What Does the Global Economic Crisis Mean for the MDGs?

Posted by on Thu, 2010-04-08 15:28

What does the global economic crisis mean for the UN Millennium Development Goals?  More public-private partnerships are needed in business.

As many as 90 million people “otherwise expected to move up the development ladder will remain in absolute poverty” according to the 2009 Millennium Development Goals Report by the UN.

“The ongoing global economic crisis has significantly reduced many of the anti-poverty and humanitarian development achievements of the past decade,” noted Aleksandr Shkolnikov and John D. Sullivan of CIPE in “Meeting the Institutional Challenges of the Millennium Development Goals,” pre-forum reading for participants of “Investing in the Millennium Development Goals."

Development backswing would be expected in such a crisis, but the scope is hard to fathom.  While already-developed regions face their own set of challenges, the financial crisis has taken from many communities in the developing world a chance at self-sustaining basic survival.

Meanwhile, “high food and fuel prices have driven 100 million people into poverty,” and “each 1 percent decline in economic growth rates in developing countries translates into 20 million people trapped in poverty” (World Bank 2008).

To meet these challenges, policy and legal reforms are imperative: the UNDP’s Initiative for Legal Empowerment of the Poor (ILEP) named property rights...

Children Find Happy Hearts in Disaster Areas

Posted by Catherine Keller on Wed, 2010-04-07 20:20

Petra Nemcova, founder of Happy Hearts Fund, and Phillip Caputo, the organization's executive director, are joining us tomorrow as speakers at the "Investing in the Millennium Development Goals" forum in NYC. They'll talk about the ongoing recovery efforts in Haiti, as well as the organization's history in disaster-stricken communities around the world.

Here's a short Q&A with Petra and Phil to preview their upcoming presentation.

1. Happy Hearts Fund was created after the Southeast Asia tsunami of 2004. Why?

HHF was created after seeing the tremendous need and realizing that a gap existed between when first responders leave and government infrastructure is put into place. 
After natural disasters a genuine compassion for mankind and understanding of human frailty exists causing donors to give from their hearts.  In keeping with this spirit we wanted donors to know where their donations went and specifically who was benefiting. 


Education Capitalism

Posted by Stephen Jordan on Wed, 2010-04-07 15:27

The U.S. Chamber's Campaign for Free Enterprise has designated April 'Enterprise & Education Month' to engage and inspire young entrepreneurs through nationwide events and discussions on the role education plays in job creation.  This effort is extremely topical and timely, and one that the corporate citizenship community cares about deeply.

A few weeks ago, I participated in a roundtable and the discussion about the difference in unemployment rates between people with high and low levels of education attainment.   The variation is enormous.  More highly educated people are facing unemployment rates of roughly 5%.  People without high school degrees are looking at unemployment rates close to 20% (and higher in some parts of the country!)

A report produced by the Center for Labor Market Studies and the Alternative Schools Network: "Left Behind in America: The Nation's Dropout Crisis” found that:

  • More than one in five 16- to 24-year-olds were dropouts in Florida and Georgia.
  • California had the most dropouts of any state (710,000), with a 14.4 percent dropout rate among 16- to 24-year-olds.
  • Georgia had the highest dropout rate for this population at 22.1 percent.

Now turn around and look at the situation from the other end of the spectrum: college...

Closing the Divide By Opening Up

Posted by Stephen Jordan on Fri, 2010-04-02 20:18

Lately, BCLC has been engaging with the UN on multiple levels around the question of what role the private sector should play in global development.  Increasingly, I have had the growing suspicion that we have only been able to get to this point because of fundamental intellectual changes within the UN system itself.  There has been a quiet revolution within the UN system in favor of more openness toward the private sector, but it is confusing, because there are still some elements within the international community that view capitalism with deep skepticism and distrust.  

A week ago Friday, I went to the UN ECOSOC meeting up in New York and had a chance to make a brief intervention, and then went to Rio for the World Urban Forum V conference hosted by UN Habitat.   Both events showcased the competing strands of thought within the UN system. 

At the ECOSOC meeting, Sarah Cliffe presented a report from the World Bank’s perspective that surveyed the factors affecting world development.  She argued that 70-80% of the deficits toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals could be attributed to conflict-afflicted regions.  Cliffe noted that there were both internal and external stresses, and internal and external measures that could be taken to promote development.  I would call hers, the "open" approach to development: complex challenges require multiple approaches and a wide range of stakeholder participation.  

Charles Gore, the...

Instilling Healthy Habits in Children: An Investment in Our Future

Posted by Catherine Keller on Thu, 2010-04-01 20:17

By Clarence E. Pearson, Global Health Education Consultant, Former Senior Advisor to the World Health Organization, and Former Vice President and Director for Health and Safety Education at MetLife

With comprehensive health-care reform in center stage, we face the inevitable challenges of paying for health care. Emphasizing early childhood health promotion, health education, and disease prevention will have an impact on a person’s health over a lifetime—probably more than any short-term medical intervention solutions now being discussed.

