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UNDP & Italy Support Italian G7 Presidency & UNDP ReformWhile the Ministerial Meetings continue under the current Italian Group of 7 (G7) Presidency in Italy, the Summit meetings concluded in May setting the organization’s 2017 mission as “Building the Foundations of Renewed Trust”. On September 18, 2017, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Italian Minister of the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) signed an agreement to support the Italian G7 Presidency commitments and reform objectives with EUR €7 million.

Since Italy holds the Italian G7 Presidency, which rotates every year between member states, it must host all the G7 meetings. The member states include France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Canada.

Italy is also charged with preparing draft documents and proposing thematic priorities, especially those to be decided on by heads of state and government. Even more importantly, Italy must negotiate language and terms of decisions by leading dialogue, mediating and finding common ground between partners. On behalf of the entire group, it must maintain relations with civil society, international organizations and countries outside of the G7.

This year Italy chose to focus on goals addressing (1) citizen safety, (2) economic, environmental, and social sustainability and reduction of inequalities and (3) innovation, skills, and labor in the age of the next production revolution.

The Italian G7 Presidency commitments require forming a number of recommendations related to climate change, environmental degradation, agriculture and food security, water availability and economic growth in Africa. The Italian government has supported their proposal for a centre in Rome that will facilitate exchanges of information on increasing the effectiveness, synergies and complementarities of continuing projects in Africa.

The Italian Minister of the Environment, Land and Sea will also be getting together with the UNDP and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Rome to facilitate the exchange of information on development interventions alongside the aforesaid Italian G7 Presidency interests and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The UNDP is looking to realign its own Strategic Plan for 2018 to 2021 around these initiatives, which it will present to G7 member states.

Zar-Tashiya Khan

Photo: Flickr

How to Help Georgia: Social Assistance and Corruption
Georgia, a former Soviet state, has dealt with a massive civil war, corruption, poverty and strife since the fall of the USSR. A struggling economy has been hindered by conflict in the region, and Georgia has had to move from a model that favored international assistance to an increase in social spending, which led to an increase in the bottom 40 percent of income but not much else. The big issue in Georgia is poverty, which is driving citizens towards cities and away from the countryside, leaving those in rural areas without resources.

Social Assistance and Rural Strife
One organization, Czech Republic’s People in Need, has recognized the struggles that rural citizens face. It has extended its developmental support to rural people and internally displaced persons within Georgia that do not benefit from state-run social programs. In addition to developmental support, People in Need has helped bring immediate humanitarian assistance to the area and launched programs that aim to develop regions such as the Samegrelo region after their need for humanitarian assistance has waned. This includes promoting positive relationships between law enforcement authorities and the citizens, and civic initiatives that help youths learn life skills and get job training.

The United Nations Development Program stated “The unemployment rate in Georgia is 12 percent, while 68 percent of the population regard themselves as unemployed.” Many of the people in question come from rural areas, which have a declining job market as people move to city hubs. In order to improve the circumstances of these people, an effort needs to be made to develop accessible sectors such as agriculture. While farming cannot create an overwhelming expanse of new jobs, it would be enough to bring hope to an area that is in need. In order to get enough support to develop the agricultural industry, the government needs to step in, but Georgia struggles with high levels of corruption and an inefficient bureaucracy.

Government Reform
Another way to help Georgia is to rid it of the corruption that permeates the Georgian government. Georgia currently ranks highest in corruption in eastern Europe, and while it has taken steps to decrease this level of corruption by requiring greater transparency in elections and higher standards for publishing information, there is much that can be done to make the government run more smoothly. Some of these options include creating an efficient anti-corruption body, legal systems that are designed to prevent conflicts of interest, an independent investigatory mechanism and regulatory institutions.

Corruption has become such a widespread problem in Georgia that bribing public officials in order to make the government run more smoothly is just a fact of life for Georgian citizens. This makes it harder to develop industry, since the citizens who need new jobs may not be able to afford to bribe the public officials that can help with development and job creation in a timely manner. Bureaucracy, in this case, is too slow for citizens to get the help they need to create a better economic environment and help Georgia succeed in the region and world market.

Ultimately, the key to helping Georgia is putting efforts into eradicating corruption in the government and establishing a job market in the rural areas that hold the highest unemployment rates. While a history of corruption will be difficult to overcome, with time Georgia can rise to become a power player in its region and provide for its citizens.

