water news: the MDG’s, 10 years in.

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It’s been 10 years since the Millennium Development Goals were first drawn up. This week, diplomats, NGOs and guests convened here in NYC to discuss where we are — and aren’t — on track to achieve the MDG’s by 2015.

MDGs

the summit.

The world’s leaders came together at the United Nations headquarters to assess where we are in reaching the goals within in the next five years. Using a progress report issued by the UN in June, leaders debated and eventually pledged aid to specific areas they believed need the most concentrated effort if we’re to reach the MDG’s by five years from now.

so where are we?

There have been some serious leaps since 1990, including improving access to clean drinking water and primary education, narrowing the gender gap in school enrollment, and giving women more power in governments around the world. Almost a third of the 50 least developed countries have reduced under-five mortality rates by 40%+ and HIV rates have been sliced by 30% globally.

But hurdles remain — the recent economic crisis has pushed up any previous reductions in unemployment and poverty rates. Hunger plagues almost 200 million more people as of 2009 than it did in 1990. 67% of those living in Sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV after 1.9 million new infections in 2008.

mdg logo

The UN reports that the world is on track to meet the goal for access to safe drinking water (MDG 7). But we’re not on track for sanitation. About 2.6 billion people in the world don’t have access to basic sanitation. Water can significantly reduce the world’s disease burden — as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon mentioned at the conference, “Without water, there is no life,” — but it must be coupled with sanitation for maximum impact. Learn more about sanitation and how we support it here.

how is the summit supposed to help?

By Wednesday, the Summit leaders had drawn up a plan to reach each of the eight goals called Keeping the Promise: United to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The most active push of the summit was a $40 billion initiative to improve health for 16 million women and children around the world. This is aimed at MDG 4, reducing child mortality, and MDG 5, improving maternal health. See the other contributions pledged by governments and corporations here.

mashable’s #socialgood conference at 92Y.

A few members of the charity: water staff headed uptown Monday afternoon to the 92Y for Mashable’s #socialgood conference (thanks to Razorfish for getting us tickets!). The MDG’s were the pillar of discussions on stage — and we were inspired by those using social media to tell their stories and enact change.

“Everyone needs to pick an MDG — pick the one you’re passionate about, the one that speaks to you — and then work on it.”

– Dr. Lisa Masterson

One guest speaker, founder of Maternal Fetal Care International Dr. Lisa Masterson, shared the stories of women living without access to maternal health care and explained how hand-held ultrasound and other technologies can make a huge difference in the developing world. She’s one doctor — but she believes that one person can make a lasting difference if they commit to the MDG they’re passionate about. Her MDG is obviously #5. If you were to dedicate yourself to one, which would yours be?

where to learn more.

The Economist: Global targets, local ingenuity.
The magazine tracks the numbers and questions whether the MDG’s are the source of improvements.

Third Sector: Charities take MDGs from the summit to the streets and the tweets
The UK blog covers the social buzz behind the MDG summit. “If it was not for the work of charities and select sections of the media, I worry that the UN Millennium Development Goals summit and its purpose would have passed many people by.”

Voice of America: Africa makes progress, but still much to be done
The radio org discusses “Afro pessimism” after the MDG’s were first formed — and how it’s important to recognize Africa’s progress in the last two decades, even if not every goal is achieved by 2015.

The Guardian: The MDG Summit, minute-by-minute
Want to know the nitty-gritty of the MGD summit? The Guardian posted constant updates throughout the whole thing.

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