Researchers in education for health have shown how early childhood and K-12 comprehensive health curricula have influenced reduction in smoking, decreased alcohol consumption, and reduced childhood obesity.  Over just one generation of Americans, comprehensive health education in the formative years could have a dramatic effect on reducing the cost of health and medical care later in life to government, businesses and individual citizens.

Improving children’s health-related habits and behaviors relies on collaboration among all three sectors—business, government and nonprofit--in concert with parents.

Public school health policies and curricula are the responsibility of local school districts. The business community can take a leadership role in their local communities to mobilize key business leaders to encourage and provide financial support for the adoption of health promotion and health education...

Shell’s Eco-Marathon Americas Wins Gold

Posted by Catherine Keller on Wed, 2010-03-31 20:14

With so many CSR and sustainability event offerings these days, it’s rare to find one event that touches almost all the bases – world-class thinking and discussions, innovation that rallies youngsters from around the world in competition, vehicles so cool you want to drive them yourself, and an event with so many good role models that you‘d like your kids to be there so they could learn from them.

That’s what I found last week at Shell’s Eco-Marathon Americas in Houston, a four-day event that had enough fun and excitement to tame any curious mind.
The Shell Eco-Marathon goes back many years.  This global competition pits hundreds of high school and university teams in three separate annual competitions (Americas, Asia and Europe) to see who can build the prototype vehicle that will travel the furthest on the least amount of gas. 


Global Pulse 2010

Posted by Taryn Bird on Mon, 2010-03-29 20:12

Today through Wednesday, USAID, in partnership with the Departments of State, Education, Commerce, and Health and Human Services, will host an online, global, collaborative brainstorm titled Global Pulse 2010. 

Global Pulse 2010 is bringing together engaged participants and organizations throughout the world. Since the launch of Global Pulse today, thousands of people from 150 countries have already logged in to participate in discussion about some of today's leading challenges.   

Discussion forums will focus on 10 designated issues:

  • Building Stronger Partnerships (join BCLC's Stephen Jordan for a live chat at 2-3 p.m. EST!
  • Empowering Leaders of Tomorrow
  • Empowering Women and Girls
  • The Essential Education
  • Exercising rights, increasing citizen participation, and expanding accountability
  • Promoting Global Health
  • Advancing Entrepreneurship, Trade & Economic Opportunity
  • Fostering Science, Technology & Innovation
  • Supporting a Sustainable Planet
  • ...

Let's Move! - How Companies Can Support Mrs. O's Call to Action

Posted by Catherine Keller on Fri, 2010-03-26 20:10

By Scott Anderson, VP of Corporate Development, KaBoom!

Childhood obesity is an epidemic that is plaguing our nation’s children, so much so that we spend $150 billion every year to treat obesity-related conditions. With the help of organizations such as KaBOOM!, the private sector has the ability to join the fight against this disease and promote healthy choices for children and families, with the promise of a healthier future for all Americans.

First Lady Michelle Obama recently launched a new initiative called “Let’s Move!” to address this issue.  She has called upon parents, schools, community leaders, nonprofits, and others to join this initiative.
KaBOOM! offers businesses – large and small – the opportunity to show their support of child health and well-being.
To combat childhood obesity on the local and national level, KaBOOM! offers turn-key programs for corporations, local governments, neighborhoods and individuals. By forming corporate partnerships, KaBOOM! is able to fund playground builds in underserved areas. These programs can make a fast, but lasting, impact in child-rich but...

In Brief - March Issue (KPMG, Microsoft, ITT, BAE Systems, Haiti, & More)

Posted by Catherine Keller on Fri, 2010-03-26 20:08

Below are March news hits from the corporate citizenship field, as they appeared in yesterday's e-newsletter. Read the full March issue of The Corporate Citizen here.

Tip: Send your news to us via Twitter or Facebook.

In Brief

KPMG International has released a report called "Global Development Initiative (pdf)," explaining how the firm works in support of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Today! Fan ITT...


Posted by Taryn Bird on Thu, 2010-03-25 20:05

Monday (3/22) marked World Water Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) issues and educating organizations, individuals and stakeholders about the grim reality that plagues millions of people across the world.

WASH issues most directly affect women and children in the developing world, who on average walk six kilometers to fetch clean drinking water for their families.

WASH issues are gaining awareness through the success of water coalitions and events such as Summit on the Summit and the DOW Live Earth Run. Celebrities such as Kenna, Matt Damon and Mandy Moore have dedicated time and effort to educate the public and Capitol Hill about the challenges water issues present. 

With this momentum in the water sector, it’s critical that we establish frameworks and expand current platforms to share best practices among water-project implementers. Implementers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors need easy, accessible ways to share best practices, lessons learned and mistakes made on other projects and partnerships.   

Partnerships are key to greater efficiency, better use of core competencies, and increased local knowledge. As Secretary Clinton outlined in her...


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