Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals

This blog's purpose is to connect in an every widening and deepening manner with others across the globe in support of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

Let's be the first generation to end poverty by 2015 with the United Nations' Eight Goal Millennium Campaign.
1. End Hunger 2. Universal Education 3. Gender Equity 4. Child Health 5. Maternal Health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases 7. Environmental Sustainability 8. Global Partnership.

Learn more about what this weblog is trying to accomplish at the new PBworks Wiki.

Speaking Out for the Millennium Development Goals

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What If - Millennium Development Goals Ending Poverty 2015

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Social Media are Tools Not a Campaign but here are 10 that can help make a Campaign

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DigiActive.org has a new video on 10 Tactics you can use in getting support for your favorite cause say the Millennium Development Goals for example. (OK not so new, its been sitting in my drafts for ages but anyway)

Tactical Technology Collective is the premiere international training organization for rights activists interested in using information and digital technology to create positive change. They have recently released a film that beautifully presents 10 key tactics in info-activism. The tactics are:
  1. Mobilise People
  2. Witness and Record
  3. Visualise Your Message
  4. Amplify Personal Stories
  5. Just Add Humour
  6. Investigate and Expose
  7. How to Use Complex Data
  8. Use Collective Intelligence
  9. Let People Ask the Questions
  10. Manage Your Contacts

10 tactics for turning information into action (Trailer) from Tactical Technology Collective on Vimeo.

The film has a dedicated site, http://www.informationactivism.org, where you can check out a local screening (or host your own), and help Tactical Tech promote the film. It’s just what activists need: clear, timely, and concise information that can be easily put into action.

The dedicated site also has individual videos for each of the 10 methods. What is becoming more obvious to me is that one individual, especially one not engaged full time in this arena needs to collaborate with others.


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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Changing the world through the union of small voices in pray and meditation

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Tomorrow is another Bloggers Unite event. Writing on the World Wide Web is still to a large extent similar to putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean. Actually, it is better because I have discovered that the Internet is far more connected than I had surmised and if you send something off, somebody is very likely to see it. Bloggers Unite provides a forum where those with small bottles can join with those with far bigger bottles for their messages.

Why am I going on about messages and bottles? Because the Blogger Unite event tomorrow is

Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day

A Call to unite our hearts as one in prayer and meditation for timely transformations."World Shift Day will launch a 24 hour meditation and prayer marathon to encircle the globe starting with the Mt. Fuji event where over ten thousand people will gather in a ceremony for peace and the awakening of all humanity.

I was thinking again why I do this even though it obviously has little affect for my own basically solitary efforts. Especially when I have admitted in the past that while I do work to hopefully make the world better, I am not that social (seen as kind, friendly enough but not that social though I am currently trying to network with others).

I have written before of "small voices", a concept I find appealing particularly in light of achieving democratic involvement on the web (can everyone in an online democratic exchange have top ranking?)

What came to me yesterday is that these efforts are seeking influence and change for the better without seeking power. All the small voices that share that ocean with me and seek to provide some knowledge or insights into making the world a better place often do so without seeking personal benefit or gain. Seen in this light my efforts can only make sense only as part of a larger whole, that all these small voices together are slowly evolving and changing the World Wide Web and through it the world.

The same can be said of the Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day. This is a hopeful assumption which some will say has no empirical basis. I would argue that the very effort of being hopeful will have influence and that the potential positive leverage makes the "cost/benefit" ratio extremely inviting in regards to participation.

