Partnerships For the Goals: Gates, Jolie, the Obamas: These Are the Most Admired People of 2018 #sdgs #2030now #globalgoals

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Gates and Jolie beat out former presidents, royals and Oprah to claim the top spots.

YouGov recently released their annual study highlighting public figures people look up to the most. The list includes celebrities, activists as well as former and current world leaders.

The survey queried 37,000 people from more than 35 countries to determine who are the women and men our world hails as most admirable.

Entertainers rounded out most of the top 20 for women, while businessmen, politicians and athletes dominated the top 20 for men. Many of these men and women work to tackle global issues and have left a lasting impact on the world.

The World’s Most Admired Women

Angelina Jolie

Angelina-Jolie.jpgAngelina Jolie poses for photographers upon arrival at the BAFTA Film Awards, in London, Feb. 18, 2018.
Image: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

While famous for her work as an actress, Jolie has also committed her life to humanitarian efforts. As a Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, she focuses on preventing and punishing sexual violence.

Michelle Obama

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The former first lady’s transformative work includes the launch of Let Girls Learn , an initiative that helps educate girls around the world.

Oprah Winfrey

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Aside from being a general beacon for empowerment of everyone, everywhere, Oprah stole the show at the Golden Globes with her powerful speech on the #MeToo movement.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen-Elizabeth-Social-Share.jpgBritain’s Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd in Ascot, England, June 22, 2017.
Image: Alastair Grant/AP

The Queen recently waged a war on plastic in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of royal households.

Hillary Clinton

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As a former secretary of state and presidential candidate, Clinton has spent her life breaking glass ceilings and advocating for the rights of women both domestically and abroad.

Emma Watson

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Image: UN Women/Karin Schermbrucker

Watson is a dedicated advocate for the UN’s HeforShe campaign working to promote gender equality.

Malala Yousafazi

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As the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala is staunch advocate of education as a basic human right and uses her own organization and voice to empower girls around the world.

Read More: 15 Times That Malala Nailed It

Priyanka Chopra

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Chopra advocates for girls’ causes and education as an ambassador for both Girls Up and Girls Rising and through her own foundation.

Madonna

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When not pushing musical boundaries, pop icon Madonna works to end extreme poverty among orphans in Malawi.

Gal Gadot

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Gal Gadot is a Wonder Woman both on and off screen: She uses her platform to raise funds to build schools and take a stance on the importance of education.

Angela Merkel

Angela MerkelImage: Michaela Rehle/Pool Photo via AP

Merkel made headlines with her open door refugee policy that took in millions fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

The World’s Most Admired Men

Bill Gates

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As the founder of both Microsoft and the world’s largest private charity, Gates promotes global development and tackles issues in health and education.

Barack Obama

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Having ranked first in 19 of the countries surveyed, the former president continues his legacy as a leader of global change

Jackie Chan

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Considered one of Asia’s premier philanthropists, Chan has founded multiple charities focused on expanding educational opportunities for children.

Dalai Lama

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The spiritual leader and activist is renowned for his peaceful approaches to global relations and attempts to end human rights violations.

Warren Buffet

Warren BuffettImage: Fortune Live Media / Flickr

While he donates billions to charity, philanthropist Warren Buffet also uses his status to advocate for ending global poverty.

David Beckham

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Michael Jordan

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Jordan actively contributes to charities that target and help at-risk youth.

Pope Francis

Pope-Francis.jpgPope Francis waves as he leaves the Shrine of Our Lord of the Miracles after a mid-morning prayer with contemplative nuns, in Lima, Peru, Jan. 21, 2018.
Image: Rodrigo Abd/AP

Pope Francis has brought ending poverty and eradicating injustices to the forefront of his mission as head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City.

Lionel Messi

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Messi’s charitable work includes building classrooms in Syria so more than 1,600 displaced children can return to school.

Imran Khan

The Pakistani politician’s foundation works to engage and mobilize local communities through better access to basic services.

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at ratification of Paris Agreement on Climate Change with the UNImage: AP Photo/Manish Swarup

Modi has made humanitarian efforts central to his role as Prime Minister of India by making improvements to health and education a priority.

