Tag Archives: Millennium Development Goals

changing the world

The numbers of extremely poor continue to drop around the globe. Working together, we are changing the world.

The chart pictured above illustrates the good news. The Millennium Development Goals (from 2000 -2015), and now the Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2030), are working, and working well.

We are on track to end hunger by 2030. Let’s continue striving to make it happen. Working together we can achieve a world without hunger, and we can do it in our lifetime.

 

achievable global goals

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These goals, which replace the Millennium Development Goals, set the course for the next 15 years. They are both sustainable and achievable, especially if we all work together to make them happen.

imagine no more malaria

Malaria is a killer. Millions of our family suffer and die annually from this deadly disease.

The United Methodist Church is actively combating the spread of malaria. This piece by Antonia Blumberg in the Huffington Post tells a little of the story. My small congregation of 50 folks at Forest Road UMC has already raised over $1,500 toward this effort.

Working together we can change the world. Never doubt it.

United Methodist Church Raises Millions In Small Donations To Fight Malaria

The Huffington Post  |  By Antonia Blumberg

Posted: 04/23/2015 4:35 pm EDT Updated: 04/23/2015 4:59 pm EDT

The United Methodist Church gave $9.6 million on Wednesday to the Global Fund, a health-focused nonprofit based in Geneva, to help the group fight malaria. It was the single largest contribution to the fund by a faith organization, and was made possible largely through grassroots efforts by congregants.

Local fundraising efforts, ranging from lemonade stands to car washes to 5K runs, provided the bulk of the sum, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton told The Huffington Post, with the average contribution amounting to just $87.31.

“It’s been a phenomenal response from the grassroots to this worldwide campaign,” he said.

Global Fund Executive Director Dr. Mark Dybul confirmed to HuffPost that UMC’s donation will go specifically toward the fund’s efforts against malaria.

Bickerton and Rev. Gary Henderson, who run the UMC’s Imagine No Malaria initiative, presented the gift to Dybul at a Wednesday ceremony in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was one of many events being held around the world in the lead-up to World Malaria Day on April 25, which addresses one of the U.N.’s eight Millennium Development Goals: to “combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.”

The bishop told HuffPost that the $9.6 million sum included “a few major gifts,” but “the majority was done through local United Methodist congregations.”

“Some congregations raise $500, some raise $5,000,” Bickerton added, “but it all adds up to — to date — 66 million dollars raised for Imagine No Malaria by millions of United Methodists.”

In 2010, the UMC set an overall goal of raising $75 million to fight malaria, $28 million of which the church has pledged to Global Fund. Wednesday’s check of nearly $10 million was the result of 18 months of fundraising, Bickerton said. Dybul noted that the gift far exceeds the monetary contributions from other faith organizations.

“The United Methodist Church is the one faith-based organization that provides large direct contributions to the fund,” he said.

The Global Fund has an annual budget of $4 billion a year, Dybul said, which it funnels largely into grants for local organizations and governments in countries affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. These grants are meant to support educational programming, improved health services and the buying and distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets.

Although no other religious group comes close to the UMC’s monetary contributions, Dybul said faith organizations play a critical role in fighting malaria in the areas affected by the disease.

“The faith community is deeply involved in implementing programs,” he explained. “They’re the ones distributing bed nets and making sure people sleep under them. It’s the faith community on the ground that often gets to the people who often aren’t reached.”

Jem Jebbia, a Master of Divinity candidate at the University of Chicago Divinity School, worked on malaria prevention in Malawi in 2009 as part of a faith-based fellowship with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. During her time in Malawi, Jebbia saw the power of faith groups to serve the health needs of their communities.

“Muslim and Christian communities came together to pool their resources to stock and build health clinics,” she told HuffPost. “They also tried to promote awareness of how to use a bed net and why malaria can kill people.”

But Jebbia cautioned that malaria does not exist in a vacuum. Community workers have the difficult task of not only fighting malaria, she noted, but also addressing other Millennium Development Goals, like child and maternal health, that can be compromised if combating disease is the only focus.

