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updates on sdg goal 15 in mauritiusMauritius is an island nation of 1.3 million people situated in the Indian Ocean about 700 miles to the east of Madagascar. The island is home to incredibly unique and rare species found nowhere else on the planet, although many have gone extinct in recent decades. One of Earth’s most famous extinct species, the dodo, was a flightless bird endemic to Mauritius. Unfortunately, updates on SDG Goal 15 in Mauritius reveal ongoing problems for biodiversity in the country.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15, Life on Land, tracks each nation’s attempt to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.” For this goal, Mauritius has the dire U.N. classification of “major challenges remain.” Still, valiant organizations are striving to protect the stunning species and ecosystems found in Mauritius. Here are four updates on SDG Goal 15 in Mauritius.

4 Updates on SDG Goal 15 in Mauritius

  1. The mean area protected in terrestrial sites is important to biodiversity. This statistic is particularly important in Mauritius’s case due to the array of endemic species found on the island. The average area protected for these crucial sites is just over 9%. However, limited protection poses major challenges for protecting biodiversity and preventing native species from going extinct. Despite the efforts of groups like the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, the average protected area has risen by less than 1% since 2000. The fascinating species found within these habitats, like the extraordinary Mauritian flying fox, contribute to the beauty and wonder of the natural world. This may disappear if protected areas do not grow.
  2. Mauritius’ score on the Red List of species survival is getting worse. The Red List measures “the change in aggregate extinction risk across groups of species” with zero being the worst rating and one being the best. Mauritius comes in at 0.39 with its score decreasing steadily each year. Unfortunately, more and more species in Mauritius go extinct every year. There are, however, some success stories. For example, the Saint Telfair’s skink is an abnormally large species of skink (a type of lizard) only found on islands off the coast of Mauritius. The skink used to be dangerously near-extinct, with just 5,000 individuals. But the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust‘s careful recovery efforts have raised the population to 50,000 individuals. Thus, NGOs are fighting to save species from extinction in Mauritius.
  3. Mauritius struggles with the effects of permanent deforestation. This phenomenon occurs when people cut down trees for urbanization or agriculture with no plan to re-plant them. Updates on SDG Goal 15 in Mauritius are the most positive for this statistic. However, challenges remain, as less than 2% of Mauritius’ original forest coverage survives. According to Douglas Adams in “Last Chance to See,” “[v]ast swathes of the Mauritius forest have been destroyed to provide space to grow a cash crop [sugar] which in turn destroys our teeth.” Thankfully, NGOs like Fondation Ressources et Nature are carrying out reforestation projects in Mauritian biodiversity hotspots. The One Million Trees Project also aims to plant one million trees in Mauritius by 2030.
  4. Imports threaten terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity in Mauritius. There is only one nation (Guyana) in the entire world that has a worse ranking than Mauritius in this category. Industrialized nations like the U.S., Canada, Japan and many E.U. countries also struggle with this goal. However, none come close to Mauritius’s ranking. Furthermore, imports that threaten biodiversity in Mauritius only compound the rest of the island’s ecological problems.

Moving Forward

Overall, the forecast for life on land and in Mauritius is grim. Biodiversity hotspots are severely threatened, leading to more species going extinct each year. Additionally, permanent deforestation decimates habitats, and Mauritians’ dependence on imports ravages native species. The country needs to make a concerted effort to save its amazing organisms and environments found nowhere else on Earth. Organizations like the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation are already doing this work, and they could use more international support if Mauritius is to progress on SDG Goal 15.

Spencer Jacobs
Photo: Needpix

SDG 1 in the United Republic of TanzaniaAs of July 1, 2020, the World Bank reclassified the United Republic of Tanzania from a “low-income” nation to a “lower-middle-income” nation. This new status results from a variety of indicators that inform the nation’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, such as economic growth, exchange rates and more. While GNI per capita is not a direct measurement of poverty reduction, it does indicate that Tanzania’s economy is progressing in the right direction to meet the U.N.’s first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to eradicate poverty globally by 2030. Updates on SDG Goal 1 in the United Republic of Tanzania make it clear that while the country has not met the goal yet, it has overseen a significant reduction in extreme poverty in the last few decades. Here are some updates on SDG Goal 1 in the United Republic of Tanzania.

