SubscribeSubscribe to this blog's feed
175 posts categorized "Millennium Development Goals"
On September 17, The Road to Good Nutrition was released at the 20th International Congress of Nutrition in Granada, Spain. This new book on best practices in nutrition brings together the experiences and insights of experts in the field to forge collective action on malnutrition. It is part of the Vitamins in Motion campaign conducted by Sight and Life, the nutrition think tank of DSM, a global science-based company active in health and nutrition.
Bread for the World Institute director Asma Lateef served on the editorial board for the book and contributed a chapter, "Speaking Up for Nutrition: The Role of Civil Society," which describes hunger and malnutrition as an unfinished agenda and argues that food security and nutrition should be explicitly addressed as part of a set of global development goals that follow the Millennium Development Goals, whose deadline is December 2015. Reducing childhood stunting -- a clear indicator of chronic malnutrition that causes irreversible damage to a child's physical and cognitive development -- should be a priority.
Civil society organizations are uniquely positioned to advocate for greater attention to hunger and malnutrition, and can play an important role in elevating nutrition as a priority for the next set of development goals. Lateef concludes that communicating the fundamental role that good nutrition plays during pregnancy and early childhood must be an integral part of advocacy efforts.
Other chapters include "Preventing Stunting: Why It Matters, What It Takes," "The Economic Cost of Malnutrition," and "Making Nutrition Good Politics: The Power of Governance."
"Undernutrition in all its forms is still responsible for almost half of the world’s child mortality. Other malnourished children survive, but they cannot thrive. The Road to Good Nutrition pulls together the latest evidence on underlying causes and priority solutions. It demands to be widely read, and its findings deserve to be taken very seriously."
Patrick Webb, Dean for Academic Affairs, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University
Last week, the United Nations Children'sFund (UNICEF) released its 2013 progress report Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed. The report details trends in under-5 mortality over the past two decades. It also provides highlights and statistics of the work that has already been to date. The big news in the report is that despite overwhelming odds, Ethiopia has already achieved the Millennium Development Goal 4 Target A: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-5 mortality rate. This is worth celebrating given that the country faces a number of challenges, including a severe shortage of doctors and health professionals. For instance, with a population of over 80 million, there is one doctor for every 36,000 people. Additionally, Ethiopia is one of the 34 countries that account for 90% of the global burden of malnutrition.
Ethiopia's tremendous progress on MDG 4 has been made possible by its political commitment at the country level and external support, which have enabled use of innovative programs like frontline health extension workers within communities.
Photo credit: USAID
Other examples of country progress highlighted in the report include:
- In Bangladesh, under-five mortality rate decreased by 72 per cent from 1990 to 2012, mainly thanks to expanding immunization for children, delivering oral rehydration therapy to treat diarrhoea, and providing Vitamin A supplementation. Expanding a network of community health workers also improved the quality of healthcare and led to an increased use of health facilities. Women’s empowerment, education for mothers, improving mothers’ health and implementing strategies to reduce poverty also contributed to reducing child deaths.
- In Brazil, under-five mortality rate decreased by 77 per cent between 1990 and 2012, thanks to a combination of tactics. These include efforts to deliver healthcare at the community level, improvements in sanitation conditions, providing mothers with knowledge, promoting breastfeeding and expanding immunization.
a co-sponsor of the Call to Action, has recorded tremendous gains in
reducing the under-five mortality rate, with a dramatic 67 per cent reduction
since 1990. The health extension program implemented in Ethiopia is one example
of how critical community health workers are providing quality care to children
and mothers in remote areas. The program which was launched in 2004 currently
deploys 38,000 government-paid female health extension workers. UNICEF supports
the program by providing supplies including vaccine storage equipment, delivery
beds and medications, and supporting training for health workers. The program
also provides treatment of severe acute malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria and
World Bank President, Dr. Jim Kim comments on G-20 meetings in St. Petersburg. (World Bank)
The Group of 20 (G-20) wrapped-up its two-day leaders’ summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, last week. World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim cut to the chase about global poverty—reminding global leaders still uneasy about a sagging world economy that continued investment in the developing world is not only critical to ending poverty and hunger, but good for business. With little more than two years left until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in December 2015, Kim challenged rich countries and private sector investors not to shy away from, but instead to redouble, financial commitments in poor countries.