“[Malaria is] such a multifaceted problem that in order to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals you have to work on all of them at once,” she told HuffPost.

Bickerton says he is cognizant of this challenge, arguing that Wednesday’s donation is just one step in what needs to be a long-term campaign to end the disease. The bishop said he’s been paying attention to this issue since he first traveled to sub-Saharan Africa on a missionary trip in 1986, where he saw firsthand the devastating effects of poverty and disease.

“What I encountered there changed my whole life,” he recalled. In the five years since the UMC began its campaign to raise $75 million to fight malaria, Bickerton says he’s seen others in his religious community become ignited with the same passion to make a difference.

“We’ve been surprised at the resiliency of our people,” Bickerton said. “This has remained a front-page issue in their minds, and we need them to continue to fight to reach the end goal. That takes a lot of marketing and communications on our part.”

Many other faith organizations are working toward the various Millennium Development Goals. The World Bank, which is focused on the first of the goals, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, announced in April that it is partnering with a coalition of 35 religious groups worldwide in an effort to end extreme poverty by 2030. The coalition includes Bread for the World, Islamic Relief International, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Sojourners.

“Our approach to this staggering need must be holistic, rooted in the spiritual visions of our respective faiths, and built on a shared recognition of the intrinsic dignity and value of every life on Earth,” the coalition said in a call to action.

too many children dying from hunger

We are making progress on ending hunger in our lifetime, yet there is still much to be done. This brief report on child hunger is from the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Child Mortality and Hunger in Developing Nations

  • Despite declines, child mortality and hunger persist in developing nations, U.N. reports, By Rick Gladstone and Somini Sengupta, September 16, 2014, New York Times: “The United Nations on Tuesday reported significant declines in the rates of child mortality and hunger, but said those two scourges of the developing world stubbornly persist in parts of Africa and South Asia despite major health care advances and sharply higher global food production. The trends, detailed in two annual reports by United Nations agencies, were presented before the General Assembly meetings of world leaders, where the Millennium Development Goals, a United Nations list of aspirations to meet the needs of the world’s poorest, are an important discussion theme. While one of those goals — halving the number of hungry people by 2015 — seems within reach, the goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds is years behind, the reports showed…”
  • World making progress against hunger, report finds, but large pockets of undernourished persist, By Daniel Stone, September 16, 2014, National Geographic: “No one on the planet should go hungry. That’s because the world’s farmers grow 700 more calories per person than the World Food Programme’s daily recommended 2,100 calories—an abundance of plants and animals that surpasses the daily needs of the world’s 7.2 billion people. In most places, the challenge is access. Global access to food is improving overall, according to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released Tuesday, yet challenges in the developing world—from poor infrastructure and political instability to erratic weather and long-term changes in climate—are keeping 805 million people from having enough to eat…”

extreme poverty rates falling

The first Millennium Development Goal is to half between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.00 a day. This MDG target has already been met, but there is still 1.2 billion of our family living in extreme poverty.

Extreme poverty rates continue to fall in every developing region of the world. China leads the way with the extreme poverty rates there dropping from 60 per cent in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2005 and down to 12 per cent in 2010.

Poverty remains widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, although real progress can be seen in Southeast Asia. The drop in extreme poverty rates in Southern Asia has fallen by an average of a percentage point every year. The extreme poverty rate was 51 per cent in 1990. Now, 20 years later it has dropped to 30 per cent.

The extreme poverty rates in sub-Saharan Africa by contrast has fallen only 8 percentage points during the past two decades. In fact, sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world that had a steady rise in the number of people living in extreme poverty. In 1990 the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa living in extreme poverty was 290 million. In 2010 that number had increased to 414 million. This number accounts for more than a third of all the destitute people in the world.

Abject poverty is found in areas where poor health and the lack of education keep people from productive work. These are areas where there is bad governance, corruption and depleted natural resources. Conflict and corruption discourage private investment.

We can continue reducing the proportion of our family living in extreme poverty. But for this to happen the international community must take the next steps in combating poverty at every level.