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Climate Change/Action: “Focus Africa” Remembering ‘Doha Climate Gateway’ because 2020 is around the corner. #sdgs #globalgoals #2030Now #GreenHouseGas

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By Richard Munang and Zhen Han, 11 April 2013

A UN climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, concluded in December 2012 with a new agreement called the “Doha Climate Gateway.” Its major achievements included the extension until 2020 of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a work plan for negotiating a new global climate pact by 2015, to be implemented starting in 2020. Despite these commitments, the Doha conference made only limited progress in advancing international talks on climate change, and failed to set more ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That failure increases the risk of a rise in average global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. The Emissions Gap Report 2012 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) stresses that if the world does not accelerate action on climate change, total yearly greenhouse gas emissions could rise to 58 gigatonnes by 2020 (compared to 40 gigatonnes in 2000), far above the level scientists say would likely keep temperature increases below 2°C. Studies by the World Bank indicate that even with the current commitments and pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20% likelihood that temperature increases will top 4°C by the end of this century, triggering a cascade of cataclysmic changes, including extreme heat waves, declining global food stocks and a rising sea level, that will affect hundreds of millions of people. All regions of the world will suffer if this happens, but the poor will suffer the most, and sustainable development in Africa will be set back considerably. Severe droughts in the Horn of Africa in 2011 and in the Sahel region in 2012 alarmingly highlighted Africa’s vulnerability.

Not-so-fast finance               

African countries are among those least likely to have the resources to withstand the adverse impacts of climate change. At the 2009 Copenhagen negotiations, developed countries committed to pay $100 billion per year by 2020 into the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries implement adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change. They also pledged to deliver $30 billion as “fast start finance” by 2012. Disappointingly, a report by the African Climate Policy Centre of the UN Economic Commission for Africa shows that of the $30 billion promised in 2009, only 45% has been “committed,” 33% “allocated” and about 7% actually “disbursed.” At the Doha conference, Germany, the UK, France, Denmark, Sweden and the EU Commission announced financial pledges totalling approximately $6 billion for the period up to 2015. Most developed countries did not make pledges. African countries thus left Doha with little more than they already had. Bottom-up approach

Cost-effective measures need to be taken without delay to mitigate the effects of climate change in Africa. Fortunately, there are already many examples in Africa of bottom-up approaches that directly address national needs. In Togo, for example, a water reservoir project provided accurate data for rehabilitating water dams. This data and expertise gained during the rehabilitation helped the government develop a proposal for rehabilitating all other water reservoirs in Togo. As a result, access to water has improved for most local communities, with rainwater harvested from rehabilitated dams available for domestic and agro-pastoral consumption.

In Seychelles, a rainwater harvesting project in schools gave students a practical demonstration of adaptation to climate change, with harvested water used for school gardens, cleaning and flushing toilets. It also enabled the schools to save up to $250 per month on water bills, money that could be invested in other areas such as teaching and learning resources. Legislation is now under consideration to include rainwater harvesting systems in building codes. However successful such initiatives may be, their scale is limited. Sizable increases in capital are needed to expand the reach of such adaptation projects. Yet it is unclear whether Africa will ever have sufficient funds to enable the most vulnerable people to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. Before the Doha conference, developing countries elaborated a common position that included the desire for a new climate treaty, financing and new technologies to help them make the transition to cleaner, “green” economic practices. “We all have a responsibility in some way to address climate change in order to achieve sustainable development,” said Ali Mohammed, Kenya’s permanent secretary in the ministry of environment and mineral resources. “Africa, small island developing states and least developed countries continue to suffer most from the effects of climate change.”

Priority for adaptation

Greater adaptation efforts in Africa are essential, and they should be supported financially and politically by many different stakeholders in Africa and around the globe. Not only should the process of long-term climate financing from developed countries be accountable and transparent, but it should also be directed first and foremost to the most vulnerable developing countries. There also needs to be a better balance. Currently, “fast start” finance, however slow in arriving, is largely directed toward “mitigation” projects, which tackle the causes of climate change, such as by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Against the 62% allocated for mitigation projects, only 25% is destined to finance “adaptation” actions, which are intended to minimize the consequences of actual and expected changes in the climate. The remaining 13% goes to countering deforestation, which can also be counted as mitigation, since forests help absorb greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Seyni Nafo, the spokesperson of the African Group at the Doha talks, insisted, “In Africa, we need to know how much is new, where it is coming from, and whether it will be directed to the adaptation projects that are desperately necessary.”