Kim emphasized the increasingly pressing need for leaders to “grow our global infrastructure facility.” Infrastructure—both physical and financial—is still a key item on the G-20 development agenda. This is because improving infrastructure is a prerequisite for sustained progress on the MDGs. Though donor support for it is a stated priority for most developing countries, it has been largely absent from donors’ agendas. Agricultural development has its own speciﬁc infrastructure needs (e.g., storage facilities to preserve crops longer), as does the health sector (e.g., programs to train more health workers). Among the many physical infrastructure challenges, building roads to areas without access to services is one of the most important. Cross-sector infrastructure needs include collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data.
The G-20 agenda has included the problem of high and volatile food prices ever since the initial food price crisis in 2007. In June 2011, the G-20 agriculture ministers called for greater transparency in commodity markets and committed their countries to collectively establish an early warning system that would compile information on food stocks, crop supplies, and demand. The ministers also agreed to “ensure that national food-based safety nets can work at times when food prices rise sharply and governments cannot access the food required for these safety nets at an affordable price.”
Commitments to economic growth in the developing world can be easily derailed in the name of shorter-term goals. But as Kim pointed out, the G-20 must keep its priorities straight. Taking steps to help millions of people who need better economic opportunities should be at the top of its agenda.
Read more about the G-20 and investments to end hunger in Chapter 2 of the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals.
Posted by Bread on September 10, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Inequality, Malnutrition, Millennium Challenge Account, Millennium Development Goals, Religion and Hunger, Trade, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have served as a shared framework for global action and cooperation on development since 2000.
Ahead of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) next month to define a new universal development agenda, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has released a report, A Life of Dignity for All. The report contains updates on the progress of the MDGs and his vision for the road ahead. While the report focuses mostly on accelerating the MDGs, it also emphasizes prioritizing of key issues including hunger and malnutrition, women empowerment, poverty and inequality.
With less than 1,000 days to the 2015 overall target date for achieving the MDGs, what is clear is that bold action is needed in many areas. For example, although progress has been tremendous on several goals, one in eight people worldwide still remain hungry.
Bread for the World Institute’s upcoming Briefing Paper will provide in-depth analysis and recommendations for the post-2015 global development agenda. It emphasizes that the post-2015 global development framework needs to build on MDG progress while simultaneously identifying new challenges and opportunities to ending hunger and poverty by 2030.
Overcoming the dehumanization produced by a system of consumption, and reinvigorating love in every human being's heart. Union and harmonious interaction in diversity are the basis for the common good.
According to a panel of some of the poorest people in Brazil -- people with little formal education and no cellphones -- that's what development means.
As the world makes a final push to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by December 2015, developing a "post-2015 agenda" for global development is on the minds of many. We hear a lot about High Level panels, meetings, and the like.
Participate: Knowledge from the Margins for Post-2015 is a coalition effort, led by the U.K. Institute of Development Studies and the global campaign Beyond 2015 and funded by the U.K. government, to "provide high-quality evidence of the reality of poverty on the ground."
One criticism of the MDGs is that the targets don't reach the poorest and most marginalized people. Mathematically, it's quite possible to cut hunger in half with little improvement in the lives of millions of the poorest. And practically, it's a lot more than possible -- because they are the hardest people to reach.
So Participate set out to form "Ground Level panels." Four groups of experts -- people who are living with hunger and poverty in Brazil, Uganda, Egypt, and India -- offered a "reality check" for the High Level panel, which presented its recommendations for the post-2015 development agenda to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May.