Updates on SDG Goal 1 in the United Republic of Tanzania

The World Bank’s 2019 Mainland Poverty Assessment found that extreme poverty in the United Republic of Tanzania fell from 11.7% in 2007 to 8.0% in 2018. This significant improvement comes with the finding that the severity of poverty has also declined during this period, meaning that Tanzanians living under the poverty line have become less poor on average.

However, while a smaller proportion of the Tanzanian population lives in extreme poverty today, many remain vulnerable. For every four people who can move out of poverty in Tanzania, three individuals fall into poverty. This demonstrates the constant financial instability that many non-poor Tanzanians face. It also illustrates the importance of effective social welfare programs in reducing vulnerability.

The Importance of Investing in the Rural Economy

One of the initiatives that has contributed to these updates on SDG Goal 1 in the United Republic of Tanzania is a project funded by the African Development Bank. The program, which rolled out in stages between 2012 and 2017, developed market infrastructure and improved the financial security of rural Tanzanians. Its $56.8 million budget allowed it to reach 6.1 million Tanzanians spanning 32 districts. The multifaceted program had a significant impact on the livelihoods of its recipients. Approximately 78% reported an increase in their income after participating in the program. Indeed, the program raised beneficiaries’ average income from $41 in 2012 to $133 in 2017.

In the last few decades, most poverty reduction in Tanzania occurred in rural areas. This is significant because of the persistent disparity in living standards and wealth between rural and urban areas. Although rural households still lag behind urban ones on most indicators of wealth, poverty reduction programs in rural Tanzania helped to narrow this gap. The African Development Bank’s program, for example, refurbished roads and created warehouses in rural areas. This reduced transportation costs for Tanzanian farmers and led to a drop in “post-harvest losses.”

Reforming the Private Sector for Poverty Reduction

The majority of Tanzanians work in the informal sector. Unfortunately, this lack of access to formal finance limits small business owners’ ability rise out of poverty. In order to continue making progress on eliminating extreme poverty in Tanzania, the government and external actors must remain focused on this issue.

Recently, the African Development Bank announced that it will focus its efforts on economic growth in Tanzania’s private sector. In December 2019, the Bank approved a $55 million facility support to the government in implementing regulatory reforms in the private sector. The Bank believes this is a necessary step toward creating an inclusive business landscape in the nation. Additionally, this effort should help Tanzania progress toward SDG Goal 1 by creating more equal and plentiful employment opportunities for Tanzanians.

COVID-19 and Updates on SDG Goal 1 in the United Republic of Tanzania

Due to its focus on economic growth, the Tanzanian government has enacted a relatively lax response to COVID-19 compared to neighboring countries. However, tourism made up 11.7% of Tanzania’s GDP in 2019. Because the pandemic has hit the tourism industry hard, Tanzania’s economy has suffered. In addition, a reduction in agricultural exports has greatly affected the Tanzanian economy. The combination of these factors will inevitably impact the nation’s poor. A study by the International Growth Centre shows that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent social distancing and lockdown measures have put approximately 9.1% of sub-Saharan Africa back into extreme poverty. As such, the pandemic has certainly hindered Tanzania’s progress on SDG Goal 1.

Looking forward, Tanzania will need a collaborative effort to lift Tanzanians out of extreme poverty once the pandemic is over. The Tanzanian government as well as international actors must work together to recoup Tanzania’s progress toward achieving SDG Goal 1. Though the pandemic has caused some setbacks, Tanzania must continue to focus on poverty eradication in order to meet this goal.

Leina Gabra
Photo: Flickr

updates on SDG Goal 1 in ChinaSDG is short for Sustainable Development Goals, or the blueprints set by the United Nations to achieve global sustainable development. This initiative motivates every country to fight against social issues including hunger, global poverty, gender inequality and more. The first objective of the SDG is to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere.” Here are some updates on SDG Goal 1 in China.