 

 

cutting hunger in half

I have often addressed the powerful impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in my posts, especially in relationship to ending hunger in our lifetime.  The United Nations set eight specific and measurable goals. We are now less than 1,000 days from reaching the 2015 target date for achieving those goals.

Earlier this month the United Nations released the 2013 Millennium Development Goals Report. It’s fascinating reading. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations begins the Foreword of the report by stating the, “The Millennium Development Goals have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.”

And although the report shows that significant and truly substantial progress has been made toward achieving all the eight goals, the report is also clear the the achievement of the MDGs has been uneven. More effort must to be given if we are to continue seeing solid progress made toward reaching the full promise of the MDGs.

Although the first Millennium Development Goal of  cutting poverty and hunger in half by 2015 is clearly within reach it hasn’t been fully realized yet. I will quote from the report’s overview.

The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has be halved at the global level

The world reached the poverty reduction target five years ahead of schedule. In developing regions, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 2010. About 700 million people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990.

The hunger reduction target is within reach

The proportion of undernourished people in developing regions decreased from 23.2 per cent in 1990-92 to 14.9 per cent in 2010-2012. Given reinvigorated efforts, the target of halving the percentage of people suffering from hunger by 2015 appears to be within reach. Still one in eight people in the world today remain chronically undernourished.

We are so close to the goal of cutting the number of hunger in half. I know we can make it happen. But we must always remember achieving these goals is not about numbers. We are talking about people, members of our family who will no longer  have to suffer the needless pain of hunger. we are talking changed lives and hope for brighter futures.

Stop Hunger Now is committed to ending hunger in our lifetime. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is one giant step toward making that happen.

Right to Food

Most of us are so blessed we take it for granted that we can always count on having food on our table. Our supermarkets are just that, super in every sense of the word. Shelves are well-stocked with a variety of fresh food, fruit and vegetables that most of the world cannot even begin to imagine. Restaurants abound, and all of them bustle with business.

We take for granted what most of our global family will never get to enjoy. For most of the world providing enough food for each day is an almost insurmountable challenge. Even though the 2013 Millennium Development Report shows that absolute poverty has already been cut in half, there are still close to 850 million affected by hunger and malnutrition. There’s at least a billion more of our family forced to live on substandard diets.

In 2000 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights established the position of UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. For the last six years the position has been held by Dr. Olivier De Schutter. His final report, released last month, states that paradigm of industrial agriculture as the single major obstacle to achieving global food security.

He agrees that agricultural productivity has increased and has significantly helped to  reduce extreme hunger over the past 50 years. But he also points out that glaring inequalities still persist in food distribution. Women and children are still greatly disadvantaged, while over two billion people suffer from “hidden hunger,” the lack of critical micro-nutrients such as iodine, vitamin A and iron.

Ending the obscenity of global hunger requires all of us to take responsibility for allowing such glaring inequities to exist. We have to be far more vocal and far more forceful in demanding that the right to food be honored for all our human family. We can end hunger in our lifetime, but only if we work together to make it happen. .

none are so blind

I have a vision of a world without hunger. And I am committed to ending hunger in our lifetime. Like Gandhi, I know that “this world has enough for every man’s need, but not enough for every man’s greed.”

Meeting the real needs of the poor and hungry simply requires sharing the abundant resources with which we have been so richly blessed. And the amount needed is far less than we might imagine.

A $175 billion a year would easily meet the Millennium Development Goals. That breaks down to less than $250 a year for the 850 million of us that have an above average income (based on the average income of Portugal, the lowest income nation in Europe).

This amount, $175 billion, would allow us to cut the number of poor and hungry in half. Think about it, less than $250 a person could save millions of lives a year and bring even more millions out of the shadow of crushing poverty.

Why don’t we make it happen? Are we too selfish to care? Or is the deeper truth that we are in chains ourselves, too chained by our riches to break free enough to act on behalf of those dying from our refusal to see the truth?

The words of Cyprian, a bishop of Carthage in the third century seem appropriate.

Their property held them in chains…chains which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls…If they stored up their treasure in heaven, they would not now have an enemy and a thief within their household…They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves.