End Poverty SDG 1

UN Approves Global Goals to End Poverty in 15 Years

As it has now become the norm, at the end of the every 15 years, the global community, under the cloak of the United Nations, comes together and formulates another ‘to-do list’ that should span over the next one and a half decades.

The script wasn’t any different this time around when on September 2015 the international community converged and approved a global agenda consisting of a series of 17 goals to be achieved before 2030.

The agenda, dubbed as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) takes over from the almost expired Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were drafted at the turn of the century.

An ambitious initiative

At the top of the 15-year blueprint, that some critics have lauded as overambitious and exorbitantly costly, is the initiative to ‘end global poverty in all its forms’ ( sic) and combat emerging issues such climate change.
UNS ustainable Development Goals
The sustainable development goals come at a time when the world is sinking in a myriad of 21-st century problems such as environmental degradation, extreme poverty, famine, disease, etc. In particular, the goal to eradicate poverty comes at a time when the gap between the rich and poor, the wealth and the despicable has never been greater.

UN Global Pulse MDG SDG

Quid and UN Global Pulse to Analyse the Media Data for SDGs

The end of 2015 ushers in a variety of mixed offerings. And sitting on the top of this list is the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For those who are not aware, the Millennium Development Goals, which were proposed in the late 90s, are coming to a close at the end of 2015. So, in short, the Sustainable Development Goals represent the new framework taking over from the outgoing MDGs.

At the helm of this ambitious and revolutionary project is Quid – an internationally recognised data generation and analyzing enterprise – that is assisting the UN in implementing the SDGs. It has availed its resources and a platform for the UN’s data scientists to visualise how best these goals can be achieved over the next 15 years.

This was after a partnership between Global Pulse (UN’s wing involved with the visualisation of the SDGs) and the information mapping platform was effected in September 2015.
Quid Global Pulse

The goals’ general framework

The SDGs, which comprises of 17 goals and over 169 targets, are at the most basic level, globally set targets and standards that UN member states are expected to use a benchmark when designing their individual national agendas and policies. And like the MDGs, the SDGs are expected to run for the next 15 years – until 2030.

MDG progress of Arab States in 2015

The Arab region has made remarkable progress towards some Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), though there are notable differences in achievement in the region.

Generally, the Arab states, which include the Mashreq and Maghreb countries, countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), and the least developed countries (LDCs), have made good progress towards some MDGs. For instance, primary school enrolment and literacy have improved, and many states are closing in on gender parity in enrolment in all levels of education – primary, secondary, and tertiary.

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…)

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…)

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.”

SDG 17 – Sustainable development through global partnerships

Leaders across the world have a monumental opportunity to reduce inequality, end poverty, protect the environment and promote justice and peace in implementing Sustainable Development Goals.

Unmatched in their ambition and scope, the SDGs are poised to test the determination of the global community over the following fifteen years in regards to the global endeavor to improve livelihoods for all. Any success or even failure will largely depend on SDG number 17, which aims to revitalise the universal partnerships for development.

Introducing SDG 17 on global partnership

One important aspect of SDG 17 is that it binds the other goals together. For one, it is quite content heavy as compared to other goals and subdivided into five crucial components; finance, capacity building, systemic issues, technology, and trade.

SDG 16 – Promote Peace, Justice and Inclusive Societies

Debate on post-2015 sustainable development has so far agreed consistently that a new development guideline should advance not only poverty reduction and sustainability but also justice, good governance, and peaceful societies.

Even though most states are backing the agenda for ensuring sustainable peace in the world, the framing and inclusion of this SDG on peaceful societies remains a bit sensitive for certain member states. Achieving honest buy-in into this peace agenda for these states will be crucial to the adoption, implementation and monitoring of SDG 16 over the following 15 years.

Importance of peace in SDG 16

We simply cannot achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication without first tackling insecurity and conflict. There is an increasingly large gap with regards to MDG performance when comparing developed countries with other states being affected by elevated violence levels and unrest. Strikingly, the seven nations that are not likely going to meet even one MDG as 2015 draws to an end have suffered high violence levels in the last couple of years.