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Some Of The World’s Biggest Problems

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What are the biggest social and economic problems the world faces today? And how close are we to ending them?

Those are the questions that the U.N. Economic and Social Council aims to answer in its first report on the Sustainable Development Goals, released this past week.

The SDGs, as they’re known, are 17 global goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030. The U.N.’s member states approved them last September.

It’s too early to measure whether any progress has been made, says Francesca Perucci, chief of the statistics branch at the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs who worked on the report — that will take one or two more years of data.

The report serves as a status update on the work already done to reach these goals in years past — and what remains to be done. It also shares figures on issues like child marriage and gender equality, which have not been measured on a global level before.

Casey Dunning, senior policy analyst for aid effectiveness at the Center for Global Development, a think tank for international issues, thinks the data does an “admirable job of laying out the challenges that face us. “But,” she says, “it doesn’t tell us how to make progress on those challenges.”

Here are a few highlights from the report:

The good news

  • Extreme poverty has been cut in half. The proportion of the world’s population living below the extreme poverty line dropped by more than half between 2002 and 2012. Some 800 million people still live under $1.90 a day.
  • Fewer children are going hungry. The proportion of children under age 5 who are stunted — small for their age due to malnutrition — fell from 33 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2014. Still, an estimated 158 million children under age 5 were affected by stunting in 2014.
  • More moms and babies are surviving after childbirth. Between 1990 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 44 percent to an estimated 216 deaths per 100,000 live births — and the mortality rate of children under age 5 fell by more than half. An estimated 5.9 million children under 5 died in 2015, mostly from preventable causes.
  • More people have clean drinking water. In 2015, 6.6 billion people, or 91 percent of the global population, had a cleaner drinking water source compared with 82 percent in 2000.
  • Child marriage has been declining slowly. Globally, the proportion of women aged 20 to 24 who reported that they were married before their 18th birthdays dropped from 32 percent around 1990 to 26 percent around 2015. According to 2012 data from the International Center for Research on Women, 70 million women ages 20 to 24 had been married before the age of 18.
  • Countries are upping their contributions. Foreign aid totaled $131.6 billion in 2015 — 6.9 percent higher in real terms than in 2014.

The bad news

  • Overweight children is an emerging problem. The share of overweight children under age 5 increased by nearly 20 percent between 2000 and 2014. Approximately 41 million children in this age group worldwide were overweight in 2014; almost half of them lived in Asia.
  • Women still do more work at home than men. Between 2000 and 2014, a survey of women in 59 countries said they spend 19 percent of their time each day on unpaid labor — caregiving and household tasks like cooking and cleaning — versus just 8 percent for men. That means women and girls work longer hours than men and boys and have less time for rest, learning and other activities.
  • Half the world breathes in polluted air. In 2014, about half the urban population globally was exposed to air pollution levels at least 2.5 times above the standard of safety set by the World Health Organization. Outdoor air pollution in both cities and rural areas is estimated to have caused 3.7 million premature deaths in 2012.
  • Cases of preventable diseases are going down — but they still persist. The incidence of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis declined between 2000 and 2015. In 2015, however, the U.N. reports that 2.1 million people were newly infected with HIV, and an estimated 214 million people contracted malaria.
  • Poor children aren’t getting the education they need to succeed. In 2013, 59 million children of primary school age and 65 million adolescents of lower secondary age were out of school. Most of them were girls. Surveys from 63 low- and middle-income countries between 2008 and 2012 show that children from the poorest 20 percent of households are more than four times as likely to be out of school as their richest peers.
  • Children from poor countries aren’t being counted. Registering a child with the authorities is the first step to accessing basic rights and justice — yet the births of more than one in four children under age 5 worldwide go unrecorded. According to data from UNICEF, that’s 220 million children. In the least developed countries, one in two children have not been registered by age 5. That means everything from getting into school to getting a job could be a struggle.

23 Comments on "Some Of The World’s Biggest Problems"

  1. onlooker on Sun, 24th Jul 2016 5:00 pm 

    So its good news that —-More moms and babies are surviving after childbirth. Umm, we truly are in a trap. More people surviving are just making things worse for all into the future. A true catch 22. Of course Nature will solve it for us.

  2. penury on Sun, 24th Jul 2016 5:09 pm 

    Most of the world’s biggest problems, appear to be predicaments. I have yet to see any thoughts on how to cure them except the old stand-byes, Famine, war and disease. What shall be, shall be.

  3. Hello on Sun, 24th Jul 2016 5:31 pm 

    A few expensive nukes dropped on africa and middle eastern shit holes (and maybe on London, Paris and New York) would solve the problem quite nicely.

  4. claman on Sun, 24th Jul 2016 6:33 pm 

    Don’t fight epidemies. That would in the end be a fair way to stop over population.
    Don’t send food to regions that repeatedly can’t support hem selves.
    Dont support any religion or life philosofy that includes space-mens like god, allah, jahve or any other unidentified ruling objects.

  5. Anonymous on Sun, 24th Jul 2016 7:04 pm 

    NPR=National Propaganda Radio

    If those are the ‘highlights’ I suspect that report isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. Even at a glance, its clear a lot of its ‘feel good’ statistics are highly questionable.

    Extreme poverty dropped by 1/2 in just 10 years? I doubt that very much.