Rachael Blandau

Photo: Flickr

Maldives Poverty RateMaldives is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean. While the country was a life expectancy of 77 years and a literacy rate of 98.4 percent, the Maldives poverty rate still allows room for growth.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that by 2016, only two percent of the nation’s citizens lived under the international poverty line. Similarly, Asian Development Bank reported 2015 that 15 percent of people in Maldives lived under the national poverty line.

Though this seems a bit higher, other South Asian countries show even greater numbers for the same statistic. For example, India’s is almost 22 percent, Nepal’s is over 25 percent. Bangladesh ranks higher than all of them, coming up at over 31 percent.Bhutan and Sri Lanka fall below Maldives—at 12 and 6.7 percent, respectively.

When looking at the death of infants in Maldives, 2015 data indicated that seven out of 1,000 babies die in live births. This country ranks the lowest when put side-by-side with Sri Lanka (8), Bhutan (27), Nepal (29), Bangladesh (31) and India (38).

When looking at 2012 data on the percentage of “employed population below $1.90 purchasing power parity a day,” Maldives settles in at 6.6 percent. This means that it still ranks below Bangladesh (over 73 percent), India (almost 18 percent) and Nepal (over 12 percent).

Similar to the statistic regarding the national poverty line, only Bhutan and Sri Lanka fall below Maldives in the list of six nations—both resting at slightly over four percent.

The Maldives tout an unemployment rate slightly below 12 percent, a GDP per capita at about $11,282 and tourist activities accounting for a quarter of its GDP.

However, it is important to note that a variety of issues still impact the nation.

The UNDP points out a lack of opportunities for female autonomy, a need for greater answerability within governing bodies and the dangers of environmental degradation.

Rural Poverty Portal also touches on problems the nation struggles with. It indicates that much of the country’s poverty exists on islands where fishing and farming predominate. Focusing on the less urbanized areas, it highlights that insufficient supply of natural resources, low credit and poor farming techniques all contribute.

Still, in relation to many of its counterparts, the Maldives poverty rate suggests much promise for the South Asian country. Although the nation must make improvements in a variety of aspects beyond those listed, its current status reflects its well-being.

Maleeha Syed

Photo: Flickr

China's Poverty Reduction Plan
The 11th ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction took place in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province. During the meeting, over 120 government officials, experts and scholars from China and ASEAN countries gathered together. They discussed China’s poverty alleviation plan and most successful practices.

The Country Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Cambodia, Nick Beresford, praised China for their poverty-reduction methods, which have lifted “hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” According to the China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, more than 700 million Chinese citizens have transitioned out of poverty. In addition, the rural poor population in China has declined to 43.35 million in December 2016.

The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert Houngbo, also believes that China’s poverty reduction plan presents an excellent model for other countries to implement within own their economies. China’s economy is the second largest and accounts for 14.8 percent of the world economy, right behind the U.S. economy. With 1.38 billion people, China also has the largest population in the world.

“Even as a symbol,” President Houngbo stated, “China’s economic transition offers hope to other developing countries that want to do the same thing.”  The primary component of China’s poverty reduction plan is steady income growth for the bottom 60 percent of households in rural China. This plan has four underlying factors:

  1. Increased industrialization and urbanization throughout the country has transformed an agricultural surplus labor force into urban employment in China.
  2. Equally distributing land between the bottom “quintile households” and the top income households is another goal. The equal distribution of land enables the lower income households to proportionally benefit from the payments the state provides to support agricultural development.
  3. Universal social development programs are making contributions to increase income growth for bottom households. China has successfully implemented several social development programs designed to improve educational, medical and income growth.
  4. Targeted poverty reduction programs will develop the physical infrastructure and increase social development. They will also generate income to assist poor households.

A global market research and consulting firm called Ipsos conducted an international survey titled, “What Worries the World.” The 2017 survey documented answers from 26 different countries. They asked a random sample of 18,557 adults, aged 16 to 64, if they believed China had been making the right decisions for its citizens.

China has the highest percentage (87 percent) of people believing their country is going in a positive direction. In the survey, China was the only country to list “moral decline” as their top issue. A majority of the other 25 remaining nations listed “health care” or “unemployment” as their country’s top issue.