Positive steps

Despite the limited advances on financing, African countries gained five positive developments from the Doha conference: The formal extension of the Kyoto Protocol, with continued access to carbon-trading market mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism.

Financing for the formulation and implementation of national adaptation plans for all particularly vulnerable countries, not just the small island developing states and least developed countries, as previously.

The agreement to develop an international mechanism to address loss and damage, which would support countries affected by slow-onset events such as droughts, glacial melting and rising sea levels.

A programme for climate change education and training and for the creation of public awareness to enable the public to participate better in climate change decision-making.

The agreement to assess developing countries’ needs for green technology, as well as a pledge that no unilateral action will be taken on the development and transfer of technologies. Effectively meeting the challenges of climate change will require a compromise of monumental proportions by all countries. But climate change will not wait for the adoption of binding international climate change agreements. Nor should individual governments, businesses and others hesitate to take bottom-up action and support local grassroots initiatives.


Copyright 2013 Africa Renewal

Original article here

Image Credit: Mark Garten/UN Photo

Peace, Justice And Strong Institutions: Introduction to the importance of effective governance #sdgs #globalgoals

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Transparency and Accountability:

Transparency and accountability about resources and results are essential elements in the fight against poverty. In their absence, it’s impossible to know whether health, education, and other services are being delivered efficiently and effectively; whether development objectives are being met; and civil society will not have the tools necessary to track public spending and hold governments to account.

Too often, precious development dollars (either aid or domestic resources) are lost due to corruption, inefficiency, and mismanagement. Donor countries must not only provide mechanisms for accountability to their own taxpayers, but must also work with partner governments to provide better accountability to citizens in developing countries who are recipients of aid and the true drivers of development.

Emerging economies are increasing their investment in developing countries. South-south partnerships are redefining the development agenda. Citizens across the world are demanding more transparent, accountable and responsive governance. And meanwhile, many developing countries are still struggling to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 203o. In this context, issues of efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability for development resources are more important than ever.

Some countries rely on aid for more than 30% of their government expenditures, and in addition to playing a crucial role in the delivery of essential services and the provision of humanitarian relief, aid can play an important catalytic role, helping to leverage other resources for development (including domestic resource mobilization, private investment, private philanthropy, and innovative finance), ensuring that they are spent effectively, and ultimately contributing to countries’ making progress on development outcomes. While it is crucial that aid dependency must be reduced over time and replaced with more sustainable financing, it is imperative that current aid levels and aid effectiveness commitments are maintained and better coordinated with other financing and development policies to spur results.

Partnerships For The Goals: Questions to ask before donating… To Any Non-Profit/NGO {DUMMYS GUIDE} #sdgs #globalgoals #accountability

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We all want to be generous in giving to fight extreme poverty, but as we do, we also want to make sure that our donation really makes a difference.

To ensure you are happy with the donation you make, it’s important to do a bit of research on the organisation first. Think about the following questions:

  • Do the issues fit? You should give to the organisations that work on the issues that you’re most passionate about and interested in.
  • Do the values fit? You should give to the charities that you feel best fit your values and priorities in terms of how they work, where they work, and why they work that way.
  • At what level do they operate? You should give to groups that you feel are working at the most important level – grassroots, regional, national, or international, and who finds the right balance (in your mind) between doing things on the ground to improve lives and campaigning to change the rules.
  • Are they an accredited organisation? Are they member of the peak-body for development charities like Interaction in the USA, BOND in the UK or ACFID in Australia or CAC (corporate affairs commission) in Nigeria. Belonging to these organisations means that they subscribe to a set of rules around how money can be used, and often that there’s positive peer pressure on them to adopt policies

If this is the sort of organisation that you want to give to, the next thing is to make sure that you are comfortable that the donation you are giving will really make a difference. The key thing to look for is measurable impact. That’s not just facts and figures, but case studies that show that the organisation’s work is making a change and sustaining that change over a longer period, whether for specific beneficiaries, the environment or through policies.

