In September 2015, the United Nations launched
their 15 year plan to make the world a better place. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals
are focused on improvement and longevity, and are a focal point of The UN Week in New
York City. Additionally, a number of Summits provide the opportunity for world leaders
to cooperate in achieving these global goals. So, what exactly are the world’s biggest
problems? Well, first and foremost, poverty is an inescapable
issue for nearly all developing countries. Roughly 1 in 7 people around the world live
on less than $1.25 a day, and nearly half of the global population lives on just $2.50.
While about a third of the world’s poor are located in India, only 10 countries house
80% of the poorest people on earth. Closely tied to poverty is the issue of hunger.
Inadequate nutrition contributes to nearly half of all child deaths worldwide, and in
regions like sub-Saharan Africa, one in four people are malnourished. As a result, nearly
800 million people do not have access to enough food to live healthy, active lives. Similarly,
water and sanitation are absolute necessities. Yet nearly the same number of people without
access to food, lack access to water. And a third of the world’s population risks
disease by not having adequate sanitation. Another major issue for developing countries
is a lack of educational opportunities. The UN predicted in 2011 that if all students
had even basic reading skills, world poverty could be reduced by more than ten percent.
But illiteracy is an asymmetrical problem, and affects considerably more women than men.
Of roughly 780 million illiterate adults worldwide, two thirds are female. As a result, women
have considerably fewer opportunities, and it hurts a country’s ability to progress
economically without a fully educated workforce. This inequality is rampant, and not exclusively
relegated to gender. Economic inequality is also drawn along racial and social divides.
Countries like Namibia see only a few thousand white landowners owning almost half of the
country’s agricultural land for a population of more than 2 million. In fact, land distribution has become an increasingly
relevant issue. With man-made climate change, deforestation, and overfishing, the rapid
environmental decline might be too late to reverse. Although organizations like the UN
have implemented standards, and worked to save forests, oceans, and the atmosphere,
it continues to be a serious issue for the international community. The UN Summit’s 17 global goals span from
micro to macro, and hope to contribute to solutions for the world’s biggest problems.
Through communication, training, and financial support, it is up to influential world leaders
and average citizens to seek to improve the world. Since addressing issues like poverty
and hunger, most countries have made considerable progress on every set goal. So we know that the United Nations has been
effective working on these issues, but HOW effective has it been? Find out in our video.
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