Each Ground Level panel included a diverse group of 11-14 people. Among them were residents of urban slums, disabled people, people living in areas affected by conflict, people from nomadic and/or indigenous communities, and older people.
Learn more about what they said in The Guardian's article with links, including links to the full texts of the four panel reports.
Participate's resources also include the voices of many other marginalized people. Two of these resources are:
A report that compiles the main messages from 84 initiatives to listen to some of the poorest people
"What Do We Know About How to Bring the Perspectives of People Living in Poverty into Global Policymaking?"
Late last week, the United Nations Statistics Division announced its adoption of a new integrated standard to measure progress toward the often elusive target of sustainable development. U.N. member states agreed to use the new System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) to improve and standardize reporting on the interrelationships among the economy, the environment, and society.
It is much harder to prevent problems that we can’t see coming, so quantifying what is “sustainable” is a key step toward preventing the increasing volatility of Earth’s climate from halting or reversing the past generation’s progress against hunger and malnutrition.
Sustainable development is the effort to ensure that all people have a decent standard of living without depleting Earth’s natural resources or endangering its ecosystems. Since 2000, we’ve heard about it most often in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MDG 7, ensuring environmental sustainability, has gained a reputation as one of the most difficult to measure and compare across countries and regions. Despite its complexities, sustainable development has become a watchword as the world faces the threat of climate change.
Perhaps the most promising element of the SEEA is its potential to establish a standardized set of definitions and concepts that countries can use to guide their data collection, compilation and analysis. So far, very few indicators of sustainable development have been accepted across the developing world. There are even fewer that all countries are able to collect data for.
This figure from the SEEA central framework illustrates the direct and residual effects of physical goods flows between the economy and the environment.
The innovators of the SEEA claim that the majority of countries already collect most of the data required for it to work. The ingenuity is found in its ability to repurpose that data and integrate it in new ways to better measure the interrelationships among the environment, the economy, and society. U.N. DESA’s head, Alessandra Alfieri, called it a “revolution in statistics,” that will help policy makers better understand how a change in the environment can cause a change in the economy, and ultimately a change for poor and hungry people.
Chapter 1 of the 2013 Hunger Report emphasizes the need for more reliable and better integrated ways of collecting and analyzing data, not only on hunger and malnutrition, but on their causes (like climate):
When the MDGs were launched, it was clear that the capacity of developing countries to collect and analyze data had to improve…Overall, the capacity to obtain accurate data has improved since 2000, but in some countries, especially among the least developed, yawning gaps remain. Reliable data is the bedrock of effective policy interventions. Without rock-solid data, policymakers can’t know for sure whether their interventions actually address the fundamental reasons that people are poor.
We will not end hunger if we do not shift toward more sustainable patterns of production and consumption. And we cannot separate our food systems from the management and preservation of our natural resources, from food security and from sustainable development itself. The SEEA is a crucial next step that adapts our data collection methods to that new reality.
Read more about data collection for sustainable development in the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals. Also check out guest contributor, Jose Graziano’s article on achieving sustainable development, 'The Greener Revolution.'
Posted by Bread on August 05, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Challenge Account, Millennium Development Goals, Trade, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Dr. Robert Black of Johns Hopkins University, who spoke at the Bread for the World Institute/Concern Worldwide “Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling up Nutrition” event in Washington, DC on June 10, 2013, recently authored an article offering the opinion of the Lancet’s Maternal and Child Nutrition (MCN) Study Group on how best to build momentum for impact (registration required to read full article) of nutrition interventions.
Since the Lancet’s historic 2008 MCN series, global governments have committed funding and policy changes aimed at nutrition interventions in the 1,000 days window of opportunity, where they can be most effective and have a high rate of return. Bread for the World Institute reported on these worldwide efforts to improve MCN in a briefing paper in March 2013, which also noted the importance of sustaining the U.S. government’s political commitments. The Scaling up Nutrition movement was born, and now includes 41 countries where rates of malnutrition are highest and affect an entire range of a country’s development, from child mortality to disease susceptibility to even its gross domestic product (a measure of economic output).