Chinese Government’s Endeavor to Eliminate Domestic Poverty

Among important updates on SDG Goal 1 in China is the fact that some researchers believe that China is on its way to eliminating poverty. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the population of rural citizens in poverty has declined from 100 million in 2012 to 16.6 million in 2019. The poverty line set by the government is an annual income of 2,300 yuan, or about 6 yuan a day. This reduction in poverty in China is due to political support: the Chinese government aims to end poverty by 2020 and complete the establishment of a “moderately prosperous society.”

Another key part of updates on SDG Goal 1 in China is the government’s new actions to reduce poverty. Since 2012, China has employed targeted poverty alleviation methods focusing on relatively impoverished areas. As a result, the average annual income for citizens in rural areas increased to nearly 10,000 yuan in 2018. The Chinese government has also employed “Internet Plus” strategies by encouraging the development of e-commerce centers in rural areas. Accordingly, many cities have become “miracles” for poverty alleviation: statistics show that 2.54 million people have escaped from poverty in China in 2019.

Challenges During COVID-19

COVID-19 is a special challenge that the world, and especially developing countries, must confront. It is not only a health crisis but also a social and economic crisis. As such, it affects updates on SDG Goal 1 in China. For China, COVID-19 presents a barrier to achieving the goal of eliminating poverty. COVID-19 restricts agricultural development because farmers cannot return to their lands. Meanwhile, due to interruptions in transportation, migrant workers are also unable to work. The combination of these challenges has caused an economic decline in China. In addition, healthcare issues and economic distress have resulted in poverty in China.

Some of China’s poverty alleviation strategies are also no longer appropriate during the pandemic. In 2013, China encouraged “wildlife breeding and domestication” in specific areas and created a market value of 521 billion yuan. Many impoverished areas depend on raising wild animals for economic growth; however, the Chinese government banned the industry due to its link to the spread of COVID-19 and the suspicion that wild animals can infect people. Thus, perpetuating this industry in the midst of COVID-19 presents a severe challenge for undeveloped areas.

Looking Forward

China’s endeavors in poverty alleviation are significant for both the nation and the world. Other countries can learn from China’s successes in fighting against poverty, which helped 602.7 million people escape poverty. If China can achieve SDG Goal 1 in 2020, it will be 10 years ahead of the United Nations’ commitment to eradicating global poverty.

– Yilin Che
Photo: Flickr

 

Recover Better Publication
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the conditions that the world’s most vulnerable populations continually face. Social distancing and mobility restrictions are changing consumer behavior, disrupting supply chains and straining certain sectors, like tourism. These social and economic challenges are disrupting, and in some places halting, progress toward meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Through these unprecedented challenges, the U.N. is emphasizing the importance of using the global response to “recover better.”

The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs released a new publication entitled Recover Better: Economic and Social Challenges and Opportunities in late July 2020. The report outlines plans for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals while taking into account the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Written by members of the U.N. High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs, the Recover Better publication comprises of seven essays, each addressing a different region or sector.

5 Takeaways from the Recover Better Publication

  1. New technologies and automation present great potential for developing countries. Their introduction has improved the quality and accessibility of communication, basic necessities and medical care. However, many unintended consequences may follow the implementation of new technologies in developing countries. For example, technology can add pressure to employment in human-labor reliant industries, exacerbate the digital divide and raise ethical issues. These include increasing inequality and data privacy issues, particularly with medical data. Considering the social and economic environment into which technology is introduced is a critical step in effective integration.
  2. As the global economy faces high levels of uncertainty, it is important to contextualize its current state by taking into account past patterns. Making recommendations for the future requires understanding the trends that were in place leading up to the pandemic. The global economy saw a deceleration in growth in 2019, which was particularly pronounced in developing countries. Both inefficient labor allocation and a lack of investment in research and development contributed to this slowdown. Importantly, the events of early 2020 exacerbated these issues.
  3. Allocating labor and resources toward a country’s strongest, most productive sectors is a critical factor in reducing income inequality between developed and developing countries. Utilizing comparative advantage in this way can maximize potential economic growth, leading to an increase in employment and higher wages. This way, countries can increase productivity in their strongest sectors while maintaining internal income equality.
  4. Natural resource management and sustainability should be at the forefront of each country’s socio-economic development plans. Recent industrialization has spiked carbon emissions and placed many environmental pressures on countries. In order to promote sustainable development, it is critical to improving the efficiency of natural resource use so that it is not surpassed by labor productivity and demand. The adoption and creation of sustainable technologies can help achieve that.
  5. The pandemic intensifies the challenges that low-income and vulnerable populations face. Nearly 71 million people will return to a state of poverty due to many socioeconomic factors, including job loss and recession. This will cause the first increase in global poverty rates since 1998. Among those groups most at risk for falling behind are inhabitants of conflict and post-conflict settings, youth, older persons, women, refugees, indigenous persons and those with disabilities.