In a distant southern Chinese village, China’s poverty reduction plan is being tested. The Yi ethnic group has a unique language and culture from mainstream China. They reside in a geographically remote location. Many of them are illiterate and have a value system distinct from traditional money and prospects. Years of government intervention have failed to alter the Yi ethnic groups way of life.

In the village of Liangshan, more than 400,000 people are “classified as poor, meaning their yearly income is less than 340 dollars.” The Communist Party of China believes that lifting the Yi ethnic group and others out of economic hardship is critical to achieving the country’s goal of ending poverty by 2020.

While insufficient schools and language barriers present large issues, many locals believe that job creation for minority groups would be more successful than simply giving them money.

Madison O’Connell

Photo: Flickr

Stability in IraqAs fighting continues in cities like Mosul, which formerly served as a strong base for the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), there is a growing need to rebuild newly liberated areas and infrastructure for stability in Iraq. In an effort to address this, recent pledges were declared by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for an additional $150 million in funds to go to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This brings the total U.S. contribution to stability in Iraq to $265.3 million.

The UNDP manages to work with the Iraqi government, with backing from the prime minister and members of the Coalition to Degrade and Defeat ISIS, to assist retaken areas with the creation and subsidy of the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS). The FFS provides essential services like water and electricity, plus temporary employment opportunities and support for small businesses to help spur economic growth in the region.

Its approach is calculated, with teams dispatched into cities within days of them being approved as safe to consider damages and plans of action together with local authorities. They work to quickly repair water systems, electricity grids and other public infrastructure, employ youth in work brigades to remove rubble and clear transport routes, support businesses with cash grants and restore education, health and municipal centers.

The FFS grew to work in 28 areas cleared by the Stabilization Committee, with more than 1,100 projects in Nineveh, Anbar, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Mosul, Iraq — the largest project yet. In Mosul, close to 300 schemes are being executed to fix central water treatment plants, electrical substations, schools and health facilities.

The program was initially capitalized at $7 million from the USAID and is now supported by around 23 donors and $420 million in funding. The United States was joined by the United Kingdom government, which contributed an additional $5.2 million to the Funding Facility for Stabilization, bringing the total U.K. contribution toward stability in Iraq to $15 million.

With the funding of the FFS, two million or so displaced Iraqis were returned home and cities are once again flourishing as hubs of development since the conflict started in 2014.

Zar-Tashiya Khan

Photo: Flickr

Women in South Sudan
Women in South Sudan are facing alarming human rights abuses. Ongoing conflict has claimed many lives and displaced about two million people. Women have suffered disproportionately, being subjected to horrific gender-based violence. Despite the grim realities women in South Sudan face, humanitarian organizations such as the UNDP and IMO, along with the U.S. government, are working to empower women in South Sudan.

With an estimated 475,000 women and girls at risk of harm, and more than half of young women aged 15-24 years having already experienced some form of gender-based violence, it is crucial that humanitarian organizations intervene. Women and girls face many different abuses, ranging from beatings and rape to forced marriage and labor. The trauma the survivors are left with affects both their mental and physical health, with many becoming HIV positive after their endurance of sexual violence.

To combat the effects of these cruelties, the UNDP and IMO are working to help women heal through counseling and support groups where they can safely discuss their experiences and feelings. Working in displacement camps, these programs have moved many women from isolation and depression to a place of hope and healing. The work does not stop there.

The goal of these support programs goes beyond healing and into the idea of empowerment, challenging traditional cultural beliefs surrounding the role of women in South Sudan. These programs work to empower women by educating them on their rights and enabling them to take on leadership roles. One way these groups are able to do this is through dramas and musical events put on by the community. These performances highlight the importance of women as peace-builders and show how they can stand up against gender-based violence.

From these programs women in South Sudan have emerged as active community leaders, promoting peace and providing role models for incoming refugees. Many of the leading counselors in these programs are women who once faced abuse and isolated themselves, demonstrating the growth that can come from support.

In the U.S., Representative Sheila Lee is working to protect the future of these women by sponsoring the Equal Rights and Access for the Women of South Sudan Act (H.R. 48). This act, which has just been introduced to the House of Representatives, supports refugee relief that encourages women’s rights. It also focuses on the complete inclusion of women in post-conflict reconstruction and development, planning a future based on empowering women in South Sudan.

