Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 6 aims to tackle challenges related to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for populations, as well as to water-related ecosystems. Without quality, sustainable water resources and sanitation, progress in many other areas across the SDGs, including health, education and poverty reduction, will also be held back. 

  •  In 2015, 5.2 billion people (71 per cent of the global population) used a “safely managed” drinking water service—an improved source located on premises, available when needed and free from contamination.
  •  In 2015, 2.9 billion people (39 per cent of the global population) used a “safely managed” sanitation service—a basic facility that safely disposed of human waste.
  •  Open defecation, practised by 892 million people (12 per cent of the global population) in 2015, continues to pose serious health risks.
  •  More than 2 billion people globally are living in countries with excess water stress. Northern Africa and Western Asia, as well as Central and Southern Asia, experience water stress levels above 60 per cent, indicating the strong probability of future water scarcity. 
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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Gender inequality persists worldwide, depriving women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination often resulting from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms. 

  •  One in five girls and women (aged 15 to 49) who have ever been married or in union reported they had been subjected to physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months, according to surveys undertaken between 2005  and 2016 in 87 countries.
  •  Around 2000, nearly one in three women between 20 and 24 years of age reported  that they were married before age 18; around 2015, the ratio had declined to roughly  one in four.
  •  According to surveys undertaken around 2015 in 30 countries where the practice of female genital mutilation is concentrated, over a third (35 per cent) of girls between  the ages of 15 and 19 had been subjected to the procedure. 
  •  On average, women spent almost triple the amount of time on unpaid domestic and  care work as men, based on data from 2000 to 2016.
  •  Women’s participation in single or lower houses of national parliaments worldwide reached only 23.4 per cent in 2017. In the majority of the 67 countries with data from 2009 to 2015, fewer than a third of senior- and middle-management positions were  held by women.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 4 aims to ensure that all people have access to quality education and the opportunity for lifelong learning. The Goal goes beyond school enrolment and looks at proficiency levels, the availability of trained teachers and adequate school facilities, and disparities  in education outcomes. 

  •  In 2014, 2 out of 3 children worldwide participated in pre-primary or primary  education in the year prior to the official entrance age for primary school, compared  to only 4 in 10 children in the poorest countries. 
  •  Despite considerable gains in primary school enrolment between 2000 and 2014, 9 per cent of primary-school-aged children worldwide were out of school in 2014,  with little progress since 2008. 
  •  Surveys undertaken between 2007 and 2015 in selected countries show that children and adolescents from the richest 20 per cent of households achieved greater proficiency in reading than those from the poorest 20 per cent of households, and urban children scored higher in reading than rural children.
  •  Data for 2011 indicate that only about one quarter of schools in sub-Saharan Africa had electricity, less than half had access to drinking water, and only 69 per cent had toilets (with many lacking separate sanitation facilities for girls and boys).

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 3 addresses all major health priorities and calls for improving reproductive, maternal and child health; ending communicable diseases; reducing non-communicable diseases and other health hazards; and ensuring universal access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines as well as health coverage. 

  •  Between 2000 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 37 per cent, and the under-5 mortality rate fell by 44 per cent. However, 303,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth and 5.9 million children under age 5 died worldwide in 2015. Most of these deaths were from preventable causes. 
  •  The period between 2000 and 2015 saw a 46 per cent reduction in HIV incidence; a 17 per cent decline in the incidence of tuberculosis; a 41 per cent decrease in the incidence of malaria; and a 21 per cent drop in people requiring mass or individual treatment and care for neglected tropical diseases. 
  •  The risk of dying between the ages of 30 and 70 from one of four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs)—cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease—fell from 23 per cent to 19 per cent between 2000 and 2015, not rapidly enough to meet the 2030 target.
  •  Nearly 800,000 suicides occurred worldwide in 2015, with men about twice as likely  to die by suicide as women.
  •  In 2013, around 1.25 million people died from road traffic injuries, an increase of 13 per cent since 2000.
  •  Globally in 2012, household air pollution from cooking with unclean fuels and inefficient technologies led to an estimated 4.3 million deaths; another 3 million deaths were attributed to ambient air pollution from traffic, industrial sources, waste burning and residential fuel combustion

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 2 addresses a fundamental human need—access to nutritious, healthy food, and the means by which it can be sustainably secured for everyone. Tackling hunger cannot be addressed by increasing food production alone. Well-functioning markets, increased incomes for smallholder farmers, equal access to technology and land, and additional investments all play a role in creating a vibrant and productive agricultural sector that builds food security. 

  •  The proportion of undernourished people worldwide declined from 15 per cent in  2000-2002 to about 11 per cent in 2014-2016. Globally, about 793 million people  were undernourished in 2014-2016, down from 930 million in 2000-2002. 
  •  Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 63 per cent of undernourished people worldwide in 2014-2016. 
  •  In 2016, an estimated 155 million children under age 5 were stunted (low height for their age), 52 million were suffering from wasting (low weight for their height), and 41 million were overweight. Globally, the stunting rate fell from 33 per cent in 2000 to 23 per cent in 2016.
  •  The share of aid to agriculture in sector-allocable aid from member countries of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for economic Co-operation and Development fell from nearly 20 per cent in the mid-1980s to 7 per cent in 2015.


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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Giving people in every part of the world the support they need to lift themselves out of poverty in all its manifestations is the very essence of sustainable development. Goal 1 focuses on ending poverty through interrelated strategies, including the promotion of social protection systems, decent employment and building the resilience of the poor.