While the Recover Better publication provides specialized insight into distinct areas of concern, it develops the general message that the Sustainable Development Goals can act as guidelines during recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The principles shared in Recover Better can leverage COVID-19 recovery efforts to inform existing strategies used to promote sustainable global development.

– Sylvie Antal
Photo: Flickr

updates on sdg goal 1 in the dominican republicAccording to the Sustainable Development Report, the Dominican Republic is making good progress on eradicating poverty. This is the first of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report states that 0.2 million Dominicans live under the poverty line of $1.90 a day, which is approximately 111 Dominican Pesos (DOM). This is an improvement from 2014, when 4.3 million Dominicans were making less than 111 DOM a day. Though the U.N. considers the Dominican Republic to have completed this goal, challenges remain for its second part. This would require the country to have every working Dominican earn more than $3.30 per day, which equals 187 DOM. Here are some important updates on SDG Goal 1 in the Dominican Republic.

Updates on SDG Goal 1 in the Dominican Republic

According to the report to the 2030 Agenda, the annual growth of real GDP in the Dominican Republic has been 5% annually since the 90’s. Additionally, poverty has declined from 40% in 2003 to 25.5%. The government claims that “Per Capita income has increased in the last decade, placing the country as a high middle-income economy.” Extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic is under 6%.

While financial poverty has improved, there is still multidimensional poverty influencing the small nation. Many residents face issues in public services, housing and regressing to poverty. Furthermore, this newfound economic boon is not distributed equally throughout the land. There are still greater amounts of poverty among kids and teenagers in rural areas and the unemployed.

To combat this, the Dominican government has promised to utilize its public policies to deepen its emphasis on universal social security, health care and education services. The government also wishes to address gender equality in the workforce. This would mean tackling the workplace wellbeing of the most vulnerable of the population, including women, children and those who work dangerous jobs. The government has also focused on reducing unemployment, which went down 2.6% between 2014 and 2017. While these numbers are good overall, women, teenagers and those in low-income housing still struggle to find jobs.

SDG Goal 1 Around the World

These updates on SDG Goal 1 in the Dominican Republic make it clear that this country is ahead of many others in terms of meeting this goal. While the SDG initiative has incentivized countries around the world to improve their citizens’ lives, there is still a lot of work to be done. 736 million people around the world still live in poverty, which means 10% of the global population is impoverished.

However, the number of people living in poverty around the world has decreased drastically since 1990. By the end of the decade, the SDG initiative will have hoped to “reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.” Overall, the program aims to “ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular, least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions.” It is fair to say that the Dominican Republic is on the right track to fulfill this goal.

Pedro Vega
Photo: Flickr

Engineers Against Poverty
Engineers Against Poverty mobilizes engineers around the globe to fight poverty through more effective, transparent and equitable infrastructure development. Founded with an engineering focus, the U.K.-based group has expanded its work to improve ways of life in low- and middle-income countries by advocating for ethical working conditions, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing poverty worldwide. As a massive infrastructure funding gap stands in the way of global poverty relief, Engineers Against Poverty works to empower a multi-sector network to improve infrastructure policy and practices.

