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Biggest Global Issues
Hundreds of millions of people around the world experience insufficient living conditions due to environmental factors, displacement, disease, poverty or some combination of the four. Here is a list of the biggest global issues that plague humankind.

The Biggest Global Issues Facing Mankind

1. Food and Malnutrition

  • Food and nutrition are essential for just about every life form on the planet, especially humankind. Although countries such as China, India, Brazil and the United States produce vast amounts of food for the world, about one in nine people will not eat enough food today. Malnourishment leads to the inability of about 795 million people to lead active and healthy lives around the globe.

  • Malnutrition leads to poor health and can stunt development in education and employment. According to The Food Aid Foundation, 66 million school-aged children will go to school hungry today. Consistent hunger in schools is linked to a lack of concentration.

  • World hunger has decreased by about 219 million people within the past two decades. It is through the innovative and ambitious work of organizations like the World Food Programme, in partnership with governments and communities, that the world can fill empty stomachs and provide communities with the resources to fill their own stomachs without aid, overtime.

  • The World Food Programme provides the Home Grown School Feeding Programme to counter the effects of consistent hunger in schools. One model of the  Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Kenya provides school meals to over 600 million schoolchildren. The organization purchases the meals from local farmers which helps boost Kenya’s agriculture-dependent economy. Constant meals in school serve as an incentive for poor families to send their children to school every day and enhance the quality of children’s education by reducing hunger.

2. Access to Clean Water

  • Water covers about 70 percent of planet Earth. Inadequate water supply, water supply access and lack of sanitation kill millions of people annually. Used for drinking and hygiene practices, lack of water sanitation is a leading cause of child mortality around the world.

  • Two days of the year educate the world about one of the biggest global issues facing humankind: the global water crisis. World Water Day and World Toilet Day are reminders that 700 million people around the globe could be facing displacement due to decreased access to fresh water by 2030. Severe droughts are a major reason for displacement. When there is no more water for drinking or for crops and livestock, people must leave their homes in search of a place where there is an adequate supply of water.

  • Within the past two decades, the percentage of countries without basic sanitation services decreased by 17 percent. Forty countries are on track to receive universal basic sanitation services by the year 2030. In the meantime, 88 countries are progressing too slowly in their sanitation advancements and 24 countries are decreasing in their advances toward universal sanitation coverage.

  • The Water Project is committed to providing safe water to Africa. It builds wells and dams to provide access to safe water. The project also delivers improved technology for more sanitary toilets that keep flies away. The Water Project provides and monitors 157 water projects in Sierra Leone including wells, dams and sanitary toilets. The Water Project builds these projects in schools and communities in the Port Loko region of Sierra Leone, serving some 7,000 Sierra Leoneans. The Water Project’s save water initiative impacts over 40,000 people on the continent of Africa.

3. Refugee Crisis

  • The refugee crisis is one of the biggest global issues facing humankind today. Refugees are seeking asylum from persecution, conflict and violence. A grand total of 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. Some 54 percent of those displaced are children.

  • Developing countries host a third of the world’s refugees. Many refugees reside in the neighboring countries of those they left behind. Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan and Lebanon lead the world in hosting refugees.

  • Asylum seekers from Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan continuously flee ongoing persecution, conflict and violence in their home countries. More recently, four million Venezuelans have fled their home country, 460 thousand of whom are seeking asylum in Spain, Central America and North America.

  • Venezuelans are fleeing dire political unrest and hyperinflation. Shortages in food, water, electricity and medicine also afflict the country. The Red Cross now provides at least $60 million worth of aid to Venezuela, reaching at least 650,000 Venezuelans. The World Vision Organization delivers aid to Venezuelan refugees in Venezuela’s neighboring countries. For example, in Colombia, World Vision provides economic empowerment, education, food and health essentials to some 40,000 refugees.

4. AIDS Epidemic

  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a longstanding global issue. With at least 36.9 million AIDS or HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) infections around the world, the disease is one of the biggest global issues facing humankind. Since 2004, AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by over half. In 2004, almost two million people worldwide died of AIDS-related illnesses, compared to 940,000 in 2017.

  • Organizations like the International AIDS Society, UNAIDS, Kaiser Family Foundation and PEPFAR are dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. These organizations help to ensure that infected people have access to treatment and the opportunity to live healthy lives. Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) are 14 times more likely to contract HIV than boys. The DREAM initiative by PEPFAR and partners prioritizes the safety of AGYW against new HIV infections. PEPFAR is reaching at least 144,000 AGYW in Kenya, one country where HIV infections are most prevalent.

