Displaying 1-7 of 7 key documents
Source: UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) | 2009
This resolution, drafted by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), aims to mainstream global attempts to facilitate scientific innovation for sustainable development.
Its importance lies in engaging with the vast array of rights-based science and technology issues — including research systems, knowledge divides and cyber-security — and its explicit attempts to ground scientific and technological advance within the framework for achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
It presents a series of recommendations for consideration by national governments, the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). These include mainstreaming science and technology promotion and investment in governments' national development plans; providing suitable working conditions for scientific talent, particularly women and young graduates, to prevent brain drain; identifying critical gaps in countries' innovation systems; and developing a clearing house for common development challenges that can be addressed through scientific, technological and innovation-related issues.
Source: United Nations Environment Management Group | October 2011
This report outlines the first coherent strategy drawn up by the UN to address dryland management, taking into account environmental concerns and the well-being of dryland communities. It examines the relationship between drylands and climate change, food security and livelihoods, and highlights ways in which the UN is working to mainstream drylands into policymaking processes.
Climate change is already having an impact on crop yields and nutrition in areas that rely on rain-fed agriculture, according to the report, and these impacts will intensify by 2020 in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. The impacts of climate change may be most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, suggesting that those already vulnerable will be affected the most.
A key message is that the international community has an opportunity to address the underlying causes of dryland degradation. The report concludes that global cooperation must be intensified if the ten-year strategic plan of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification — whose aim is to tackle desertification and degradation — and the Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved.
Source: Meridian Institute | January 2005
This report, published by the Meridian Institute describes the growing interest of developing countries including Brazil, China, India and South Africa, in nanotechnology. The ways nanotechnology applications could solve health, sanitation, and pollution problems and provide faster, cheaper information and communication technology are outlined. The challenges of using and developing nanotechnology for and in developing nations including the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders are also discussed.
The Meridian Institute says nanotechnology can play a role in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. As a result, rich nations should dedicate a reasonable portion of their overseas development assistance to nanotechnology.
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Source: Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) | 2005
This report examines how renewable energy can help developing countries boost economic development and alleviate poverty. It highlights the benefits of using renewable energy technologies — from increasing access to electricity to creating jobs — and outlines the hurdles to scaling up production, including the lack of subsidies and government support. The report suggests several actions for policymakers, including creating supportive policies, promoting private investment, nurturing micro-enterprise, and building projects around local needs.
Source: Food Nutrition Bulletin | December 2006
This paper explains how interdisciplinary collaboration in health, nutrition, and agriculture has helped the Millennium Villages Project in 12 African villages meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Global science is increasingly under pressure to become more interdisciplinary. Econutrition is a good example of a cross-sector concept that joins environmental and human health, focusing on crosscutting areas such as agriculture and ecology.
Soil erosion and decreasing biodiversity causes environmental damage that lowers food production. A lack of food results in malnutrition and illness that, in turn, lead to poorer labour productivity and poorer agricultural management.
The Millennium Villages Project emphasises community engagement and leadership, and the case study from the Nyanza Province near Lake Victoria in Kenya illustrates that this can work well in improving nutrition.
One-fifth of adults in the area have HIV and many have malaria and TB. People in the region go hungry for up to seven months a year and are malnourished. The villagers constructed a health clinic and organised teams of community healthcare workers trained in nutrition.
Farmers receive fertilisers and plants if they donate ten per cent of their harvest towards a school lunch programme that concentrates on providing missing nutrients. For example, by adding local crops such as sweet potatoes common vitamin A deficiencies are eliminated. The key to success, say the authors, is to ensure that farmers are supported, especially in producing a variety of crops.
Source: PLoS Medicine | September 2007
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) practically define health efforts in the 21st century, but they virtually ignore non-communicable diseases such as mental health, say these authors. This is despite evidence that mental health disorders are among the most important cause of sickness and disability and even premature mortality. The authors argue that tackling mental health problems will be vital to achieving the MDGs, and three in particular — eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, and improving maternal health.
Poverty and hunger are well-recognised risk factors for mental health, but mental health also makes it harder for people to escape the hunger trap. Mothers who are depressed during pregnancy and post natally, are more likely to have underweight babies; not only that, the illness means these mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding and less likely to ensure their children are properly immunised than mothers without depression.
The authors advocate that strengthening basic health-care systems should be holistic. For example, developing countries need more and better-trained health workers but they should not only know how to deliver babies but also how to counsel new mothers. HIV/AIDS programmes, as another example, should ensure that individuals not only have good access to antiretrovirals but also to treatment for depression if they need it.
In 2003, the Gates foundation infused new vigour into global health efforts by declaring that the 21st century's "grand challenges" included developing new vaccines and overcoming drug resistance. This new grand challenges initiative, launched by a collaboration of top global chronic disease experts, identifies priorities in tackling diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and explains in detail how research should be directed to meet each challenge (a challenge was defined as a critical barrier that if removed would help solve an important health problem).
To distill the range of opinions and priorities, the coordinators sought input from 155 stakeholders from different countries and disciplines. The initiative requires the participation of agencies like the WHO, individual governments, and non-governmental organisations as well as civil society and business if it is to succeed. The authors point out that the Gates initiative was linked to large funding, whereas this project will rely on multiple funding agencies to coordinate on these priorities.