What is the “massive unfinished agenda” that Dr. Black mentions? It is 165 million children who remain stunted. It is the fact that undernutrition causes 45% of deaths of all children under age 5 – amounting to three million children. It is also the “other side” of malnutrition, obesity, which is an “emerging burden establishing itself globally, affecting both poor and rich populations”.
Evidence in the Lancet series on MCN supports ten proven nutrition interventions, which if scaled up to cover 90% of a country’s need, would eliminate nearly a million of those child deaths under age 5 and reduce the number of stunted children by 33 million. The cost of this global 90% scaling up of nutrition interventions is estimated at $9.6 billion dollars per year. And what is the benefit? Saved lives and economic progress in developing countries are benefits that can be valued at many times that amount.
The second Lancet MCN series released last month focused on nutrition-sensitive activities across development sectors that address the indirect, or underlying, causes of malnutrition. Creating an enabling environment to have success requires sound data (an evidence base), cooperation and collaboration across development sectors (health, education, gender, water, sanitation, and hygiene), increased local capacities, and sustainable means to finance the interventions, from both public and private sources. Bread for the World Institute’s briefing paper on nutrition-sensitive development actions was instrumental in moving the discussion on nutrition-sensitive actions among government and civil society nutrition stakeholders forward.
Dr. Black notes the impetus for improving nutrition is stronger today than it was five years ago. The World Health Assembly nutrition targets, which include a 40% reduction of the global number of children under age 5 who are stunted, can be achieved by the year 2025 with “sufficient support”.
The support that is needed comes in many forms – political, financial, economic and social. The advocacy provided by Bread for the World and its members to the U.S. Congress and Obama Administration on efforts to reduce maternal and child malnutrition is key to sustaining the political leadership and policy momentum achieved so far. Our work on the agenda is unfinished as well.
Posted by Scott Bleggi on August 02, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Climate Change, Economic Development, Food Aid, Food Prices, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Hunger Hotspots, Hunger Report, Inequality, Latin America, Malnutrition, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Millennium Development Goals, Weblogs | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Yesterday, the United States International Development Agency (USAID) announced the release of the most detailed data yet available on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard. USAID has added over 50,000 financial transactions reflecting spending as recent as June 30, 2013.
For the first time, members of the public can now search and visualize expanded, timely information about what, where, how, and with whom USAID programs work. The financial transactions include detailed information across 30 descriptive fields, including vendor, location, award title, descriptions, and more. The addition of USAID’s financial transactions is a significant milestone for U.S. Government foreign assistance transparency. The new USAID data is visualized on the site, can be downloaded in machine-readable format, and is included in the U.S. Government’s data files in the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) format.
The Foreign Assistance Dashboard displays data from the Department of State, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Treasury. The Dashboard continues to expand with the goal of including detailed foreign assistance budget, financial, and program data from all U.S. Government agencies that fund or implement foreign assistance in accordance with the Office of management and budget Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin 12-01. As new data are added to the Dashboard, the IATI data files will also be updated to reflect these new data.
To understand the information presented in the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, users are encouraged to read the supplementary information under the What You Should Know section of the website.
Posted by Faustine Wabwire on July 31, 2013 in Africa, Agriculture, Asia, Assets for the Poor, Climate Change, Development Assistance, Economic Development, Food Aid, Foreign Aid Reform, Global Hunger, Good Governance, Hunger Report, Immigration, Inequality, Latin America, Millennium Development Goals | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Transparency in foreign aid is necessary so that both taxpayers in the donor country and nongovernmental organizations and citizens in the partner country are able to hold their governments accountable for how it’s used. Taxpayers deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent and what results they are achieving. And residents of the countries that receive aid should be able to tell what the aid is for and where it’s going.
