Friday, 16 March 2007

Building a Better World

The Development Data Group at the World Bank launched this very interesting and interactive online Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Atlas.

In case you are new to MDG, here’s a little info on it from its website:

At the Millennium Summit in September 2000 the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets, with a deadline of 2015, that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world's time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security.

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality

Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

And the Millennium Project, set out to achieve the MDGs:

The Millennium Project was commissioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2002 to recommend a concrete action plan for the world to reverse the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people. Headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the Millennium Project was an independent advisory body and presented its final report, Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, to the Secretary-General in January 2005…

Investing in Development proposes straightforward solutions for meeting the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline. The world already has the technology and know-how to solve most of the problems faced in the poor countries. As of 2006, however, these solutions still had not been implemented at the needed scale. Investing in Development presents recommendations for doing so, through partnership between countries both rich and poor.

Back to the Atlas.

Each map on the site is interactive and supported by data tables, informative text, and charts in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. There is also an option to have a map resized according to relative size of countries in relation to the various MDGs, which provides a very interesting, instant and insightful perspective of the world beyond geography.

For example, this is a map of the world based on CO2 emission…

...and this is the world, resized based on CO2 emission and with added bar charts.

Explore the site – it is fun and informative (albeit in a geeky sort of way).


PS: For those who are interested, Dani Rodrik wrote a paper titled “Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion” which includes a short critique of Jeffery Sachs’ MDG plans (both are from Harvard), and of IMF and World Bank in general. Although a bit informal, this paper is very insightful and articulates how I think about economic policies too.


Anonymous said...

sounds exciting and thks for the info

TGIF..can't wait for the week-end to explore further


Anonymous said...

I am fighting poverty because I am gainfully employed.

Elanor said...

good that everyone is doing their part.

zcer said...

I read the Rodrik article “Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion” you linked to.

Although not an economist, I get the gist of the argument. It's methodology is quite like mine. How i approach philosophy and math in general.

Firstly, it's holistic, being well aware that well intended corrections can cascade to unforeseen and unintended consequences. Secondly, it's practical. Not in the sense that it totally ignores theory and goes about it in an ad-hoc fashion. But working within constraints of the situation. Thirdly, it goes one level above the argument and show show both sides are both right and both wrong in different aspects of the issue.

I remember you mentioned yourself being a centrist. Like Aristotle's golden mean. But i think, beyond the fact that your position lies between two extremes. The essence of being a centrist is that she recognizes that there is more than simply one dimension to any issue. Having so many variables however, the ideal solution tends toward the center.

I however not an extremist, am still an idealist. Not in the derogatory sense of the word. I believe there is an optimum, that is the best possible, although often not perfect. So instead of having many smaller stories instead of one grand narrative, i like to think there is just one grand narrative with many subplots or something like that. lol, this comment is tending to digress...

Anyway, this bodes well for countries experiencing poverty. I hope this shift of attitude gets reflected in practice.

Thanks for recommending the article.

Elanor said...

thanks for your comment zcer, by linking this to the centrist post, it prompted me with much introspection and made me think with greater clarity. will post on this maybe.

thanks again.