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

Microsoft implements “carbon fee” – to push the company into carbon neutrality

Beginning in fiscal year 2013 (which starts this July 1), Microsoft will be carbon neutral across all our direct operations including data centers, software development labs, air travel, and office buildings. We recognize that we are not the first company to commit to carbon neutrality, but we are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies large and small to look at what they can do to address this important issue.

In addition to our commitment to carbon neutrality, the part I’m most excited about is our plan to infuse carbon awareness into every part of our business around the world. To achieve this goal, we have created an accountability model which will make every Microsoft business unit responsible for the carbon they generate – creating incentives for greater efficiency, increased purchases of renewable energy, better data collection and reporting, and an overall reduction of our environmental impact.

To put this into action, we’re creating a new, internal carbon fee within Microsoft, which will place a price on carbon. The price will be based on market pricing for renewable energy and carbon offsets, and will be applied to our operations in over 100 countries. The goal is to make our business divisions responsible for the cost of offsetting their own carbon emissions.

via – Making Carbon Neutrality Everyone’s Responsibility

 

// Photo – ToddABishop

America exports the magic of (billion-dollar) movies

When it comes to exports, America brings movies to the world. So which ones are having the biggest impact?

“The Avengers” is likely to stand with”Avatar,””Titanic”and iterations of “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Lord of the Rings,””Toy Story” and”Transformers,” as one of a new breed of globally dominant film franchises.

via LA Times

These are the billion dollar movies with the highest worldwide gross. Comics, sci-fi, magic, history, pirates, animation, and fantasy.

Not bad compared to some elements of our culture we could be sending overseas. Of course, the main reason these are successful is largely due to their extensive action scenes which easily cross-over the language barrier

The latest movie having a huge impact overseas, “Avatar”, came in this weekend with $200.3 million in the United States and $151.5 internationally, for one-week total of $441.5 million.

 

// Photo – gtall1