  • Although there is currently no cure, UNAIDS has a Sustainable Development Goal of bringing the number of new HIV infections down to zero by the year 2030. The Kaiser Family Foundation conducts research and analyzes data regarding U.S. AIDS policy and funding, both domestic and globally. It serves as a source of information about AIDS and other global health issues for U.S. policymakers and the media.

5. Eradicating Poverty

  • Poverty is the lack of income necessary to access basic everyday needs and/or living below a specific country’s standard of living. Living in poverty can result in malnutrition,  poor health, fewer opportunities for education and increased illness. With an estimated 783 million people living in poverty, eradicating poverty is one of the biggest global issues facing humankind.

  • Malnutrition, contaminated water, the refugee crisis and the AIDS epidemic all contain some aspects of poverty. Organizations like the United Nations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focus on sustainable development strategies to alleviate global poverty. The number of people living in poverty has decreased by half, thanks to the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals have lifted at least one billion people out of extreme poverty within the last two decades.

  • The Gates Foundation is proving that poverty can be ameliorated through Agricultural Transformation. Increasing a country’s food production can counter malnutrition and boost the country’s economy by increasing farmer’s crop productivity. Poverty in Ethiopia has decreased by at least 45 percent since the Gates Foundation first started investing in agricultural development there in 2006. Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, is witnessing an overall increase in its economy.

With the help of innovative organizations partnered with governments, the world is implementing practical techniques to help eliminate hunger, water scarcity, AIDS/HIV and poverty from the list of the biggest global issues facing humankind. Eliminating these problems will improve the living conditions of millions of people around the world, including refugees and internally displaced people.

– Rebekah Askew
Photo: Flickr

World Water Day 2019While water might seem like a basic necessity, more than 650 million people worldwide lack easy access to clean water. Every year, the United Nations sponsors World Water Day. World Water Day raises awareness about global water crises, demonstrating the need for water in developing nations. Take a look at these interesting facts about how the U.N. celebrated World Water Day 2019.

5 Interesting Facts About World Water Day 2019

  1. “Leaving No One Behind”
    The theme for World Water Day 2019 was “Leaving No One Behind.” Technology is providing new methods to increase access to clean water. Additionally, it mobilizes programs combating water scarcity. Above all, technology connects individuals interested in making a difference, no matter where they are. However, these advances can’t only benefit privileged populations. Improvements must be available to marginalized groups, as well. World Water Day 2019 emphasized access to clean water is a human right, as recognized by the U.N. in 2010. Everyone deserves water, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, religion or age.
  2. USAID’s Strategy
    The U.S. government is working to implement a strategy to improve global water access through the U.S. Agency for International Development. While the fight to bring access to clean water is global, USAID renewed its commitment to providing clean drinking water this World Water Day. As such, USAID supports the core objectives outlined in the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy. These objectives include promoting better stewardship of freshwater resources and expanding the availability of sanitation services. Additionally, USAID is enacting policy and programs aimed at providing 15 million people access to clean water by 2022.
  3. “Water Action Decade”
    This World Water Day marked the first completed year of the U.N.’s “Water Action Decade.” Three years ago, the U.N. General Assembly unanimously decided to make the global water crisis a top priority for 10 years straight. The “Water Action Decade” kicked off in 2018. Therefore, efforts to increase sustainable water management and access to safe water will last through World Water Day 2028. And nations around the world execute large-scale programs, addressing water scarcity stemming from pollution, drought and urbanization.
  4. Women and Water
    Women played a key role in the message of World Water Day 2019. While many suffer due to water scarcity, women disproportionately carry the burden. According to U.N. research, women and girls make up the majority of people responsible for obtaining water in areas where clean water isn’t accessible. Collectively, women devote around 200 million hours to finding and gathering clean water. Subsequently, a major goal for World Water Day 2019 was improving women’s access to water, which can lead to awesome opportunities that promote independence for women. Therefore, the U.N. sponsors women-led projects in rural areas to include women in community decisions about water as just one part of its commitment to improving universal access to clean water worldwide.
  5. U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
    In fact, World Water Day is just one example of U.N. efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6. Overall, the U.N. has agreed on 17 different goals to promote sustainable development worldwide, specifically in growing and impoverished nations. These Sustainable Development Goals must meet their goals by 2030. Particularly, the primary task of Sustainable Development Goal 6 is to make water safe, affordable and accessible universally. And World Water Day marks just one of many U.N. efforts to reach this crucial goal on target. Ultimately, the first step in achieving universal access to clean water is raising awareness.