Some questions you could consider asking the charity are:

  • How will someone’s life change because of this donation?
  • What does success look like for the project/initiative that I’m giving to?
  • What real change has this organisation created or enabled in people’s lives to date? Can they show it to you?
  • How does this project enable a community to be more self-sufficient and capable so it won’t need aid in the future?
  • What does the organisation do to ensure that money won’t be corruptly used? What steps will they take if corruption is suspected or found?
  • Have any of your projects failed? Why? Development is risky, and not all projects work. Good organisations recognise this, and are open about the things they’ve done in the past that didn’t work.

While many people are tempted to ask about an organisation’s administration costs, we’ve left this question off the list. This is because asking about why they need to spend so much on admin costs is a little like asking why an airline might be spending so much on safety costs.

Organisations need to spend money on administration to make sure things are done professionally. They need to pay for staff and management (accountability) to make sure your money doesn’t go missing due to corruption. They spend money on communication so you find out how your donations were spent and what difference it made. In the best agencies money also gets puts into research and evaluation to understand what really works in ending poverty.

And, that’s really the question we should be asking: Does it work?

When it comes to ending poverty, we want to fund things that work. Then, once we know they work, we want them to be as cost-effective as they can be, meaning that we get the best possible price for the best possible outcome.

In ending poverty, it’s the difference between asking ‘how much of my money goes to the school I’m funding’, and ‘can the children read and write properly’?

Climate Action: There Could Be 2 Billion Climate Change Refugees by 2100 #climatechange #climate #sdgs #globalgoals

And 1.4 billion by 2060.

By 2100, the human population is expected to shoot up to 11 billion people.

At the same time, the world’s landmass will shrink as rising sea levels swallow coastlines, displacing an estimated 2 billion people from their homes, according to a new analysis from Cornell University.climea

The world is already struggling to cope with the largest displaced persons crisis in history, 65.6 million people, and a crisis that’s orders of magnitude bigger will present radically different challenges.

 

Most immediately, countries will have to find a way to accommodate those displaced as they flock inward on remaining land mass and determine how to provide enough food, water, and other necessities when resources are strained by the other effects of climate change — droughts, storms, extreme precipitation, and so on.

“We’re going to have more people on less land and sooner that we think,” said lead author Charles Geisler, professor emeritus of development sociology at Cornell, in a statement. “The future rise in global mean sea level probably won’t be gradual. Yet few policy makers are taking stock of the significant barriers to entry that coastal climate refugees, like other refugees, will encounter when they migrate to higher ground.

By 2060, the authors estimate that 1.4 billion people will be displaced, more than four times the prediction of an earlier report.

This change reflects the growing understanding of climate change and its acceleration. A recent analysis found that sea level rise increased by 50% since 1993. Further, there are signs that natural buffers against climate change are reaching their breaking points. While carbon emissions stayed flat in the past three years, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere surged, meaning that less carbon is being soaked up by the oceans and forests.

All around the world, coastal places are dealing with the escalating dangers of climate change

In Miami, politicians across the political spectrum have begun preparing for a mass exodus.

The Maldives, a small string of Pacific islands, is building new islands for people to relocate to when existing islands get submerged at tremendous expense.

In Palau, another small Pacific island, the government created the largest marine reserve in the world to serve two purposes: create a large buffer against waves and attract global investment for inevitable relocation.

In coastal Bangladesh, rising sea levels, landslides, erosion, and cyclones are causing saltwater to seep into rivers, ruining vast sections of rice fields and rendering water undrinkable.

In Mexico City, the ground is sinking as the city’s aquifers get depleted from overuse, drought, overdevelopment, and warming temperatures.

The city of Guangzhou, a multi-trillion dollar powerhouse in China, is being inundated by rising waters and extreme precipitation. In 2016, the city experienced the most rainfall in history and the sewage systems of the poorer and more crowded neighborhoods are already becoming wrecked.

The authors of the report warn that humanity’s many vulnerabilities will be exposed as these problems intensify and it could force reconceptions of borders, human rights, global aid, and more.

“The pressure is on us to contain greenhouse gas emissions at present levels,” he said. “It’s the best ‘future proofing’ against climate change, sea level rise and the catastrophic consequences likely to play out on coasts, as well as inland in the future.”