The has a mission statement that sounds in line with the efforts found online with Bloggers Unite and other World Wide Web efforts to change the world for the better:

Mission Statement
Creating higher consciousness
for 2012 and beyond
Generating critical mass for Timely Transformations on planet Earth

Claim your power to
Change the World
Change it in time
Change it for the better
May Peace Prevail On Earth

Our mission
To foster and promote:
An Inner evolution of consciousness
New thinking New values New visions
of the world

Igniting Timely Transformations
Through
Global Peace Meditation and
Prayer Day events
Simultaneous global participation
Reports on the impact of collective
intentions, meditations and prayers
Mobilizing a critical mass of elevated consciousness
A World Shift from
BAU – Business as Usual ( Read More)
to
TT – Timely Transformation (Read More)

This does not mean that I believe that the world can be changed from prayer or meditation alone, any more than I believe that I can be saved with people merely standing up or well intentioned but meager slacktivist efforts like writing a blog. I see it not as creating a cause of change but a condition for change and the more of us who participate the greater the chances for change.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Tragic Irony of of a Two Punch Combo Against the Poor - Malaria and Poverty

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This blog has done a number of posts in the past on the need to fund Malaria intervention programs around the world. A recent post tried to paint a rosier picture than usual to make the argument that Millennium Development Goal No. 6 was achievable within the next 5 years or at least great strides could be made. I could easily be accused of whistling in the dark because for each positive stride we make the recent economic crisis seems to put us two back.

This May AAAS Science Magazine has a special issue on Tuberculosis and Malaria, two of of focuses for Millennium Development Goal 6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Stella Hurtley, Caroline Ash, Leslie Roberts Infectious disease remains one of the biggest killers in developing countries. Two of them account for an enormous toll: Eleven million people live with tuberculosis (TB), and almost 250 million cases of malaria—and roughly a million deaths among children—were reported in 2008; a staggering assault on human-kind. The 33 million people who live with HIV/AIDS are frequently co-infected with TB and/or malaria, and co-infection increases the overall risk of mortality and morbidity from all three diseases. Once, we aspired to find "magic bullet" solutions to these plagues using vaccines or drugs, but we have learned that there are no cure-all or simple solutions. These pathogens have complex repertoires of genetic resources that permit them to constantly reinvent themselves and escape the pressures applied by infection-control measures. To curb these elusive targets, we, too, need a large repertoire of tools.

In the same issue, Dr. Barry R. Bloom, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor of Public Health and former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health Editorial wrote an editorial in support for Global Health and against the $50 million reduction in funding for the Global Fund requested by the U.S. government for fiscal year 2011. Sorry, but you need to be a paid AAAS member to see the entire magazine.

Editorial Support for Global Health Barry R. Bloom

As more nations struggle with stressed economies, aid to the developing world becomes increasingly vulnerable to governments' budgetary cuts. The industrialized world is recognizing that coordinating global development assistance is the most efficient way to maximize effectiveness and minimize duplication. Earlier this year, the United States, the largest funder of global health assistance, announced that it seeks to expand multilateral efforts to address the major health problems of developing countries. One of the triumphs of multilateral cooperation has been the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a program that has saved millions of lives in developing countries. That is why the $50 million reduction in funding for the Global Fund requested by the U.S. government for fiscal year 2011, in the face of increased requests for expanded coverage by those countries, would be a major setback.

The AAAS report also featured one of the good guys in this struggle, the Malaria Consortium which according to their website works in partnership with communities, health systems, government and non-government agencies, academic institutions and local and international organisations to ensure good evidence supports delivery of effective services. Together, we work to secure access for groups most at risk, to prevention, care and treatment of malaria and other communicable diseases.

TUESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and blood poisoning account for more than two-thirds of the 8.8 million annual deaths in kids under 5 years of age worldwide, a new report shows.
Adding more of a burden on the tragic irony of the situation, impoverished Women in developing countries are forced to to choose between trying to save their children from malaria and spending money for food to avoid risk losing their children to starvation. An average poor family spends 30 percent of household income fighting malaria.

The good folks at Care2 raised this issue an important truth about focusing on only one aspect of the Millennium Development Goals at a time.

Malaria is economically devastating, too. According to research by Freedom from Hunger, in West Africa very poor families, on average, spend one-third of their income dealing with malaria. It's essential that the UN Capital Development Fund educate women about microfinance opportunities so they can develop the financial resources to fight this deadly disease.

