to as low as 1.5 degrees Celsius.

That’s what the better part of the two-week debate has been all about: the two targets and, particularly, what should be done to achieve them.

One of the viable ways out of the warming crisis, as the Paris text states, is to increase “emission reduction efforts”. A promising number of nations have already submitted their pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions, which is a good sign, the UN notes, but that will only alleviate warming to 2.7 degrees, which according to experts, is still way above the “safe” maximum. The text calls for the “widest possible cooperation by all countries as climate change “represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet.”

That said, not everyone is 100% optimistic that the accord will bring about the climate change relief the world has been desperately hunting for. Not even after seeing numerous global talks over the subject in the past few decades come to sudden standstills. Some advocates who’ve voiced their doubts over the feasibility of the accord seem to be particularly dissatisfied with the lack of a well-defined parameter for measuring and verifying countries’ emission reductions. Also, the lack of a timeframe to eradicate the extraction and use of fossil fuels is a good reason the accord receives blemished support.

A Foundation For Progress

In an interview with huffingtonpost.com, though, one Mr. Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, thinks it’s too soon to start with the criticism. “This is a broad foundation for meaningful progress,” he said. “Anyone who suggests this is a success or a failure is only speaking based on ideology, not reality. Only 10 to 20 years from now, when we look at the implementation of all this, will we really know.”

How Far Has The UN Come in Terms of Global Health

How Far Has The UN Come in Terms of Global Health

The United Nations, through the WHO, on December 8, 2015 released a publication of its progress and achievements in its health agenda since the formulation of the MDGs.

The publication, dubbed “Health in 2015: from MDGs to SDGs”’ gives a statistical outline and analysis of the UN’s course over the 15 years of the Millennium Agenda and gives an insight of what the new SDG on health is all about and similarities and differences with its correspondent MDG. Basically, it gives data on key health issues such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis and noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease with respect to MDGs and SDGs.

How Healthy Is the World Now?

During a press briefing, WHO’s director of information evidence, Ties Boerma, tagged 2015 a “special year” to the UN and the entire global community as it marks the transition from MDGs, which were formulated with all focus on the developing nations, to the SDGs, which are “for all countries, not just developing countries, and for all people of all ages.”

He noted the UN’s great progress in the fight against the deadly HIV/AIDS, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa, and a staggering 53% reduction in child mortality since formulation of the MDGs, and thanked the international community for its “unending” support.

The publication, as cited by Boerma, puts the success in health down to a number of factors: firstly, a funding trend, which was on a swift rise during the first few years of the program before reaching and stagnating at a satisfactory $35 billion. Secondly, combined effort among different programs such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund to combat Malaria Tuberculosis and AIDS. Lastly, new preventive and curative medicines as well as treatment methods.

Developing Nations’ Health Neglected?

As highlighted by the report, developing nations, which were the main targets for the health MDG are still lagging behind the rest thanks to retarded technological advancements in these countries and a generally unconducive environment for the execution of some targets.

And that’s where SDG 3 on health comes in. The report notes that the UN’s plan over the next 15 years is to use this goal, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, to ensure there is equitable improvement on health across all nations, regardless of their statuses.

“Failure to complete the Doha Round,” suggests the report, “and the increase in mega-regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and European Union–United States agreements, could strengthen intellectual property protection in ways that could undermine access to medical products.”

Zuckerberg and Chan Holding Their Newborn

Zuckerberg Pledges $45 Billion to Charitable Causes

On December 1 2015, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg committed to donating 99% (equal to around $45 billion) of his Facebook shares to charitable causes.

The news was made public by the man himself and his wife Priscilla Chan in an open letter to their newborn daughter Max Chan Zuckerberg expressing their wish to see Max and other children of her generation “grow up in a world better than ours”.

Ever since, the news has made headlines, and yes, in the most deserved way, keeping in mind this is the world’s eighth-richest man bestowing almost his entire fortune to charity.