Nevertheless, on World Water Day 2019, nations joined hands to strengthen efforts toward making clean water accessible worldwide. The celebration honored organizations that provide aid, unite communities and save lives. And they celebrate innovations that revolutionize water management, along with the people dedicated to campaigning for water access without leaving anyone behind.

Emmitt Kussrow
Photo: Unsplash

water fund
USAID was one of many organizations to celebrate World Water Day on March 22. USAID’s Water and Development Strategy focuses on using water programs in developing countries to improve health and fight poverty.

In 2014, Senator Paul Simon created the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate, and was signed into law by President Obama. The Act supports more targeted, effective and sustainable investments in water, sanitation and hygiene, known as WASH programs.

Both the Act and Water Strategy recognize that WASH programs need to be sustainable, designed to have lasting impact over time in order to better the lives of future generations. They also need to build stronger foundations for those countries.

Approximately 2.5 billion people live without access to sanitation every day, and another 748 million live without safe drinking water. Unsanitary environments and infected water increase the chances of lifelong illnesses, low incomes, malnourishment and fatalities. In fact, an estimated 622,000 children die each year from diarrheal diseases, which is most often water-related. Every minute, a child dies from a water-related disease.

For many, the closest access to a water source is miles away, requiring hours of walking in the hot sun. Water.org conducted a survey of 45 African countries, the majority answering that women and children bear the primary responsibility for water collection in the majority of households.

If every gallon of water was supplied, women and children would have more time to take care of their homes, loved ones, attend school and earn money. For every safe sanitation facility, another girl could spend more time in school during her menstruation, avoiding the risk of sexual assault when she does not have access to a facility.

The work to increase access to water and sanitation will reduce enormous suffering. In the 2013 Fiscal Year alone, USAID’s worldwide programs helped make sanitation facilities available to nearly 1.3 million people and improved access to drinking water for more than 3.5 million people.

– Alaina Grote

Sources: Water.org,  USAID 1,  USAID 2
Photo: USAID

Protect the Forests!When talking about water on World Water Day, one cannot forget forests. Forests cover approximately a third of the entire globe and provide support for more than 1.6 billion people and thousands of different animal species. Forests are the source of 75 percent of all freshwater, help combat climate change by storing more carbon than is in the environment,  and are suppliers of wood-based fuel. Forests are important to the welfare of everyone.

Yet, each year, more than 13 million hectares of forest land is being destroyed. This fact has caused UN Chief, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to urge businesses, governments, and people at large to pledge to protect forests and all of those who rely on forests to live. Protecting forests does not just mean reducing deforestation, which is occurring more rapidly because of urbanization and increased agriculture. Currently, deforestation accounts for over 10 percent of the gas emissions that are affecting global warming. And while expansion is necessary, it must be done in a way that does not infringe too much on the vital forests that exist across the world.

Forests must also be protected against climate changes, making it even more urgent for the global community to address climate changes. It is affecting all aspects of life, from figuring out where to vacation for the summer to farming cycles to certain animal migration or moving patterns to forests, the largest producer of freshwater.

Ban Ki-moon said that “We need now to intensify efforts to protect forests, including by incorporating them into the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals.” Making forests a major part in sustainable development goals will benefit the planet in the future.

– Angela Hooks

Source: allAfrica
Photo: WWF

World Water Day at The Borgen Project HQsOn 22nd March, World Water Day, some of us at The Borgen Project HQs in Seattle, took to the streets to raise awareness about the scarcity of clean water around the world.

Healthy lives with access to clean water are the motto of World Water Day.

As we distributed free water bottles, we informed people about the 800 million people who don’t have access to clean water in the developing world.

Some people stopped to listen – and that’s what we enjoyed most.

The more people pay attention to the global issues we at The Borgen Project campaign for, the more important these issues get and chances improve of them being addressed at the political level, internationally.

Enjoy the video and join our cause!

Mantra Roy

Photo: Flickr

China_World_Water_Day_Contamination
As the UN marks another annual World Water Day, all eyes were focused on Shanghai as the number of dead pigs dragged from rivers that supply the city with water was upped to nearly 16,000 within the last two weeks. Although Chinese officials claim that the incident is not related to water toxicity, the international community has become increasingly concerned as new reports claim that water contamination is the leading cause of illness in the country.