To help you imagine what it means to spend a third of your income just to prevent one disease, that is the percent of income that in the United States is viewed as being an appropriate level for affordable housing. In America, you should expect to pay 30% of your income to pay for your shelter, the greatest essential expense most people in this country have. You can help by clicking here to tell the UN Capital Development Fund to increase these opportunities for women. >>

It is widely recognized that women are the key to getting these countries out of poverty. Giving these women a boost with a micro loan helps them to take that extra step and give themselves permission to be creative and resourceful. These systems are already in place. We just need to make sure they reach these families in time.
The UNCDF or United Nations Capital Development Fund offers a unique combination of investment capital, capacity building and technical advisory services to promote microfinance and local development in the Least Developed Countries

Here is my contribution to the conversation:

As is so often the case, the lack of attention to one of the Millennium Development Goals impacts detrimentally another of the Millennium Development Goals. Millennium Development Goal 3 seeks to address the disenfranchisement of women economically and otherwise even though they usually have primary responsibility for family care. By not addressing their basic human needs it weakens even more their capacity to help address the scourges that Millennium Development Goal 6 seeks to address. It cannot be one of the other, it has to be both, it has to be all eight in truth. For today though, for this step, in light of billion dollar bailouts, we need to address these issues through both fronts being proposed here.

I was number 9,181 and they are trying to get to 10,000 and beyond.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Help ONE save the International Affairs Budget and move the MDGs forward

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Recently Maryamu Aminu, the Director for Government Relations for ONE sent me some bad news . The Senate Budget Committee leaders ignored our voices and singled-out the International Affairs Budget for $4 billion in devastating cuts that could threaten programs critical to the health and survival of many poor people around the world. This despite more than 40,000 ONE members taking action and a record 31 senators responding by signing a letter to Senate Budget Committee leaders, urging full funding for the fight against global poverty. This is the second time ONE has requested we send an Urgent Message To [Insert Your Senator's Name Here] on U.S. International Affairs Budget.

Both of my Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer added their names to a new effort to restore funding and American leadership to the fight against global poverty and disease which is essential if the Millennium Development Goals are to be met. I featured Senator Boxer's support in the post Senator Barbara Boxer Speaks Up for the Millennium Development Goals.

I sent the message to my to Senators asking them to please fix this budget by signing the bipartisan appropriations letter, sponsored by Senators Kerry and Lugar, that supports full funding for the State-Foreign Operations bill.

For about 1.5% of the overall U.S. Budget we can have a tremendous impact on the world on ONE (and MDG) priorities such as debt relief for countries including Haiti; life-saving treatment and prevention measures for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; and programs empowering women, promoting agricultural development, and enrolling millions of children in school.

You can sent a message to your Senators by clicking here. ONE is seeking 25,000 responses and has 14,572 with me. So far 3,217 fellow Californians have signed the petition. My two cents to my Senators is below.

This message is going to both of my California Senators who have worked in the past on Humanitarian issues. Senator Boxer has been especially supportive in the past having been kind enough to send me an email bakck on August 14, 2009 stating, "I am pleased to report that the Senate has voted to fully fund President Obama's request for the Fiscal Year 2010 International Affairs Budget. S.Con.Res.13 includes $51.7 billion in funding, a significant and necessary increase over FY2009 funding levels. Please know that I will work to maintain this level of funding as the appropriations process continues." I am asking both her and her fellow California Senator to keep that promise. More and more we see that the way to world stability both economically and political cannot be at the end of a gun. The United States must take a lead role in working with other countries to solve the planet's problems.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Meeting the Millennium Development Goals won't happen if nobody knows and nobody knows without Freedom of the Press and a good deal more.

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Tomorrow is another BloggersUnite event in which I am participating although the BloggersUnite site has been having trouble for some time now. This time it is World Press Freedom Day.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 3 May to be World Press Freedom Day[1][2] to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.

At this year’s World Press Freedom Day celebration, UNESCO would like to explore how media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social and political process that helps people gain control over their own lives. This can only be achieved through access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, representing a plurality of opinions, and the means to actively communicate vertically and horizontally, thereby participating in the active life of the community.