And of course this is not the first time Zuckerberg and Chan are making a donation. Over the past decade, the couple has given out more than $1.6 billion to various humanitarian projects across the world, including $25 million to CDC to end the Ebola crisis, $120 million to support education in the Bay Area, and $100 million to the Newark Public School System, driving the just cause of MDGs and SDGs forward. (more…)

Business Has a Role to Play in Sustainable Development

Business Has a Role to Play in Sustainable Development

Earlier this year at the Aspen Institute’s Action Forum, Anand Giridharada held a talk about the looming Sustainable Development agenda, and discussed it from a very atypical angle. He maintained that instigating the numerous targets attached to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is not the solitary way to the conducive living atmosphere we are hunting for. The UN is telling us the opposite, but according to Anand, preventing what causes poverty, for instance, would be more rational than combating an already established crisis.

Looking at the direction the once-auspicious MDGs took, you would almost concur that facing the SDGs in the premeditated way is nothing but another well-fashioned reverie. (more…)

MDG-progress-of-Romania

Fact sheet on current MDG progress of Romania (Europe and the CIS)

Romania underwent radical economic reforms in the 1990s that finally unlocked the process of growth, while firmly preparing the state for full European Union (EU) membership in 2007. This marked the fall of the totalitarian communist regime, setting the scene for stable and sustainable development for years to come.

This south-eastern country in the European region has attained and made irreversible progress on the millennium development goals, reinforced largely by the experience of EU accession and the programmatic and fiscal instruments made available to Romania via this political, social, and economic convergence. In the period between 2000 and 2008, Romania’s GDP grew from $40 billion to $204 billion (the highest ever). Since then, it has been fluctuating with a low of $164 billion in 2009 and a high of $199 billion.

MDG progress of Romania

According to the most recent report of MDG progress of Romania, the strategic objective of European integration has contributed considerably to the country’s attainment of most of the MDG targets. Furthermore, the element of modernisation instilled by the EU accession progress has allowed the country to move forward and assume targets that bear a higher value added for its own citizens. (more…)

MDG-progress-of-Belize

Fact sheet on current MDG progress of Belize (Latin America and the Caribbean)

The Millennium Development Goals provided Belize with a basis on which to track and measure its development progress. The country’s strategies have been clear, deliberate, and consistent, resulting in considerable advancement towards most of the MDG goals compared to the rest of the region.

MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – off target

None of the targets under MDG1 were achieved, since instead of trending downwards, poverty and indigence increased from 2002.

Between 2002 and 2009, the proportion of Belize population below $1.25 per day increased from 33.5 to 41.3 percent (15.8 percent of whom are classified as extremely poor). The target for halving the poverty gap ratio was also not achieved, and only negligible change was recorded within the same period, from 10.9 in 2002 to 10.8 in 2009.

The growth of GDP per worker has trended downward since 2000, and was at 3.12 percent at the end of 2007. However, the downward trend changed and increased to 4.7 percent in 2012 following increased efficiency in the use of labour coupled with a shift in the type of productive activities in the economy after Belize became a petroleum exporter in 2005. (more…)

MDG-progress-of-Tonga

Fact sheet on current MDG progress of Tonga (Asia Pacific)

Tonga joined the UN in 1999, and signed up for the MDGs in 2000 together with another 188 nations. Tonga comprises 172 islands with a land area of 747 square kilometres, and a total land/ocean surface area of around 720,000 square kilometres. The country has a population of 103,252 according to the 2011 census, with 73 percent living in the largest island, Tongatapu. 34 percent of this lives in the capital, Nuku’alofa, as well as the peri-urban areas. The other four major island groups that are inhabited are: Vava’u at 15 percent; Ha’apai at 7 percent’ ‘Eua at 5 percent; and Niuas at 1 percent.

Since the inception of the MDGs, the kingdom of Tonga has completed three assessment reports, with the final one being released in September 2015. The following is a look at the targets and achievements of Tonga in regard to the millennium development goals:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

This is the biggest challenge for many Pacific island countries, where progress is constrained by low economic growth and a lack of job opportunities. The global financial crisis further retarded progress, while income inequalities persist across all countries – especially urban and rural areas. (more…)