Infrastructure and Global Poverty

Engineers and infrastructure development play a vital role in the fight against global poverty. According to the Asian Development Bank, poverty reduction requires not only well-governed economic development, but also improved infrastructure for irrigation, electricity, water and sanitation and other basic needs. In 2016, Our World in Data reported that 40% of the globe experienced water scarcity and 13% of the world did not have electricity. In 2015 and 2016, one-third of the global population did not have access to an all-weather road. Engineers Against Poverty explains that infrastructure will play a vital role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which were released in 2015 to be achieved by 2030.

“For EAP, its goal is to scale up influence on global infrastructure policy and practice to promote sustainable social, climate and economic impacts that contribute toward the elimination of poverty,” Engineers Against Policy Senior Communications Manager Charlotte Broyd said.

The Infrastructure Funding Gap

One of the greatest barriers to global poverty reduction is a massive infrastructure funding gap. At the 2015 release of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the World Economic Forum reported the infrastructure funding gap would prove the biggest challenge to meet the SDGs. The World Economic Forum explained that there exists a $15 trillion investment gap between the money needed and the existing funding to reach “adequate global infrastructure by 2040.” This gap, Engineers Against Poverty explains, must be tackled as a “governance challenge.” Up to one-third of global investment in infrastructure is lost to mismanagement in governance, particularly in low-income countries.

Broyd commented, “There is a role for many stakeholders in addressing the infrastructure investment gap (governments, international organizations as well as donors). For donors specifically, they can help by recognising the importance of transparency and accountability in the infrastructure sector and the need for support to initiatives and others promoting these principles. This is particularly important in the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis where any economic loss must be minimized.”

The World Bank has identified collaboration between the private and public sectors as a key approach to closing the infrastructure funding gap. The former managing director of the World Bank explained at the release of the SDGs that to help mitigate these investment hazards, investors and donors must make more comprehensive investments in policy, insurance, regulation and more to make their investments effective.

Engineers Against Poverty’s Infrastructure Transparency Initiative

Engineers Against Poverty’s global Infrastructure Transparency Initiative (CoST) is key to closing this infrastructure funding gap. CoST, which currently works in 19 countries, encourages collaboration between civilians, engineers and policy-makers to work toward “improving transparency and accountability in public infrastructure” to reduce investment losses to mismanagement and corruption.

CoST has already seen success in many countries, including Thailand, where transparency, competitive bidding, decreasing contract prices and more efficient fund management have saved the country $360 million in infrastructure spending since 2015. In Afghanistan, CoST-prompted contract reviews saved the country $8.3 million in just one year for road-network maintenance.

The initiative focuses on increasing infrastructure project transparency by improving data disclosure, ensuring data is accessible to the public, creating social accountability for decision-makers and empowering civilians and communities to advocate for better infrastructure governance and delivery. By 2018, CoST had helped disclose data on around 11,000 projects through accessible platforms. CoST has also established legal mandates and disclosure commitments with governments in many countries.

“Our experience indicates that informed citizens and responsive public institutions help drive reforms that reduce mismanagement, inefficiency, corruption and the risks posed to the public from poor quality infrastructure,” the CoST website explains.

A key feature of CoST is citizen engagement and media attention, which enables civilians to hold their policy-makers accountable and make the infrastructure funding gap a priority for civil society. “CoST has enabled citizens to advocate for quality infrastructure through community events in several of its countries including Uganda, Ghana, Malawi and Thailand,” Broyd said. “Simply by raising the issues affecting them, citizens give the media powerful stories to report, which has generated much good publicity.”

CoST therefore illustrates the importance of involving citizens in solving poverty locally, nationally and globally. The combined efforts of engaged civilians and Engineers Against Poverty stand to make important headway in the fight against global poverty.

Emily Rahhal
Photo: Pixabay

House Resolution 654 - Supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

House Resolution 654 promotes governmental responsibility in addressing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the program’s history of success and its strategies to fight global poverty. It also calls attention to other factors that inhibit a safe and sustainable way of life for poverty-stricken individuals and families.