Let there be no doubt that I am fully in support of Press Freedom. I am, however, going to use this post to argue that while it is an essential foundation, often it is not enough to ensure empowerment. The empowerment is assumed because Press Freedom is taken for granted and the freedom in many ways is squandered.

At the beginning of 2010 the World Economic Forum was again held in Davos. One of the issues raised was how can the Millennium Development Goals for 2015 be met in the wake of the economic crisis? The problem was that a combination of food and financial crises had trapped an estimated 50 to 90 million people in extreme poverty in 2009. This FORA.tv video Meeting the Millennium Development Goals looks to start answering that question. This did not start off being a post about World Press Freedom Day but the economic crisis is a world changing news story in the negative and the Millennium Development Goals need to be a world changing news story in the positive.

Now I enjoy FORA.tv as a source of information and a quick check tells me that there have been 1,157 viewings by others. In terms of being a blip in world conversations going on this is minuscule. While it is true that other conversations of a similar nature are also going on I have personal reasons to believe that they are not as of yet significant in nature.

I find that my blog posts on the Millennium Development Goals often reach page one on Google searches. This, I realize is not because I am so good but because I have very little competition in this area. I am a small voice, a personal and non-institutional voice in a large public space. These stories are either too focused technically and are being dealt with by a small number of experts and policy wonks or there is a sizable but still not politically significant within the middle class of the democratic industrialized countries, especially in USA. It is the social media on the World Wide Web that helps in leveraging either small but potentially influential groups in developed countries with larger but more restricted groups in other countries. Doing this on a global basis however is a challenge that has not only not been met, I am not sure it is even being conceptualized. I am not looking to become a more significant voice with greater leverage, I am looking to becoming an even smaller part of the whole because the Millennium Development Goal public conversation becomes ubiquitous. The economic and political middle class across the globe needs to come to see the Millennium Development Goals as simply the right thing to do, not just young activists.

One of the overall challenges to implementing the Millennium Development Goals is that the economic crisis story gets for more time in front of the public eye than does the story of the Millennium Development Goals. One also has to worry if these issues will be portrayed or seen as being in competition with each other. If the middle class will see its way of life threatened if industrial countries use less than one percent of GDP to address these issues. This is not a matter of freedom of the press. I feel safe in saying that the United States, which has a high level of press freedom has among the lowest of main stream media press coverage of the Millennium Development Goals.

This lack of conversation in the public commons is also reflected in the lack of collaborative infrastructure which to my mind is more prevalent in Europe. The press has become a matter of two way information exchange, same as the market place in many ways. Yes, we in the USA have some of the major philanthropic and on-line community activist player such as CARE or Care2 but I find more collaborative organizational systems, both at the policy and grassroots levels in Europe. These include EUFORIC and ComPart. Perhaps they are more used to collaboration versus competition over there.

What the World Wide Web and social media makes possible is to move beyond information exchange to truly international levels of cooperation and collaboration. The Development Gateway Foundation and the related Zunia are two examples that go beyond national boundaries. I strongly suspect that they are not well known by most people anywhere, but more particularly in industrial development countries and especially here in the United States.

Access to basic and relevant information is undoubtedly essential to democracies. Individuals can make the choice to go outside their normal arenas and find other sources of information on issues such as the Millennium Development Goals from sources that have neither the assumed freedom or resources of major US news organizations, IPS Inter Press Service, IRIN, and SciDev.Net are a few outside the main stream news sources that are on my website. One very good sources for finding bloggers dealing with important issues across the globe is Global Voices, a community of more than 200 bloggers around the world who work together to bring you translations and reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.

I have, of course, made a paper tiger with this argument. The truth is that the only way for us to achieve the level of informational empowerment envisioned here is for each of us to utilize our own individual Freedom of the Press and work to protect that freedom for others, to keep on writing or blogging about those issues we feel important and passionate about and using the Freedom of the Press to empower those seeking freedom in all aspects of their lives.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Plan USA, UNICEF & CARE all say: Make your mother proud this Mother's Day

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Next Sunday is Mother's Day so I have been collecting some do-gooder actions one can take in their Mother's name for all mothers to make their mother's proud.