  6. makati1 on Sun, 24th Jul 2016 7:24 pm 

    The world’s biggest problems:

    The 0.1%
    The global corporations
    The Western banking/theft system
    The Neocons (they overlap the above.)
    The disappearance of logic and common sense.

  7. claman on Sun, 24th Jul 2016 8:37 pm 

    MAK, “The 0.1%
    The global corporations
    The Western banking/theft system”
    You are right about that, but we are still too many people, no matter if we sympathise with one system or the other. Please give us some epidemies so that mother nature can survive.

  8. claman on Sun, 24th Jul 2016 8:53 pm 

    Penury said: “I have yet to see any thoughts on how to cure them except the old stand-byes, Famine, war and disease.”

    I see no problems in the old stand-byes. Just let them come.

  9. Go Speed Racer on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 4:02 am 

    Check it out……….
    Planet is changing, no more ecosystem

    We don’t need a lousy ole ecosystem anyway, it’s way over-rated.

  10. Davy on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 5:28 am 

    Speeder, we created Disney Worl why not Great Barrier Reef world. We don’t even need an ocean to do it in we can make a hole and pump the water in. Instead of Mickey we can get Spongebob to greet everyone. Everyone can wear head gear like Sandy. They can eat fast food to at the Krusty Crab and Chum Bucket. Good things can happen when ecosystems die if we just spend some money and use our imagination.

  11. Kenz300 on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 7:17 am 

    Too many people……….create too much pollution and demand too many resources….

    China made great progress in moving its people out of poverty…….one reason was slowing population growth…..

    Too many people demand too many resources……yet the worlds population grows by 80 million every year…..

    How many charities are dealing with the same problems they were dealing with 10 or 20 years ago with no end in sight. Every problem is made worse by the worlds growing population.

    If you can not provide for yourself you can not provide for a child.

    CLIMATE CHANGE, declining fish stocks, droughts, floods, air water and land pollution, poverty, water and food shortages, unemployment all stem from the worlds worst environmental problem……. OVER POPULATION.

    Yet the world adds 80 million more mouths to feed, clothe, house and provide energy and water for every year… this is unsustainable… and is a big part of the Climate Change problem

    Birth Control Permanent Methods: Learn About Effectiveness

  12. noobtube on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 8:45 am 

    In the mind of the American degenerates, it is always the people who create the LEAST pollution and garbage that are the problem, not the ones who create the MOST.

    If Americans are so worried about too many people, just kill yourself. Problem solved.

  13. makati1 on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 8:54 am 

    noobtube, I agree. The resources used/wasted by the 320 million Americans would give a billion other people a good life if evenly distributed.

  14. Alan on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 8:58 am 

    Having a better situation, or more food, or being smarter, or luckier than the next person is not unusual or a crime unless you are the one with less.

    So, to start saving the world we kill all the Americans? Then the Europeans, and the Australians, until we get down to the Bangladeshi?

    The overpopulation problem is best addressed by outlawing biological reproduction. Zero babies equals no growth. (sarcasm, btw)

  15. PracticalMaina on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 10:00 am 

    More people drinking clean water, questionable at best, ask flint, or frack country or Houston or Venezuela or India or Iran or North Korea.

    Also, are there really fewer child brides or are they just not surviving to their 20th bdays are we really getting accurate data in dangerous areas where this is more prevalent.

  16. Sissyfuss on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 11:31 am 

    This article is from an anthropocentric perspective with a dash of bleeding heart tossed in. No mention of the big 3, overpopulation, resource depletion, and climate phantasmagoria. Can’t see the cliff for the scenery.

  17. Go Speed Racer on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 6:36 pm 

    Thx Davy yes we can have plastic Eco system, better than the original. Looks like boo tube is back, liking his plan for population control.
    You first.

  18. Kenz300 on Tue, 26th Jul 2016 8:48 am 

    Overpopulation makes every problem harder to solve.

    Poverty…unemployment……..climate change…….

    The Effects Of Growth: Sprawl & Development – YouTube

  19. HARM on Tue, 26th Jul 2016 12:53 pm 

    This so-called list of the world’s “biggest problems” is a pathetic dodge and clearly redacted to not upset idiot readers.

    Any list that does not start with overpopulation/overshoot and destruction of the environment is an utter waste of time. They are the underlying causes of almost every other problem.

  20. Bob Inget on Tue, 26th Jul 2016 5:59 pm 

    When a day comes when comments are signed
    with authors actual names, I’ll resume reading and contributing.

    Bob Inget

  21. makati1 on Wed, 27th Jul 2016 4:27 am 

    And what is YOUR name Bob? I could use my real name, but it is common one and there are literally hundreds in the US and across the world. Makati1 describes where I choose to live. That tells you a lot more than my name would. I make it a point to not make it easy to track me. If you are intelligent, you will do the same.

  22. Kenz300 on Wed, 27th Jul 2016 7:22 am 

    Having a child you can not provide for is just cruel…..and only leads to more poverty, suffering and despair…….

    Travel to the Real Philippines: Homeless Family w/ 3 Young Kids. Poverty among Filipinos is High

  23. Kenz300 on Fri, 29th Jul 2016 4:23 am 

    The worlds poorest people are having the most children. They have not figured out the connection between their poverty and family size. Endless population growth is not sustainable. Every additional child you have takes resources away from the first one.

    If you can not provide for yourself you can not provide for a child.

    Birth Control Permanent Methods: Learn About Effectiveness

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