Tuesday, 25 November 2014

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Good News

The case for good news

 Malaria-netBehind the well documented hunger crisis in some parts of Africa, there is a different reality which is much less reported: two thirds of countries in the developing world are well on their way towards a crucial victory in fighting poverty.

According to a new report by the World Bank two thirds of all developing countries will reach the so called UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to half extreme poverty by the year 2015. The MDGs are tangible targets set by the UN in the fight against world poverty.

Obviously a country like Somalia is not one of them, but in those developing countries where there is a well functioning state, peace and growth, considerable progress is taking place.

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12,000 fewer children perish daily in 2010 than in 1990

ChildThe number of children under five years of age dying each year declined from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010, according to UNICEF and the World Health Organization. These new figures show that compared to 1990, around 12,000 more children’s lives are saved each day. 

An annual report on child mortality found that in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest number of under-five deaths in the world, the speed at which the under-five mortality rate is declining doubled from 1.2% a year during 1990-2000 to 2.4% a year during 2000-2010.

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Georgia: Microloans offer new starts in war-torn regions

Georgia MicroloansDali Chilachava and her family fled their home village in Abkhazia, Georgia, after separatist conflict broke out in the region in 1993. For 12 years they endured extreme poverty, until a microfinance programme helped them to start a small business growing and selling lilies.

In regions of Georgia that were devastated by the 2008 conflict with Russia over South Ossetia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - with funding from the European Union (EU) - has teamed up with seven local microfinance institutions to assist displaced persons, women entrepreneurs, small-scale farmers, and other socially and economically vulnerable communities in starting small businesses and rebuilding their lives.

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Solar power changes families’ lives in Botswana

Botswana Solar powerUntil recently the Mokgatlhe family in Kgope, a remote village situated 50 kilometres west of Botswana’s capital, had been using firewood to light and heat their home. 

This practice, used by 80% of Botswana’s rural population, has led to the destruction of countless acres of forest. 

After purchasing their own home solar system, however, the family’s world changed overnight. Instead of worrying that the battery powering their light may run out, Mrs. Mokgatlhe focuses on making sure her children go to bed on time.

“It is a changed world for them,” she said with a smile. “They even spend more time reading and finishing their school work these days,” added her husband.

The family now hopes to buy an upgrade to their system that will power a television and a radio.

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The UN and the EU: Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable

VigilanteThe United Nations in Brussels published in September a new report on the partnership of the UN and the European Union. Antonio Vigilante, the director of the United Nations Brussels Office explains why the UN-EU partnership is a source of good news:

“It is our pleasure to launch our sixth annual UN-EU Partnership Report “Improving Lives: Partnership between the United Nations and the European Union in 2010”. As in previous years, the report captures results of the cooperation between the UN and the EU in the 110 or more countries where we work jointly. This year we have gone for an e-book format with a more graphic representation of the variety and depth of our shared activities on the ground. Enjoy the reading at: www.unbrussels.org/report2010

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"Every few weeks UNRIC shines the spotlight on forgotten stories or themes that are on the UN's agenda."

3 Questions to Thomas Ravn-Pedersen, head of the “World´s Best News “ campaign in Denmark.


S
mall Miracles:

  • Africa – There are 450 million mobile phone users in Africa today. They have created growth and made Sudanese Mo Ibrahim a multimillionaire and local hero: He gives a yearly award to the most democratic African leader who gives up power voluntarily.

  • Burkina Faso - 900,000 people in the countryside of Burkina Faso are now drinking clean water.
  • Global - Developing countries debt has been decreased to a quarter in only ten years.

  • Guatemala - 96 % of Guatemalans now have clean drinking water after the civil war ended in 1996.

  • Bolivia - 5 million Indians now have a certificate pointing to ownership of their own land and Indians have now strengthened their political influence and rights after centuries of repression.

  • Botswana – The economy has grown by an average of 9 % every year, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Botswana has invested its income from mineral trading wisely and is recognized as the least corrupt country in Africa today.

  • Ghana – The number of children suffering from malnutrition has decreased from 32 % in 1992 to 9 % today. After pursuing an effective healthcare policy, agricultural reforms and strong international cooperation, the country is now self-sufficient in food production.
        
  • Rwanda - Rwanda and Angola have more women in their parliament than anywhere else in the world, currently 56 %.

  • Tanzania - 96 % of all children now go to school compared with only 50% in 1990.

  • Vietnam – The number of poor people in Vietnam has fallen from 58 % in 1990 to 15 % in 2008.

  • Bangladesh - Although Bangladesh has huge healthcare problems because of poverty and climate change, investments in healthcare clinics have resulted in child mortality rates being halved since 1990.