Affordable And Clean Energy: Bernie Sanders Introduces Legislation to Rebuild Puerto Rico With Clean Energy #globalgoals #sdgs

Sanders’ new bill would invest billions into modernizing Puerto Rico’s infrastructure.

The tail end of Hurricane Maria’s driving rains and powerful winds retreated from Puerto Rico over two months ago, but the aftermath of the devastating storm is not leaving the island any time soon.

Nearly 3.5 million American citizens are still facing a severely damaged electrical grid, crumbling infrastructure, and apathy from a president who has been roundly criticized for his recovery effort.

However, some are choosing to view the massive operation of rebuilding Puerto Rico as a chance to improve the island, bringing it back better than ever before. Leading this charge is former presidential hopeful and current Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

After visiting Puerto Rico last month, Sanders introduced a $146 billion recovery plan Tuesday aimed at rebuilding Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Notably, the plan calls for the elimination of Puerto Rico’s outstanding debt, and prevents all proposed privatization of any public institutions on the islands.

Aptly named the “The Puerto Rico and U.S Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act of 2017,” Sanders’ plan offers a different vision of recovery than anything previously proposed. The bill emphasizes the importance of placing control of recovery into the hands of local impacted communities, with special focus on the sustainable development of infrastructure, and a clean energy power grid.

As hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans leave the island for the mainland of the US, the bill would also incentivize residents to remain in their homes by offering subsidies to municipalities and homeowners who install renewable energy technologies like solar, wind, and geothermal power systems.

the havoc wreaked by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico were exacerbated by the effects of rampant poverty, high rates of unemployment, and a lack of economic investment by the US government into efficient infrastructure systems.

Sanders’ bill, which is to be co-sponsored by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would seek to remedy some of these longstanding social ills by including increased funding to the island’s healthcare and education systems.

Furthermore, the bill would provide additional funds to be invested in efforts to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change — a reality that could worsen the impacts of future weather-related disasters hitting both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and taking action on climate change is goal number 13. Acting too late to combat the effects of climate change would be devastating to millions around the world at risk from weather catastrophes like hurricanes. You can take action on this issue here.

Even with the support of high ranking Democrats, it is expected that Sanders’ bill will not pass through the Republican-controlled congress, as reported by the Washington Post. Earlier in November, Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló requested just under $95 billion to aid relief efforts on the island, but Congress has not approved this sum. Sanders’ bill would nearly double that.

As of this week, Congress has allotted $51 billion in aid for Puerto Rico, with another round of cash expected to be approved in December, Reuters reported.

Sanders told the Washington Post that it is Congress’ responsibility to pass legislation that solves the longstanding structural deficiencies of Puerto Rico.

“Congress must work with the people of Puerto Rico to fundamentally transform its expensive, antiquated and unreliable system,” he said.

Partnership for the Goals: Foreign Aid Was a Big Winner in the Budget Trump Signed Last Week #2030Now #SDGs #GlobalGoals

Essential programs around the world will receive the funding they need.

 

For months, it looked like US foreign aid would face massive cuts, imperilling programs that support education in disaster zones, food relief in famines, and maternal health.

But, thanks to bipartisan leadership from US Congresspeople and Senators, those concerns have dissipated — for now.

US President Donald Trump signed a federal budget through fiscal year 2018 last week that dispensed with the steep cuts that the administration had called for and nearly maintains existing levels of foreign aid, even increasing funding in various areas.

Funding for foreign aid was $59.1 billion last year and this year it will be $55.9 billion — still a sizable cut, but much less than the $17.9 billion reduction requested by the White House.

Although foreign aid makes up less than 0.5% of all US spending, its impacts around the world are enormous — and enormously positive. Foreign aid has helped increase access to health care around the world, provide quality education to millions of children, and help communities become more resilient to climate change.

By largely maintaining current levels of US foreign aid, essential programs around will receive the funding they need.

Here are five takeaways from this 2018 budget.


1/ Health Funding Increased

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Last year, the Trump administration threatened to cut funding for all maternal health programs through the “Global Gag Rule” and GC mounted the “She Decides” campaign to counter this possibility.