Plan USA says you can make your mother proud this Mother's Day, May 9, by making a Gift of Hope in her honor.

What better way to honor your Mom than with a Gift of Hope that can help protect, nourish and educate children in need?
  • In your mother's name this Mother's Day, you can help immunize a child against measles, polio, and tetanus.
  • In your mother's name, you can help feed a malnourished child.
  • In your mother's name can pay school fees so that girls can go to school and provide a better future for themselves and their families.
Select a Mother's Day Gift of Hope today!

Please, order by noon (EDT) on Tuesday May 4th to get your gift card in time for Mother's day. Please allow more time for cards being delivered outside of the continental United States. To order by phone call 1-800-556-7918.

Caryl M. Stern, U.S. Fund for UNICEF recommends UNICEF's innovative new Mother-Baby Packs contain all of the antiretroviral medicines and antibiotics needed to give these babies the chance at life that they deserve. These lifesaving packs will protect a baby from mother-to-child HIV transmission – throughout pregnancy, during labor and after delivery.

It's heartbreaking to know that each day, 1,400 infants are infected with HIV. Tragically, half of them will die before their second birthday.

You can make an Inspired Gift on Mother's Day AND save a baby's life in just a few easy steps:

  1. Buy a Mother-Baby Pack.
  2. Create an eCard and dedicate the gift to your mom, wife, sister, aunt, or another special person in your life.
  3. We'll send the eCard.
  4. UNICEF will send a Mother-Baby Pack to save a mother and baby in one of five priority African countries where the need is greatest.
Helene D. Gayle, CARE suggests that you Honor your mother and empower anotherWe're excited to let you know that the Wall of Mothers — an interactive photo gallery — is back this Mother's Day! Please help us pay tribute to millions of mothers worldwide by posting a photo of your mother or another woman in your life who inspires you. Click here to visit the 2010 Wall of Mothers.

After you post your photo to CARE's Wall of Mothers, you can send an e-card of your photo along with a personalized message to your mom or other inspiring women in your life. By doing so, you'll help us spread the word about CARE's lifesaving work around the world. It only takes a minute to honor your mother and help empower another!

Keep politics from getting in the way of swift climate action

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The Union of Concerned Scientists is warning us that We can't let politics get in the way of swift climate action and are asking that we write our senator today. Please tell your senators to urge Senate leadership to act now to break this impasse.

This week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) were on the verge of introducing climate and energy legislation when a political disagreement between Graham and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) led to an unnecessary delay.

Senate leadership must not to let political differences on unrelated issues impede swift passage of comprehensive climate and energy legislation. Please tell your senator to urge Senate leadership to act now to break this impasse.

Take Action Today!
Sincerely,
KateAbend_jpg
Kate Abend
National Field Organizer
UCS Climate and Energy Program

It is easy enough to take this action as they provide you the basic language for the email. I know that both my two senators have supported these efforts so I recognize that when I write to them. I also make it a habit to throw in something about the Millennium Development Goals in this case Millennium Goal 7. Environmental Sustainability. Here is my letter.

Dear Senator

I know that you have done a tremendous amount of work in this area already. Yet despite the latest science pointing to ever more dire and costly consequences of global warming we still can't come to a consensus for action even in our own country. What hope does the world then have to achieve global goals such as environmental sustainability under the Millennium Development Goals. We can't afford to wait any longer for passage of comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

The federal report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, warns that unabated global warming will likely lead to water shortages, loss of species, hazards to coasts from sea level rise, and an increase in severity of extreme weather events. The latest science indicates that spring is now arriving 10 days earlier and that there will be much greater sea level rise than previously expected.

The tireless work of Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joseph Lieberman is proof that bipartisan success is well within reach. We have never been so close to putting this country on track to dramatically cut heat-trapping emissions and jumpstart a clean energy economy.

I am asking you to keep pressing forward on this very important issue.

Brian Dowling

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Millennium Bloggers (more at the Wiki)

Global News Sources

The Other Blog - My Pathways to New Paradigms

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