Tag Archives: Millenium Development Goals

Measuring Poverty Post-2015: Looking Beyond Income

Adanna Chukwuma

Despite the progress the world has made towards eliminating extreme poverty, one in five people on the planet are still unable to provide for their most basic needs. A report by the High Level Panel—a 27 member group advising the United Nations on a global development framework beyond the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—on the post-2015 development addresses this unacceptable statistic by placing the eradication of poverty on the global agenda.  The question that begs answering: ‘What and whose poverty?

Pause for a moment and picture Aisha: She is a young widow who lives in rural northern Nigeria.  She has five children, but cannot afford to send them to school. They live in a thatch-roofed wooden hut, and the closest source of potable water is 50 km away. Aisha earns an average of $2 a day. Would you describe Aisha as poor and why is this important? On the national and global scale, two reasons immediately come to mind. The adopted measure of poverty will guide who is targeted with scarce development resources and how we assess meeting national and global poverty goals. In addition, measures can be powerful drivers of change along the direction of whatever is assessed. Read More »

First in Queue: How improving water access for the poor can help meet other Millennium Development Goals.

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The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to reduce by half the number of people without access to clean water by 2015 as target ten of goal number seven: ensure environmental sustainability. And—although this fact remains controversial*—this target was met three years early in March 2012. However, this is not a cause for complacency since, according to the 2012 report by the Joint Monitoring Program—the body that carries out MDGs target assessments—780 million people are still at the back of the queue for access to clean water. In the future, improving access to water for the remaining three quarters of a million people without it will need to become a bigger, more crosscutting priority because it has much more to offer than environmental sustainability. Read More »

Why Science Matters for Development

 

My attention was recently caught by the website of a conference entitled ‘Science Against Poverty‘. It was held in Segovia, Spain, in 2010 with the aim “to convey a clear message to society on the contribution of science and innovation to the fight against poverty and exclusion.”

If you’re not a scientist, you may well wonder how science, and in particular fields such as physics, can contribute to poverty exclusion. (There are, in fact, entire conferences dedicated to this topic – see for instance the 2012 conference ‘Physics for Development‘). The fight against poverty is one in which emotions run high, everyone has their own opinion as to the best course of action, and it is impossible to detach oneself from the ‘human’ factor. As such, it may appear that this is no place for abstract science, and that diplomacy and empathy would be preferred over scientific objectivity.

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Graphics: Why investing in girls and women is key to development

What exactly leads to development is a topic of great debate in academic and practical circles. Proposed cures for underdevelopment vary from providing infrastructure to enacting large-scale macro-economic reforms. Yet, often, there is little conclusive evidence of many solutions’ consistently marked effects on different countries’ economic prosperity or social and environmental cohesion. One factor that does stand out, which is frequently promoted in reports by the likes of the World Bank, United Nations (UN), the OECD, ActionaAid and even Forbes Magazine as the key to achieving all Millennium Development Goals, is investment in the health, education and equality of women.

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Why Technology Deserves a Prominent Place in Post MDGs Development

Yesterday my grandfather turned 83. There he is in the picture below. The incredible half century gap between the before and after nostalgic snaps are shot next to his lifelong toy and companion: His Morse Code radio.

According the International Amateur Radio Union, more than two million amateur radio lovers just like my grandpa surf the radio waves in search of making connections with others all around the world. I am constantly reminded of the global popularity of this as a pastime when the conversation between us always and inevitably turns to his radio activities and latest certificates he gained. Read More »

Coca-Cola, Obesity and Health in Guatemala: Why We Need a More Holistic Approach to Economic Development

There is more to life than money and by now it is well established that gross domestic product (GDP) is an inadequate measure of development. It allows for a crude assessment of economic activity within a country, but does not account for side effects known as externalities. These include environmental destruction and pollution, human lives lost in other countries from the development and sales of weapons technologies or negative effects on health of products and technologies that otherwise make money and therefore contribute to GDP. Furthermore, negative contributions of products developed by tobacco, weapons and other companies all count towards a positive GDP figure, further diminishing the emphasis we should place on it as an indicator of human progress. Read More »

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