Instead of getting cut by the US government, maternal health programs are getting an additional $15 million to provide women and children with essential services.

Notably, the bill rejects the Administration’s original proposal to eliminate funding for family planning, keeping funding for international family planning programs that are bilaterally funded by the US at $608M

Funding for global health security, which seeks to mitigate the threat of infectious and other diseases, increased by $100 million, and funding for efforts to fight tuberculosis, which has been proliferating around the world, increased by $20 million.

2/ Education Funding Increased

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Funding for the Global Partnership for Education was expected to get cut or stay the same, but it ended up receiving getting an additional $12.5 million on the 2017 commitment, bringing the US total contribution to GPE for 2018 to $87.5 million.

Globally, 264 million children are out of school, either because of conflict and crisis, poverty, a lack of teachers and resources, or some other reason. Girls in particular are prevented from completing their educations because of stigmas and barriers around the world.

GPE is working to ensure children in 89 countries get access to a quality education.

3/ Food Aid Increased

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More than 127 million people were on the brink of starvation last year, and funding calls to stop various famines were made throughout the year.

The US budget responded to this demand by allocating an additional $116 million to Food for Peace, to bring the total US commitment to $1.72 billion.

Food for Peace is a US program that seeks to end hunger around the world.

4/ Various Programs Remained Intact

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The 2018 budget maintained funding for a lot of different programs.

For instance, US efforts to combat HIV/AIDS will continue to receive $6 billion; funding for programs that promote access to water and sanitation stayed at $400 million; and agricultural programs that promote food security will continue to receive $1.93 billion.

5/ There Was Broad Bipartisan Support

Senators and congressman from both major parties stepped up to protect foreign aid funding.

In particular,  we applaud:

  • Hal Rogers, Republican Congressman from Kentucky

  • Patrick Leahy, Democratic Congressman from Vermont

  • Nita Lowey, Democratic Congresswoman from New York

  • Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina

  • And all the members of the Appropriations and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs committees


It wasn’t all good news, however. A lot of essential programs will be affected by the net $3.2 billion in foreign aid cuts.

For example, $49 million was removed from emergency migration and refugee assistance, a staggering 98% cut. The world is currently facing the largest refugee crisis in recorded history and countries cannot afford to be withholding aid.

The Economic Support Fund, which supports emerging economies and establishes trade partners, was cut by $713 million; diplomacy programs were cut by $890 million; and funds for UN peacekeeping campaigns were slashed by $528 million, meaning other governments will need to pick up the slack.

Foreign aid fared better than expected in the 2018 budget, but this funding cycle will only be covered through September 30, and the negotiations on 2019’s budget, which will start at a 30% cut once again, have already begun.


Environment & Climate Change: Saudi Arabia Is Investing $200 Billion in Solar Energy #GlobalGoals #SDGs #RenewableEnergy

The country wants to get 10% of its energy from renewables by 2023.

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There’s a lot of oil in Saudi Arabia, but there’s also a lot of sunshine, and as the former loses viability the country is looking to replace pipelines with solar panels.

During his ongoing tour of the US, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to generate 200 gigawatts of solar energy by 2030—the largest solar project ever conceived, through a partnership with Japanese telecom investor SoftBank, according to CNBC.

The partnership is expected to lead to $200 billion in solar investments and create 100,000 jobs for the country, Al Jazeera reports.

There’s a lot of oil in Saudi Arabia, but there’s also a lot of sunshine, and as the former loses viability the country is looking to replace pipelines with solar panels.

During his ongoing tour of the US, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to generate 200 gigawatts of solar energy by 2030—the largest solar project ever conceived, through a partnership with Japanese telecom investor SoftBank, according to CNBC.

The partnership is expected to lead to $200 billion in solar investments and create 100,000 jobs for the country, Al Jazeera reports.

Environment And Pollution: China Reaches 2020 Emissions Target* More Than 600 Days Ahead of Schedule #SDGs #GlobalGoals #2030Now

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*But it hasn’t actually reduced its total amount of emissions.

China, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, says that it has already reached its 2020 goal for reducing carbon dioxide emissions* set under the Paris climate agreement, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua.

The government said that carbon emissions as a unit of gross domestic product have fallen by 46% compared with 2005 levels, while the 2020 goal was a 40% reduction.