House Resolution 654

House Resolution 654 expresses reasoning for the U.S. government’s support of the Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the U.N. 2030 Agenda. The resolution speaks to ideals of eradicating poverty, creating gender equality, providing accessible public health, improving the peace and prosperity of all people and protecting the planet.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are in line with many of the same ideals that U.S. citizens believe in promoting and that the U.S. government has proven to prioritize through its bipartisan support in past legislation under various presidential administrations. The U.S. provides strong leadership in the global community. The U.S. government choosing to uphold the goals posed by the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals is key in influencing other nations to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The Sustainable Development Goals pick up where the Millenium Development Goals left off. According to a 2015 report on the success of the Millenium Development Goals, the program proved to be the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history” due to its worldwide support. The world saw a 56% decline in extreme poverty in the years between 1990 and 2015, most of that improvement happening after the Millenium Development Goals were enforced in 2000. This resolution asks that Congress support the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals so that poverty eradication, food security, accessible education, environmental sustainability, gender equality and many other factors that hinder development can see further advancement and be implemented before 2030.

Sustainable Development Goals

At the 2015 United Nations General Assembly, 193 nations agreed to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On January 1, 2016, those goals were officially enforced.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls upon the governments of these 193 nations to adopt a universal plan of action to improve global poverty. It also asks the nations to enact strategies that promote key human rights which affect extreme poverty levels. The U.N. Agenda recognizes that fostering sustainable development across the globe requires a multifaceted approach which each country can uniquely apply to the economic, environmental, and social situation of its respective nation.

The U.N. 2030 Agenda poses 17 Sustainable Development Goals along with 169 targets for nations to strive to meet by the year 2030. Listed are summaries of some of the 17 Goals:

  • Goal 1: End all forms of global poverty
  • Goal 2: End hunger and achieving food security
  • Goal 4: Provide equal access to education
  • Goal 8: Promote sustainable economic growth and work opportunities
  • Goal 16: Promote accountability and strengthen inclusive institutions

These Goals, along with the other 12, build on the foundation provided by the previous Millenium Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals are set to achieve the goals that lacked completion by the Millenium Development Goals.

It is no coincidence that ending poverty is listed first in the Sustainable Development Goals. Global poverty eradication is crucial to achieving the other goals promoted by the 2030 Agenda. Today, the Coronavirus disproportionately affects those living in poverty and those vulnerable to falling below the poverty line. Now more than ever countries must collaborate in this global program which promotes accountable governments and economic strategies to fight global poverty.

Status Of the Resolution

House Resolution 654 was introduced in the House by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) on October 24, 2019, and it has the support of 37 cosponsors. That same day, it was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Currently, the resolution is still sitting in committee. About 25 percent of bills make it out of committee so there is hope for cosponsors and supporters of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals that the resolution will receive congressional support.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals is an important and influential program in and of itself. It is equally important for legislation such as H.Res. 654 to continue to be proposed in Congress so that the U.S. government is kept aware of and responsible for supporting strategies that improve global poverty.

Hanna Rowell
Photo: Flickr

SDG Goal 14Paraguay, a landlocked country in central South America, relies heavily on the Paraguay River for water and marine resources. The river is vital for Paraguayans but is becoming increasingly vulnerable to pollution and overdevelopment. This led to the achievement of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Paraguay Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the city of Asunción started the Asunción Green City of the Americas — Pathways to Sustainability project. It was started to protect the river and to help reach U.N.’s SDG Goal 14 in Paraguay called “life below water.”

Purpose of the Sustainable Development Goals

The UN introduced its 17 SDGs to lay out a blueprint to achieve a more sustainable future by 2030. Together they work to address social, economic and environmental challenges that the world faces and move towards a sustainable future. Goal 14 is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. With more than three billion people dependent on marine resources globally, this goal is essential to a sustainable future.

Water quality, area of protected space, biodiversity threats and levels of overfishing and other indicators measure SDG Goal 14. Paraguay has struggled with water quality. Although it has some protected wildlife reserves near water, many species are critically endangered and biodiversity has been decreasing.

