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
ARPA-E: A Good Beginning for U.S. Energy Innovation
By Bill Gates
Clean energy and innovation are two areas that I’m passionate about, so I’ve been looking forward to investigating some interesting new energy technologies at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit this week.
ARPA-E is a new federal agency—the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy—created in 2009 to fund research of promising, but unproven, energy technologies. It was modeled after DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—which was established in the late 1950s to accelerate development of U.S. satellite technology to keep pace with the Soviet Union. Research at DARPA led to a number of fantastic breakthroughs, including GPS technology and the Internet.
The idea behind ARPA-E is to help the U.S. fast-track development of innovative energy technologies that wouldn’t typically be funded by traditional energy companies. If just a fraction of the projects are successful, they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, help the U.S. decrease its dependence on foreign oil, , and keep the U.S. competitive in advanced energy technologies.
I’ve been quite impressed with the people running ARPA-E. In less than three years, they have evaluated hundreds of proposals and made $521 million in grants to support 180 projects.
Keep reading – Bill Gates from The Gates Notes
Continue reading ARPA-E – a new federal agency created to fund research of promising, but unproven, energy technologies