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Why the Sustainable Development Goals Matter

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Why the Sustainable Development Goals MatterROME – Following the progress made under the Millennium Development Goals, which guided global development efforts in the years 2000-2015, the world’s governments are currently negotiating a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the period 2016-2030. The MDGs focused on ending extreme poverty, hunger, and preventable disease, and were the most important global development goals in the United Nations’ history. The SDGs will continue the fight against extreme poverty, but will add the challenges of ensuring more equitable development and environmental sustainability, especially the key goal of curbing the dangers of human-induced climate change.

But will a new set of goals help the world shift from a dangerous business-as-usual path to one of true sustainable development? Can UN goals actually make a difference?

Ethiopia: A Strong Case for Investment in Sanitation

By Bjorn Lomborg

Siegfried Modola IRINPhoto: Siegfried Modola/IRIN File photo.There are plenty of things, which those of us lucky enough to live in the industrialised world take for granted; running water and flush toilets are among the most basic of these. 2.5 billion - almost half the developing world - lack even a basic latrine and one billion have to resort to what is politely known as open defecation. In Ethiopia, over 58.6 million people in rural areas still lack basic sanitation, and across sub-Saharan Africa it affects almost 450 million people.

Prepaid Meters Scupper Gains Made in Accessing Water in Africa

Whether they like it or not many Africans faced with the possibility of having to access water through prepaidWhether they like it or not, many Africans faced with the possibility of having to access water through prepaid meters have resorted to unprotected and often unclean sources of water because they cannot afford to pay. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPSBy Jeffrey Moyo

While many countries appear to have met the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, rights activists say that African countries which have taken to installing prepaid water meters have rendered a blow to many poor people, making it hard for them to access water.

“The goal to ensure that everyone has access to clean water here in Africa faces a drawback as a number of African countries have resorted to using prepaid water meters, which certainly bar the poor from accessing the precious liquid,” Claris Madhuku, director of the Platform for Youth Development, a Zimbabwean democracy lobby group, said.

Prepaid water meters work in such a way that if a person cannot pay in advance, he or she will be unable to access water.

Man-Made Pollutants Finding Their Way into Groundwater through Septic Systems

Man made pollutantsPharmaceuticals, hormones and personal care products associated with everyday household activities are finding their way into groundwater through septic systems in New York and New England, according to the U.S. Geological Survey

“Septic systems nationwide are receiving increased attention as environmental sources of chemical contamination,” said USGS scientist Patrick Phillips, lead author of the study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

Sea change for ocean resource management

Sea ChangeOcean ecosystems around the world are threatened by overfishing, extensive shipping routes, energy exploration, pollution and other consequences of oceanbased industry. Data exist that could help protect these vulnerable ecosystems, but current management strategies often can’t react quickly enough to new information, said San Diego State University biologist Rebecca Lewison. She and colleagues from several other academic, governmental and non-governmental organizations endorse a new approach called “dynamic ocean management” in a paper published in the journal BioScience.

“Dynamic ocean management is an exciting coming together of science and management,” said Lewison, one of the project’s lead scientists. “It captures the best available science and directs it to meet the needs of resource managers and industry. What’s exciting about this research is that it puts science to work, fundamentally changing the way we manage oceans.”

Ecological Latrines Catch on in Rural Cuba

Pastor Demas RodríguePastor Demas Rodríguez shows a dry composting toilet in the town of Babiney, in the eastern Cuban province of Granma. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPSMost people in Cuba without toilets use the traditional outhouse. But an innovative, ecological alternative is catching on in remote rural communities.

So far 85 dry latrines have been installed in eastern Cuba – the poorest part of the country – thanks to the support of the non-governmental ecumenical Bartolomé G. Lavastida Christian Centre for Service and Training (CCSC-Lavastida) based in Santiago de Cuba, 847 km from Havana, which carries out development projects in this region

“Over 70 percent of these toilets are in San Agustín, a town in the province of Santiago de Cuba. The rest are in Boniato and the municipality of Santiago de Cuba, in that same province; and in Caney, Babiney and Bayamo, in the province of Granma,” CCSC’s head of social projects, César Parra, told IPS.

UN Women and WSSCC Call for Global Action on Ending Menstruation Taboos and Reversing Neglect .

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and UN Women revealed in New York, NY recently that women and girls in Central and West Africa lack access to clean water, private spaces for managing their menstruation, and clean, functioning toilet facilities. In researchers drew upon the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) prepared by the Open Working Group and the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 development agenda.

The studies provide critical information about sociocultural taboos on menstrual hygiene and linked knowledge and practices in the region in order to highlight an area of global neglect with deleterious consequences for for the education, mobility and economic opportunity for women and girls, societies, and economies.

 

                           


            

Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2