Gauging Food Security in the US as UN Adopts the SDGs

In a first, the Sustainable Development Goals will be applied to rich as well as poorer countries, a fundamental break with the Millennium Development Goals, which were focused on developing nations. By coincidence, the United States Department of Agriculture released its measures of American food security among its low-income population in early September, just before … Read more

Rights of Girls, a Politically Loaded Issue, May Sink in the New UN Development Goals

When member countries of the United Nations agreed to the Millennium Development Goals 15 years ago, advocates for stronger rights for women and girls were disappointed as governments (and the Vatican) balked at reasserting the bold promises of the international conferences of the 1990s in Cairo and in Beijing. Later campaigns, inside and outside the … Read more

Human Rights and the UN’s SDGs: A Sidelined Priority?

This month, a summit of world leaders at the United Nations is to adopt a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to take the relay from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have yielded mixed results when it comes to making the world a better place for peace, development and the universal realization of human … Read more

Can New UN Goals Put an End to Filthy Air in Beijing and Delhi?

Remarkably after a yearlong effort by environmental health advocates, air quality has been embedded in the new set of universal development goals for a sustainable future. Since an estimated 60 percent of the global population will live in cities by 2030, which is the deadline of the new goals, outdoor urban air quality is now … Read more

The General Assembly Blesses a New Set of Universal Development Goals

A schoolgirl in northern Nigeria

For some time, it seemed that United Nations debates over a new set of 15-year global development goals would last nearly as long as the goals themselves. But nearly three years of formal, informal and “informal informal” negotiations finally came to a close on Aug. 2, with agreement by General Assembly consensus on this hugely … Read more

The Sustainable Development Goals May Be in Place, but Dissent Was Apparent

It’s all over but the shouting. But the shouting is still loud, and it’s mostly about the indicators. And the indicators, ultimately, may be all that matters about the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals. After more than two years of complex, contentious negotiations, the essential content and most of the actual text of the … Read more

World Health Assembly Backs Calls to Strengthen Clean Air SDGs

Negotiations are entering the last stages of formulating the Sustainable Development Goals. For over a year, governments, the United Nations system, nongovernment organizations and parliamentarians have been engaged in negotiations on the next set of development goals, called SDGs, to succeed the eight Millennium Development Goals, which expire at the end of this year. The … Read more

No Room for LGBT Rights in the New UN Development Goals

Before this year ends, the United Nations will have committed itself and its 193 member governments to a new 15-year development strategy to be hailed as a blueprint for ending poverty, expanding social justice and strengthening equality. Equality for whom is the question. Missing by deliberate design from the new plan, called the Sustainable Development … Read more

Betting on a Data Revolution to Help Manage UN Development Goals

The United Nations is positioning itself to turn the vast amount of digital data generated by users all over the world into a key source of information to help write and track the goals for the post-2015 development agenda. The aim is to seize for development purposes data generated by individuals through digital networks, cellphone … Read more

Will Statisticians Get the Last Word on the UN’s New Development Goals?

There are three things you need to know about the negotiations over the United Nations’ next set of global development goals, which will be adopted by world leaders at the General Assembly this September and remain in effect for the next 15 years: Almost everybody agrees that the proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and … Read more

Rising Attacks and Cultural Obstacles Denying Education for Girls

In the few months remaining before a new set of development goals are set to be adopted in the United Nations to replace the Millennium Development Goals, specialists in many fields will be drilling down into why some of those MDGs have fallen short — sometimes far short — of their aspirations, especially in the … Read more

Maternal Death Rates Fall in Zimbabwe, With Outside Support

HARARE, Zimbabwe – As maternal mortality remains the most lagging Millennium Development Goal and a new set of development goals is being written this year, one focus will undoubtedly stay fixed on decreasing maternal death rates in the developing world. Nations there account for 99 percent of global maternal deaths, with countries in sub-Saharan Africa … Read more

The Post-2015 Goals: People Around the World Talk Back

Advocates offering some alternative ideas and a few dissenting views on the Sustainable Development Goals on track to be adopted by the United Nations at a special session later this year are convening on Jan. 26 in New York to air opinions from all major developing regions on this critical new proposed set of policies. … Read more

2015: A Year of Potential Landmarks for the UN

By almost every measure, this year will be monumental for the United Nations. The organization will be 70 years old and that will inspire, as anniversaries always do, a lot of stocktaking, analysis and, of course, criticism. Past stumbles will get attention and an army of  “reformers” will offer prescriptions for the future. In 2015, … Read more

In 2014, a Year of Catastrophes, Women Still Made Some Gains

Amid the horrors that women and girls have suffered around the world in 2014 — including being forced to flee their homes by the hundreds of thousands in Syria, the sexual enslavement of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and the kidnapping and forced conversion to radical Islam of girls from schools in northern Nigeria — … Read more

Malnutrition, a Problem the World Over

A new report on global nutrition levels has found that malnutrition affects every country in the world except two, and that countries are facing more complex, overlapping forms of malnutrition that require more attention. The two exceptional countries, China and South Korea, made the data cutoff rates for levels of anemia, obesity and stunting — … Read more

Can Good Governance Become a Global Development Goal?

British Prime Minister David Cameron had two clear messages when he spoke at a post-2015 global development goals forum on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last month. The first was his emphatic view that the General Assembly panel’s proposal for 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated “targets” was too unwieldy and … Read more

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