Sarah's Insights: MDG # 7

This week we are discussing Millennium Development Goal #7. Continuing with our series, the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. It's comprised of eight international goals that were agreed to by 193 countries aiming to meet the needs of the global poor by 2015.

7. Ensure environmental sustainability



This goal is comprised for four targets:

  1. a) Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources
  2. b) Reduce biodiversity achieving a significant reduction in the rate of loss by 2010
  3. c) Halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
  4. d) By 2020, achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers


2.1 billion more people now have access to drinking water sources which exceeds the goal! As well, more than 1.9 million people gained access to a toilet, a latrine or another type of improved sanitation facility. More than 2 million slum dwellers now have access to clean water and sanitation facilities which is more than double the target. 14.6% of the worlds land surface is now protected and marine protection have doubled.

What's Still to Be Done

2.5 billion people still do not have access to a toilet. Open defecation is still common and needs to be stopped as it poses serious health and environmental risks. The number of people living in urban slums is rising due to the fast pace of urbanization. Marine species are are becoming extinct at a continually faster pace and forests are disappearing rapidly despite increased laws and policies regarding forest management.

Examples and Stories of Progress

In Panama, safe drinking water has been brought to nine indigenous communities in the Ngöbe-Buglé territory. Members of each community has participated in all phases of development from design, construction and management. Committees have been created within the communities who are trained and provided with technical equipment to maintain the system's infrastructure.

Supported by the World Bank, India has introduced a sanitation campaign called “No Toilet, No Bride” (or, nicely dubbed, no loo, no I do). It has educated rural villagers about proper waste disposal and encourages families of marriage-age girls to demand potential suitors have a working latrine and if not, to construct one. A 25% increase in latrine construction has occurred in families of marriage-age boys.

2015 and beyond
The post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals greatly expand on environmental initiatives. New goals include the conservation of forests, land, oceans, seas and marine resources. It calls for urgent action to be taken on combating climate change as well as ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. Calls to halt desertification and land degradation as well as biodiversity loss are also included.

The official website for the MDG's contains plenty of information and encouraging stories:

 Sarah lives in Northern Ontario with her family. Sarah and her husband have four children, and one grandson. She is an avid reader and learner.  In 2012, Sarah launched JustOne with Krista and travelled to Kenya, Uganda and South Africa together. Sarah has a blog we love to read called "Recipe for Messiness" that is about finding beauty amidst our messy lives. 

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