Last week, UNICEF released an alarming study that claims 90 percent of child deaths throughout China were related to bad hygiene and sanitation, and diarrheal disease through polluted water sources. An additional study done by Greenpeace East Asia corroborates these figures and also states that nearly 25 percent of the population has no source of safe drinking water, and an additional 190 million people who are forced to drink from contaminated sources.

Adding to concern is the annual water outlook study by OECD that states demand for water will rise by 55 percent within the next 37 years, while depletion of groundwater sources continues to occur, which the study says will become a major issue for certain regions within the next 10 to 20 years.

Although water access and contamination is slated to reach crisis levels throughout much of the developing world within the next few decades, governments have done relatively little to tackle this issue, with more focusing heavily on energy development and putting water sanitation to the side.

Christina Kindlon

Source: Guardian

Drop4Drop
Buy one get one free, limited time sales, 20% off; these are all common sales terms that we see everyday. Promotions, something to give a customer that extra incentive to purchase a product, simple sales strategies. Well, what if that promotion involved saving lives? Drop 4 Drop is doing just that.

Drop 4 Drop is a non-profit that teams up with businesses and individuals to help balance their water use by creating innovative business offers. One example is the upcoming promotion that has been organized between Drop 4 Drop and Airconergy. March 22nd was International World Water Day, a United Nations created day, that encourages people to focus on the importance of fresh drinking water and water security in the world.

Airconergy has pledged that they will give the funds needed to build a new freshwater well for every 100 of their HVAC chips that they sell that day. Each well would be able to provide water for an estimated 2,000 people. Conscience marketing has been done before, and it is huge. Fair trade product like coffee and jewels are good examples, but this sort of promotion takes that one step further. Some may say that this sort of “promotion” is simply good advertising and business savvy. Granted that it may not be the exactly the same thing as simply building a number of wells, but it is a fantastic move within the for-profit world to help people living in severe poverty. So, if you need any HVAC chips…

– Kevin Sullivan

Source: Beaumont Enterprise
Photo: Twibbon.com

world-water-day-2013-water-cooperation_opt
Is water a commodity or a human right? Too many people, governments, and institutions see water as something merely to be bought and sold, and not as something every person on earth needs for survival. Like food, health care, educational and economic opportunities, and many of the other things we write about on the blog, safe water is a human right and necessity.

Since 1993, the UN has designated March 22 as World Water Day. World Water Day serves to bring attention to, advocate for sustainable management of, and celebrate clean, fresh water.

2013 has also been designated the International Year of Water Cooperation, so this year’s World Water Day holds special significance. Events will be held across the globe to foster international cooperation around water. Because of the organization’s interdisciplinary approach to world problems, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will coordinate World Water Day on behalf of UN-Water.

World Water Day serves many purposes, including raising public awareness of water issues facing the globe and advocating for improvements in water management. Access to clean, safe drinking water is a major health concern among the world’s poorest populations. 88 percent of cases of diarrhea, the number one cause of death and illness in the world, are due to a lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Almost a billion people do not have access to improved water sources, while 2.5 billion live without adequate sanitation facilities.

While the statistics are disturbing, we can do something to improve these conditions. World Water Day is an opportunity to learn about water issues and take action on behalf of those whose basic water needs are not being met. To learn more about World Water Day 2013 and the International Year of Water Cooperation, visit the UN’s World Water Day page.

– Kat Henrichs
Source: UN-Water
Photo:UN

From March 16 to 25, close to 200,000 people all around the world will take part in walks for water in a global event aimed at bringing awareness to the need for clean water and safe sanitation. With 25 countries including the US, the UK, Bangladesh, Belgium, Nepal, Colombia, and Cameroon in participation, the project called “the World Walks for Water” is set to be the largest people power event this year.

Organized by the World Walks for Water and Sanitation Campaign, the project hopes to highlight the millions of Africans, overwhelmingly women and children, who have to walk great distances on a daily basis for water and lack proper sanitation. Over 330 million Africans or 39 percent of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa live without access to clean water. 600 million or 70 percent go without safe sanitation. Every year 400,000 African children under the age of five die due to diarrheal diseases caused by lack of clean water and safe sanitation.

The walks for water will take place on the week of the 20th Anniversary of World Water Day on March 22, designated by the United Nations. In Sierra Leone, Kenya, Liberia, Ghana, Malawi, and other African countries, people are organizing to call upon political leaders to keep their promises on sanitation and water. Natasha Horsfield, the coordinator for the World Walks for Water campaign in the UK, said, “It’s time to tell world leaders that it’s not acceptable for 2,000 children to be dying every day.”

– Rafael Panlilio

Source: End Water PovertyGhana Business News