One Thousand Days

A couple of days ago I read an article that said it was 1000 days until 2015 – the target year for the Millennium Development Goals. Upon checking, it actually turns out that there are 1194 days left until we enter the year 2015, a number that can be rounded off very easily to one thousand.

One thousand days? It seems like the tiniest drop in the ocean of time that is our planet’s history. How much can be done in one thousand days?

In the year 2000 the UN set eight goals to tackle the major global issues that were identified at the time – extreme poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease. These goals were ambitious, challenging, and ultimately essential in the fight for our planet and it’s people.

More than ten years have passed since these goals and targets were set. And an incredible amount of progress has been made in achieving each of these goals. Poverty is on the decline in many countries. Some of the world’s poorest countries have made the biggest steps in education with Burundi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Togo and Tanzania having achieved, or nearing the goal of universal primary education. The number of deaths of children under the age of five has declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 8.1  million in 2009. Increased funding has helped reduce worldwide malaria deaths to 20 per cent, with some countries in Africa reducing malaria cases and deaths by over 50 per cent. The fight against HIV and AIDS continues, with the rate of new infections declining steadily – having dropped 21 per cent since 1997. It is also estimated that 1.1 billion people in urban areas and 723 million people in rural areas have gained access to an improved drinking water source in the period 1990 – 2008. (All information from UN Millennium Development Goals 2011 Report)

This progress has changed the lives of millions of people – but with one thousand days to go, there is still much to do.

Almost 25% of the children in the developing world are underweight with the children from the poorest areas being the most affected. Among children not enrolled in school, 28 million live in poor or conflict-ridden countries and girls are the most likely to be out of school. There is still inequality in opportunities for full and productive employment for women.  Despite progress in providing sanitation, it is often the poor and those in urban areas who are still disadvantaged.

“Between now and 2015, we must make sure that promises made become promises kept. The consequences of doing otherwise are profound: death, illness and despair, needless suffering, lost opportunities for millions upon millions of people.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

 One thousand days to change the world………can it be done?

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