About the Paraguay River and Asunción

Paraguay is a landlocked country. As a result, achieving SDG Goal 14 in Paraguay requires protecting its freshwater and river systems. The Paraguay River flows from north to south throughout the entire country. It plays an important role in the freshwater system and its health is vital to the achievement of SDG Goal 14 in Paraguay. Farmers and fishermen rely on the river and it provides a significant portion of water to the Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland in the world.

Additionally, in recent decades the river has suffered from increased levels of development and pollution due to things like untreated sewage and garbage entering the river. Poor infrastructure and management of waste lead to these items entering the river system. This harms habitat and reduces water quality. These problems are particularly prevalent in the city of Asunción. Asunción is the capital of Paraguay located on the western side of the nation. The city sits on the bank of the Paraguay River and is home to a rich variety of bird species including many migratory birds during parts of the year. The wetlands near Asunción support many other species and protect the city from flooding. The river and wetlands benefit the community by providing a source of jobs including fishing and tours as well.

The Health of the Paraguay River

Furthermore, the health of the Paraguay River near Asunción has been a concern of the community for decades. Untreated sewage as well as garbage from many landfills make their way into the river. In 2005, the Ecological Reserve of Banco San Miguel and Bahía de Asunción was created to protect the wetland ecosystem along the river. It was also a place for endangered migratory birds to rest.

The creation of the reserve was an effective first step. However, the measures taken were insufficient. Few resources were used to reverse the existing damage. With the health of the river decreasing, Paraguay was not on track to meet SDG Goal 14 by 2030. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development teamed up with city officials from Asunción. With support from the U.N., it created the Asunción Green City of the Americas — Pathways to Sustainability project.

The plan aims to address multiple issues including waste management, transportation and habitat protection in order to benefit the people and wild animals near Asunción. Improved bus systems as well as walking and bicycling networks would benefit the communities of Asunción and reduce harmful emissions. Better waste management will reduce citizens’ exposure to harmful chemicals. It will also help preserve the health of the river and wetland ecosystem.

 

Overall, adequate protection and maintenance of the ecological reserves on the river along with improved waste management and transportation are important. With them, the Paraguay River can maintain its essential role for ecosystems and the people of Asunción. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development needs to continue to work hard to protect the Paraguay River and help achieve SDG Goal 14 in Paraguay.

William Dormer
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Hunger in the NetherlandsAs one of the most substantial influencers in agricultural viability, as well as one of the foremost exporters of agricultural products throughout the globe, the Netherlands is not a country that the world would easily associate with hunger. Even with a lower rate of poverty and malnourishment than many other countries, the Netherlands must overcome the remaining barriers for those lingering in destitution. Fortunately, the country thinks big.

Poverty Within The Country

Since 2015, poverty has decreased in the Netherlands, while the country has experienced a growth period in its economy. Yet, those who still remain in poverty find themselves at a decrease in the ability to meet their basic needs over these recent years of prosperity. As of 2019, there were 169 food banks providing for the poor across the country. The ongoing issue is the access and awareness of this kind of assistance for families who find themselves in need of it most. Solving hunger in the Netherlands is only a portion of the country’s goals.

Eliminating Hunger On A Global Scale

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands has dedicated itself to resolving hunger following its driven Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The country’s aims are to improve food intake, efficiency and international trade, as well as enhance resilience to the imbalance in the environment and economy and provide better care for renewable resources.

Planning For Change

Eleanor Roosevelt famously voiced, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” The Netherlands has chosen to put its energy into planning. The country’s SDGs have inspired certain procedures that are already seeing success in Burundi. The Dutch embassy has supported a project empowering almost 40,000 farmers with a plan of action for the present and a vision of how their investments will pay off in the future. The project Supporting Agricultural Productivity in Burundi (PAPAB) uses this Integrated Farm Planning (PIP) method to help farmers understand the fulfillment in their work with the hopes of engaging the community in improved practices. These farmers have significant increases in earnings, production and security with each plan, as well as major reductions in environmental impacts.