With 13 cosponsors, the potential of this act is promising. However, the work of humanitarian organizations remains essential to the recovery and success of these women. While the UNDP and IMO are working to empower women in South Sudan now, this act preparing for a future in which these women can thrive.

Kelly Hayes

Photo: Google


Two hundred female nursing students recently graduated from six nursing schools in Afghanistan. Now, the students will return to their communities to offer medical assistance in areas most in need.

The women participated in a two-year medical training program including accommodations, three meals a day, transportation and a living allowance. Their days included both time in class and practical work in city hospitals, where the women learned how to perform basic surgery, how to advise pregnant women regarding basic care and nutrition, studied the treatments for various ailments and filled prescriptions.

After completing two years of study, the women work in their village clinics; some reside 100 kilometers or more away from the school. If they perform well, they receive a diploma.

The UNDP, in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, set up six nursing schools in Afghanistan. The Global Fund provided a grant for approximately $8 million, allocated to strengthening the health system in Afghanistan through training nurses and improving access to medical care in the community.

Primarily, these nurses provide medical care to two populations desperately in need: people in rural areas and women. However, healthcare professionals from outside a specific area will often avoid rural villages out of fear for their safety.

Women, in particular, lack the ability to receive quality healthcare due to certain cultural norms: women are often not permitted to be treated by a male doctor, and female healthcare workers are few in number. According to WHO, 40 percent of health care facilities in Afghanistan do not have any women on staff.

Women also lack both privacy and the ability to make choices about their treatment. Additionally, healthcare workers often have limited knowledge of women’s health issues. As a result, in 2015 the infant mortality rate in Afghanistan at 45 percent and the maternal mortality ratio of 1,291 per 100,000 live births are among the highest in the world.

Thankfully, having trained female nurses increases the potential to address many of these issues. However, these women must face unique obstacles; it is not customary for women to live or study away from home. In a country in which, according to 2015 USAID statistics, only 8.6 percent of women received a degree in secondary or higher education, and only 14.8 percent of women are literate, these women set a very powerful precedent.

Emilia Otte

Photo: Flickr


The world’s current growth in population, wealth and technology may be seen as exceptional progress, but it has been accompanied by growing inequality. In order to combat these inequalities, a variety of assistance programs has been developed. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is one of the leading organizations fighting these disparities, through equipping individuals with the tools needed to create a sustainable and safe life.

Here are 10 facts about the UNDP:

  1. Working on the ground in more than 170 countries, the UNDP’s principal goal is eradicating global poverty while protecting the planet and establishing sustainability.
  2. For more than 50 years, the UNDP has been fighting poverty. When it began its mission, more than half of the world lived in extreme poverty. Now, that number has decreased to about 13 percent.
  3. For the past two years, the UNDP has been recognized as the most transparent aid organization in the world, according to the Aid Transparency Index. This acknowledges the UNDP’s dedication to publishing data and including detailed lists of where its funds are allocated. This ensures to donors and volunteers that the UNDP is not only a helpful program but a trustworthy one too.
  4. The UNDP develops solutions in three main areas- democratic governance and peace-building, sustainable development and climate and disaster resilience. By focusing its efforts on these three fundamental objectives, the UNDP takes a multidimensional approach to eliminate poverty at the source.
  5. The first solution — the sustainable development objective — aims not just at aiding the impoverished but ensuring that they will have the tools necessary to be successful. From the sustainable development projects, the UNDP has led to the creation of 1.35 million new jobs in 94 countries, 42 percent of which have been for women.
  6. The next UNDP solution — implementing effective democratic governance and peace preservation — is focused on allocating legal and governmental resources to the most vulnerable. Through these projects, the UNDP has successfully increased participation in democratic systems by registering 68 million new voters in 37 different countries.
  7. Just as important as a vote is one’s access to judicial services. The UNDP has helped more than 2.1 million people in 35 countries gain access to legal aid services, 51 percent being women. This feat is a victory for both gender equity as well as legal justice.
  8. Within the climate and disaster resilience building resolve, the UNDP has worked to decrease risks of natural disasters as well as advance the fight against climate change. So far, 1,035 new disaster reduction and adaptation plans have been put in place in 51 countries, and 2.5 million people have better access to energy in 46 countries.
  9. The UNDP implemented the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were established in 2000 by the U.N. as a 15-year effort to end global poverty. Successes of the MGDs include lifting one billion people out of poverty, cutting the child mortality rate and out-of-school children rate in half and decreasing HIV/AIDS infections by almost 40 percent.
  10. In 2016, the Millennium Development Goals were replaced by a new 15-year plan: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs outline the 2030 Agenda and act as 17 universal objectives to eradicate global poverty. These goals build on the progress of the MDG’s, but also include new objectives ranging from Zero Hunger to Affordable and Clean Energy.