Taking all opportunities to improve transparency and coordination is therefore important to ensure that scarce foreign assistance resources are used efficiently to make as much progress as possible against hunger and poverty.
In recent years, the U.S. government has started several new initiatives to improve the transparency and accountability of development assistance. In December 2010, the Obama administration launched the Foreign Assistance Dashboard as a “one-stop shop” to find data on all U.S. foreign aid spending.
The Foreign Assistance Dashboard was created to put into practice the principles of both the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and President Obama’s Open Government Initiative. The administration issued guidance on when and how agencies should report information on the website. These are steps in the right direction, but more can be done.
Part of President Obama's Open Government Inititiative: The newly launched data.gov, a one stop-shop for government and private sector information, including development data (screenshot).
Another initiative, on program evaluation, is off to a good start since both the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) have new evaluation policies. There are no standards on monitoring and evaluation for more than 20 other agencies that deliver U.S. foreign assistance. But help is on the way.
Last week, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, H.R. 2638, was introduced in the House with broad bipartisan support. The bill seeks to establish interagency monitoring and evaluation guidelines for U.S. development assistance programs and to centralize public access to subsequent data and reports.
H.R. 2638 directs the president to establish goals and performance and evaluation guidelines for U.S. foreign assistance programs, country assistance plans, and international and multilateral assistance programs. The administration should also establish a website to make publicly available information on U.S. foreign assistance programs.
The introduction of this bill with bipartisan support is a sign that the executive branch and Congress can establish a constructive partnership on aid reform. It would ensure that best practices in monitoring and evaluation for development results are adopted more broadly and that the administration continues to add new information to the Foreign Assistance Dashboard website, which has already provided an unprecedented level of transparency on U.S. foreign assistance.
Highlights from Malala Yousafzai's words at the U.N. headquarters in New York last Friday. See the whole speech here.
The United Nations declared last Friday “Malala Day” in honor of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani student and education advocate who was shot in the head by a Taliban operative last October for what the terrorist organization called “promoting Western thinking.” Malala began promulgating her views on education for girls and sharing stories from her life under Taliban rule at the age of 11 via a BBC blog. After she recovered from the shooting, Malala has emerged an even stronger and more articulate representative of the global movement for girls’ education. On Friday, July 12 -- her 16th birthday -- she made an emphatic appeal (view highlights above) to the United Nations General Assembly, urging member states to redouble their commitments to equal education and challenging other advocates to “pick up [their] books and pens” in peaceful protest.
U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education and former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently launched a U.N. petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan "I am Malala" to galvanize momentum toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal primary education by the end of 2015.
Improvements in education and progress against hunger are closely correlated. It seems obvious that students with consistent access to nutritious food will go further in their education – and research suggests that the benefits flow the other direction as well. Analysts at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) looked back at the years 1970-1995, a period of significant reductions in child malnutrition. What made this progress possible? A larger supply of food available per person seems like a good explanation, and this was in fact something that helped. But the IFPRI analysis found that it was responsible for only about 26 percent of the improvement. Gains in women’s education explained 43 percent of it.
Sending girls to school was more effective in reducing child malnutrition than having more food available. Why? It’s largely because worldwide, women carry the major responsibility for providing for their families. Conditions that interfere with women’s ability to earn a living – such as lack of education -- contribute directly to hunger and disease among their children, both boys and girls.
According to the latest MDG progress chart, most of the world is not on track to meet the education goal. Malala and other advocates for girls’ education across the world know this. They realize that despite their best efforts, advancement will depend on the commitment of national governments to making it a top priority and on unwavering advocacy from the international community.
Let's renew our commitment to bringing change to the lives of the estimated 35 million girls of primary school age who still do not attend school. Their futures, and their children's futures, and in many ways their countries' futures, depend on getting into a classroom.
You can read more about the relationship between women’s education, ending hunger, and achieving the other MDGs in the 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach: Global Development Goals.
Get updates on issues and actions to take on behalf of hungry people.