How 8,000 Students Will Feed The Hungry

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) located in Wageningen, Netherlands comprises food scientists capable of eradicating hunger in the Netherlands as well as the rest of the world. Professor Louise O. Fresco, the university president, is motivated by a unique history that encourages her to end global hunger. Fresco was born amongst the aftermath of the Dutch Hunger Winter.

This famine took place in the 1940s as Nazi troops obstructed the food supply to the Netherlands. Studies have proven that those born around the time of this famine are at a higher risk of adverse health and psychological conditions due to the stressful environment at the time. However, Fresco sees an enabling connection between her birth and her current work which has inspired her to lead an institution where people share her passions.

Many students at the university agree that the real barricade in solving world hunger is the overproduction of food that many deem necessary in Europe, yet a large percentage of that supply becomes wasted and its production ultimately hurts the environment. The real goals are to solve these problems with minimal impact on the environment in order to achieve sustainability and reach those who are malnourished.

Students are developing innovations to meet these overall necessities. The vertical farming method, for example, allows for the growth of additional food while avoiding the use of additional land. Another project that students at the university are working on is a method called forest farming revealing the eco-friendly benefits of small-scale farming over large-scale farming.

As the country leads with innovative and inspiring techniques, approaching hunger in the Netherlands has lead to fantastic possibilities for the rest of the world.

Amy Schlagel
Photo: Pixabay

HIV in Djibouti
According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), addressing poverty means first reaching those who feel the greatest impact; progress does not necessarily trickle down to the population that is most disadvantaged. The 2016 Human Development Report found that one-third of the world’s population lives in low human development circumstances. Furthermore, some sectors of society are more disadvantaged than others. Inequalities and social exclusion that people such as those living with HIV face present larger barriers to development and access to health programs. For this reason, the World Food Programme, alongside UNDP, UNAIDS and the national network of people living with HIV in Djibouti (RNDP+), have created an income-generation program that provides loans for people living with HIV. Such loans are empowering women with HIV in Djibouti to live dignified and successful lives.

Men and Women with HIV in Djibouti

As of 2017, 1.3 percent of the adult population in Djibouti was living with HIV, a decrease from 1.6 percent – or 9,900 people – in 2014. Social and cultural norms, destructive policies, improper medical services and restrictive laws impede HIV treatment and prevention measures. In Djibouti, women are most vulnerable to stigma and social exclusion and therefore often suffer the most.

The Income Generation Programme

The World Food Programme’s income-generation initiative supports and empowers women through longterm aid. By providing a regular, stable income, the World Food Programme is creating financial security for women with HIV in Djibouti. The money that women receive typically goes toward starting and running a retail business. These loans generally range from $141 to $148 per person and include a training program teaching effective business skills.

How it Works

Recipients of the loan become chosen from two networks in Djibouti that specifically support those living with HIV: ARREY and Oui à la Vie – Yes to Life. Oftentimes, those diagnosed with HIV are susceptible to deteriorating conditions, are unable to hold down a job and face discrimination, causing the citizens to be unwelcome in public sectors. Women with HIV in Djibouti that receive these loans are able to make a consistent income for themselves and overcome the stigma that some associate with HIV. Further, these women are able to take back control of the lives they previously led.

The Outcome

One such recipient of the loan stated that she was “no longer a desperate woman.” She now makes enough to support her family and other dependents. Additionally, once this loan gave her the capital to launch a sustainable business, she was able to repay the loan in only 10 months. During that time the recipient was also able to expand the retail business to include furniture and electronics.  

The World Food Programme’s income-generation initiative aids the Sustainable Development Goal of ending HIV by 2030, and furthermore, leaving no person behind. According to UNDP’s findings, development itself does not automatically ensure that the entire population is included. Programs such as this target the multidimensional factors involved in people receiving proper aid.

Empowerment is an essential part of development; without the ability to feel successful and fulfilled, women often lack the means to seek treatment and make educated decisions regarding health. The loan initiative empowers women living with HIV in Djibouti to combat the associated stigma and obtain financial investment necessary to develop a sustainable business. With a stable income, women are able to seek health services that might not have been previously accessible. 

Laurel Sonneby
Photo: Flickr