Although these 10 facts about the UNDP feature an array of successes, the UNDP makes it very clear that its work on global poverty and sustainability is not nearly finished. These 10 facts about the UNDP prove its devotion to the well-being of the world.

Kelly Hayes

Photo: Flickr

15 Influential Organizations Committed to Fighting Poverty in Developing Countries Help
Naturally, The Borgen Project is our favorite organization fighting global poverty, but there are lots of amazing groups changing the world. Thanks to multilateral partnerships between nonprofit organizations, intergovernmental organizations and governments around the world, extreme poverty is down 50 percent since 1990. Below is a list of influential organizations that are fighting poverty in developing countries by working to better the lives of the world’s poor. This list is by no means exhaustive; this is just a sample of the exemplary organizations doing work in problem areas such as global health, water, sanitation, food, housing and education.

 

Top Organization Fighting Poverty in Developing Countries

 

  1. Oxfam
    Oxfam is currently fighting poverty in developing countries by taking on issues of inequality, discrimination and unequal access to resources. The organization provides assistance during humanitarian crises. Oxfam is also very involved in educating the world’s poor about human rights and civic engagement in order to change the root causes of poverty at the political level.
  2. United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
    Founded on the belief that all people should have a chance to live with dignity, opportunity and safety, the UNDP helps countries develop policies. These lead to sustainable development, democratic governance, peace building and climate and disaster resilience. The UNDP is a giant agency that delegates country-specific activities and programs through its Resident Coordinator System with offices in 130 countries. The organization’s highest goal is to implement the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries of operation.
  3. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    UNICEF fights for children’s rights and welfare by strengthening legislation and social services. Initiatives include early childhood development, nutrition, immunization, water, sanitation and hygiene, children with disabilities and education.
  4. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
    UNOCHA is responsible for coordinating humanitarian relief efforts during natural disasters and conflict, as well as raising awareness and encouraging involvement among U.N. member states.
  5. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
    The UN DESA creates and analyzes data pertaining to the economic and social aspects of sustainable development, which U.N. member states draw from when creating U.N. resolutions as well as drafting local policy plans in each respective home country. The UN DESA’s in-depth policy analysis has helped to resolve many of the world’s most pressing socioeconomic issues.
  6. The Borgen Project
    The Borgen Project is an influential U.S.-based nonprofit fighting poverty in developing countries through civic engagement and education. The organization believes that developed countries have a moral obligation to help the world’s poor. The organization advocates on Capitol Hill for poverty reduction legislation, increasing the international affairs budget and making poverty reduction a primary focus of U.S. foreign policy.
  7. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
    USAID facilitates development abroad by allocating the U.S. international aid budget toward projects that increase agricultural productivity, lower child mortality rates and deadly diseases, provide humanitarian assistance during a natural disaster and prolonged conflict, as well as promote democracy, economic growth, environmental resiliency and women’s empowerment.
  8. Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
    ODI is an independent think tank that researches a myriad of topics such as climate, energy, poverty and inequality. The institute’s goal is to facilitate international development by providing policy advice, consultancy services and training programs to fight poverty.
  9. Concern Worldwide
    Concern Worldwide is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that fights poverty in developing countries by providing lifesaving humanitarian aid primarily focused on alleviating world hunger, increasing world health, and responding to emergencies and natural disasters.
  10. The Hunger Project
    Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population is female. Sixty percent of HIV/AIDS cases today affect women. The Hunger Project recognizes that poverty is sexist, and believes that empowering women is essential to ending world hunger and poverty. The project fights for clean drinking water, nutrition, and sanitation, as well as economic growth.
  11. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
    The BMGF has been instrumental in saving the lives of 122 million children since 1990. This is largely made possible through its efforts to increase access to healthcare and vaccinations, which have all but eradicated polio and halved malaria and tuberculosis rates around the world.
  12. World Bank Group
    The World Bank Group is a crucial piece of our international development; it funds development projects around the world through traditional loans, interest-free credits and grants. The World Bank Group produces some of the world’s leading research and publications concerning development policies and programs. The group also offers policy advice, analysis and technical assistance to developing countries throughout the project application process.
  13. The Earth Institute
    The Earth Institute is part of New York University and is directed by Jeffrey Sachs. It is comprised of two dozen research facilities in the fields of Earth and climate science, public health, economics, law, business and public policy. All of the organization’s research is focused on the future sustainability of our planet. The institute uses its research to develop policies and solutions to the world’s problems, especially in the areas of sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty.
  14. The Red Cross
    The Red Cross in an international NGO that provides urgent assistance to those affected by disaster through vaccination campaigns, disaster preparedness and by reconnecting families separated by conflict and natural disasters.
  15. Engineers Without Borders (EWB)
    Engineers Without Borders is fighting poverty in developing countries by providing real-world engineering solutions to tough problems all over the world. Whether that be through increasing access to clean drinking water in rural communities or building roads and dams, EWB is committed to community-driven development by working alongside community members.