  • An estimated 767 million people lived below the extreme poverty line in 2013,  down from 1.7 billion people in 1999. This represents a reduction in the global  rate of extreme poverty from 28 per cent in 1999 to 11 per cent in 2013. 
  •  Almost 10 per cent of the employed population worldwide lived with their families  on less than 1.90 US dollars per person per day in 2016. Vulnerability was much  higher for younger workers: 9 per cent of adult workers and their families lived in extreme poverty compared to 15 per cent of youth workers.
  •  In 2016, only 22 per cent of the unemployed worldwide received unemployment benefits, 28 per cent of people with severe disabilities collected a disability pension, 35 per cent of children were covered by social protection, 41 per cent of women giving birth received maternity benefits, and 68 per cent of people above retirement age collected a pension. 
  •  economic losses from natural hazards are now reaching an average of 250 billion to 300 billion US dollars a year, with a disproportionate impact on small and vulnerable countries. 

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017 reviews progress made towards the 17 Goals in the second year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report is based on the latest available data. It highlights both gains and challenges as the international community moves towards full realization of the ambitions and principles espoused in the 2030 Agenda. 
While considerable progress has been made over the past decade across all areas of development, the pace of progress observed in previous years is insufficient to fully meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets by 2030. Time is therefore of the essence. Moreover, as the following pages show, progress has not always been equitable. Advancements have been uneven across regions, between the sexes, and among people of different ages, wealth and locales, including urban and rural dwellers. Faster and more inclusive progress is needed to accomplish the bold vision articulated in the 2030 Agenda. 

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Women in their environment

We are all exposed to chemicals which are in the air we breathe, the soil we harvest our food from, and the water we drink. Air pollution via chemicals can occur via industrial emissions, chemical accidents and other sources. Air serves as a long-range transporting vehicle for some pollutants, which makes chemical pollution a trans-boundary concern. Many of the toxins initially emitted to air are later deposited to water. Other chemicals are directly released to water or enter the water system via consumer products, agricultural products, leaking landfills, and industrial discharges. Contaminated soil results mostly from atmospheric deposition, waste dumping, spills from industrial and waste facilities, mining, contaminated water coming from e.g. fracking, and pesticides used in agriculture. Many common pollutants in soil and water are heavy metals and pesticides. In the air some contaminants are persistent organic pollutants, which are partly banned in the Stockholm Convention. 

There is only few valid statistical data available about the exposure specifically of women to contaminants in soil, air and water. More gender disaggregated data is urgently needed in this field. We can only assume that on a regular basis, without taking into account hot spots of contamination, women are equally exposed. Nevertheless, they are not equally affected and can develop different negative health effects to men.

However, some examples illustrate gender aspects regarding chemical contamination from their environment. The NGO Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) highlights that “air pollutants account for 35 of the 216 chemicals associated with increase in mammary gland tumours in animals.”79 As main sources of exposure from air pollution BCF lists primary and secondary tobacco smoking, diesel exhaust, and occupational exposure. As main water pollutants pesticides, dioxins and pharmaceuticals are mentioned. A WHO study finds that „differences in vulnerability interact with gender inequalities to affect women’s respiratory function. Swedish data show that women report ailments in the form of allergies and respiratory or skin hypersensitivity to a greater extent than men. In Bordeaux, the effects of air pollution were greater for women than for men among the elderly and, in Barcelona, older women were at greater risk of dying as a result of exposure to black smoke than were men.“ 80 Living near areas that are highly polluted by obsolete pesticides and POPs dumping, chemical accidents, industrial and military use, and mining, is a severe health threat for women in many areas of the world. International organisations assume that there are 500,000 tons of obsolete chemicals stockpiled worldwide.82 Countries with the highest stockpiles of obsolete pesticides are the Russian Federation, FYR Macedonia, Ukraine, and Mali.83 Most of the stockpiles are not safe, with substances stored in unsafe and sometimes open places. Packages and containers deteriorate over time. Often it is unknown what kind of substances are stockpiled. Toxins can leak to groundwater and to water systems and emit into the air. They can also contaminate livestock and crops nearby the vicinity. People living near stockpiles have a high risk of developing negative health effects of endocrine, nervous, immune, respiratory, and reproductive systems, which can lead to asthma, cancer, infertility, allergies and other diseases. Clean up of chemical hot spots is incredibly expensive. In many cases only safe storing is undertaken, instead of elimination. 

Some hot spots arise from industrial activities and mining. For example, in Albania the former chlor alkali and PVC plant in Vlora directly discharged its wastewater into Vlora bay and dumped its polluted sludge near the shore, where it remains today. The plant operated for 25 years and was closed in 1992. No precautionary measures have been taken in these years and since the shut down. The found mercury levels in a soil sample were 1000 times higher than typical EU thresholds. Vlora bay is an important fish area in Albania.84 Eating contaminated fish and other food or drinking contaminated water is even more dangerous for pregnant women, as the developing child can suffer later in life from neurological problems like attention deficits, IQ loss and in some cases even deafness and blindness. 

It is very difficult to retrieve gender disaggregated data regarding chemical hot spots. However, many studies show that there is a strong link between several diseases such as breast cancer and living near POPs and pesticides hot spots. Much effort is needed to map, store and finally clean up those contaminated sites. Clean up costs are so tremendous that many countries cannot afford it. This is one reason why many NGOs demand for an internalization of cost scheme on international level to implement the polluter pays principle. Furthermore research for cost effective and safe elimination of POPs stockpiles should be supported, as safe alternatives to incineration

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