The announcement was made Monday by Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change, at the country’s Green Carbon Summit, according to The Hill.

*But, here’s where the asterisk comes in: the way the achievement is framed obscures the fact that China hasn’t actually reduced aggregate carbon emissions.

Instead, the country’s carbon emissions are increasing at a rate that’s slower than the economy’s growth — hence the “as a unit of GDP” framework.

While that means China’s economy is becoming more efficient, it doesn’t mean it has reached “peak carbon,” the point at which a country’s emissions begin to decline.

China currently emits more carbon than the US and Europe combined.

The country plans to max out carbon emissions by 2030, according to The Hill, and will continue to burn more fossil fuels in the meantime.

But if the government continues to pour money into renewable energy and efficiency measures, then this target may also be reached ahead of schedule.

Zhenhua said that the country was able to reach its 2020 goal thanks to a carbon trading program it put in place in 2011 that required manufacturing companies in several states to limit their emissions. That program was rolled out to the rest of the country last year, according to The New York Times.

The government has also begun to invest heavily in renewable energy.

In the last year, China announced a $361 billion clean energy investment plan, shuddered pollution-heavy factories, called for the end of gasoline-powered cars, and assumed a more prominent role in global climate talks.

Despite these advances, China has been criticized for not doing enough to mitigate climate change and many environmental advocates hope that the country will set more ambitious targets under the Paris agreement.

Clean Water And Sanitation: Why Clean Water Efforts Must Focus on These 2.8 Billion People #SDGs #GlobalGoals

And why this World Water Day marks the start of a new era.

The words “decentralized sanitation” might not sound like an exciting couple of words, yet they are of vital importance. And when Global Citizen and our partners saw them in the final recommendation document published March 14 by the High-level Panel on Water (HLPW) — a heavyweight body designed to drive urgent action around Sustainable Development Goal 6 — the organization knew the 215,000 calls to action from GC had made a historic impact.

The absence of this technical-sounding phrase in previous High-level Panel on Water recommendations risked world leaders working to achieve safe water for all, overlooking 2.8 billion people. Yes, that’s right — 2.8 billion people who live in impoverished communities with no pipes, running water or waste management systems to speak of — and thus often have no choice but to use “decentralized” sanitation systems, such as manual emptying of their pit toilets.

And most critically it meant that the strategy laid out by the leadership panel was not going to reach these people and help fix the dire situation of sanitation in their communities which causes 1,000 child deaths every day, and forces women to walk up six hours a day searching for clean water for their families instead of attending school or earning an income.

Yet thankfully the high-level group convened by the United Nations Secretary-General and the president of the World Bank Group, consisting of 11 sitting heads of state and government and one special adviser, heard our call.

In essence, their parting words released today urged leaders across the globe to ensure their activities to tackle the sanitation crisis go beyond simply those with the privilege of access to sewerage sanitation, but also to ensure we meet the needs of the 2.8 billion going without today.

This World Water Day also marks more important news for another marginalized segment of the population, that make up a mere 50% of the world: women. As it is the start of the Decade on Water, an initiative being led by the UN whose core focus will be addressing the challenges for water and sanitation for women.

A lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene impacts entire communities, but disproportionately hurts vulnerable groups like girls and women. Without access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, girls and women spend a total of 200 million hours a day collecting water for their families. This is time they could otherwise be spending at school, earning an income, and thriving to their full potential.

Girls also miss out or drop out of school because they lack the resources and information necessary to manage their periods hygienically and with dignity at school. And they face physical and sexual violence as a result — in India, the 300 million women who lack access to toilets and must therefore defecate in public fields or bushes, are twice as likely to experience rape.  In Nepal, where menstruation is highly stigmatized, girls are often forcibly isolated in “menstruation huts” for the duration of their periods, which exposes them to the dangers of animals and environmental conditions, and can be fatal for girls.

These are just some of the negative consequences that women face daily through lack of safe water and sanitation, all of which the “Decade on Water” campaign seeks to turn the tide on. Yet the UN cannot do it without all of our help — including yours.

We invite you to stay with us over the next 10 years, so we can make ending extreme poverty a reality for all by 2030.