There are thousands of other organizations that are working to do their part on local and international scales. These groups are all increasing standards of living and fighting poverty in developing countries.

Josh Ward

Photo: Flickr


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as “Transforming Our World”, are part of a U.N. initiative adopted in September 2015. The SDGs are designed to build on the Millennium Development Goals.

As former U.N. Development Program (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark explained, the goals “provide us with a common plan and agenda to tackle some of the pressing challenges facing our world such as poverty, climate change and conflict.” The 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals includes 17 global goals, which are as follows:

  1. No Poverty: An end to global poverty means ensuring a sustainable livelihood for all people.
  2. Zero Hunger: Work to achieve food security, improved nutrition, and the promotion of sustainable agriculture.
  3. Good Health and Wellbeing: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing through universal health coverage, production of safe and affordable medicines and vaccines and funding for research and development.
  4. Quality Education: Ensure that all boys and girls get free primary and secondary education and access to affordable vocational training, without experiencing gender and wealth biases.
  5. Gender Equality: Gender equality and female empowerment is a human right, as well as a necessity for sustainable development.
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation: Universal access to safe and affordable water requires investment by the international community in infrastructure and sanitation facilities, and taking steps to protect and restore forests, mountains, wetlands, and rivers.
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy: Critical to the achievement of many other SDGs, investing in infrastructure and technology to provide clean energy will also cause economic growth in developing countries.
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment for all people.
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Industrialization creates jobs and generates income, reducing poverty and increasing living standards for all people. Technological innovation encourages development and provides new jobs.
  10. Reduced Inequalities: Reducing income inequality, as well as inequalities based on race, sex, age, and other statuses, requires improvement in policies and regulations, promoting economic inclusion.
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Most of those who are living in extreme poverty reside in cities. Achieving sustainable development in cities requires providing access to affordable housing, investing in public transportation, and improving urban planning.
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production: Countries must change the way they produce and consume goods, minimizing the toxic materials used and waste generated in the production and consumption processes.
  13. Climate Action: Climate change affects every country. The international community is working together to develop sustainable low-carbon pathways to the future, and mobilizing $100 billion annually, by 2020, to meet the needs of developing countries.
  14. Life Below Water: Marine pollution has reached critical levels – every square kilometer of the ocean has an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic litter. Sustainable management and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution and the impact of ocean acidification is extremely important.
  15. Life On Land: Forests make up 30 percent of the Earth’s surface. They provide habitats for millions of animal, insect, and plant species, and are sources for clean air and water. The goal is to conserve and restore forests, wetlands, drylands and mountains by 2020.
  16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  17. Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation, and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

These 17 SDGs are bold and will require continued strong leadership to achieve. Many countries succeeded in achieving their Millennium Development Goals, so while there is a difficult road ahead it is not an impossible task to create a more prosperous and sustainable world for all.

Mary Barringer

Photo: Flickr