The Millennium Development Goals – wiping out disease, famine, and poverty on Earth

By Bill Gates

People sometimes say that the United Nations doesn’t do enough to solve the big problems of the world. I’ve never really agreed with that point of view, but if anyone is looking for evidence of the UN’s impact, a good place to start is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

They were agreed to in 2000 by all 193 UN member countries and 23 international organizations. Creating that kind of consensus is—by itself—a significant achievement.

The great thing about the MDGs is that they provide clear targets and indicators of progress in key areas, including:

  • Ending poverty and hunger
  • Universal education
  • Gender equality
  • Child and maternal health
  • Combatting HIV/AIDS
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Global development

Although a number of countries won’t be able to achieve all of the goals by the target date of 2015, the MDGs have been helpful in getting everyone to really think about their part, the progress they’re making, and what they can learn from others. The goals have focused political attention in developing countries, encouraged UN groups to work together, and inspired wealthy and fast-growing donor countries to coordinate their efforts.

In February, the World Bank announced that the MDG goal of cutting extreme poverty by half had been achieved five years early. A week later, UNICEF and the World Health Organization announced that the goal of halving the number of people without access to safer drinking water was also reached five years early.
Source: The Gates Notes – A Report Card on Helping the World’s Poor

 

 

Continue reading The Millennium Development Goals – wiping out disease, famine, and poverty on Earth

Sunscreen prevents sunburns, but little else is known about their safety

Sunscreens prevent sunburns, but beyond that simple fact surprisingly little is known about the safety and efficacy of these ubiquitous creams and sprays.

FDA’s failure to finalize its 1978 sunscreen safety standards both epitomizes and perpetuates this state of confusion. EWG’s review of the latest research unearthed troubling facts that might tempt you to give up on sunscreens altogether.

That’s not the right answer – despite the unknowns about their efficacy, public health agencies still recommend using sunscreens, just not as your first line of defense against the sun.

Here are the surprising facts:

– No consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer.

– Some evidence that sunscreens might increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer for some people.

– The common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A may speed the development of cancer.

– Free radicals and other skin-damaging byproducts of sunscreen.

– Pick your sunscreen: nanomaterials or potential hormone disruptors.

– Europe’s better sunscreens.

– The 34th summer in a row without final U.S. sunscreen safety regulations.

 

keep reading – each fact has an explanation at EWG

 

// Thx to Swiss Miss, Photo via Robert S. Donovan