3.Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Economics: In many parts around the world, women are discriminated against on all levels of society, both through legal barriers and cultural factors. They are less likely to reach higher levels of education and they are less likely to hold senior positions in business or politics. Often, they face discrimination by law. For instance, it is prohibited for women to have a bank account in some countries. Women face an uphill battle with less opportunities and less freedom than their male counterparts. Empowering women is not only necessary from a human decency point of view. It is also an economically sound opportunity to involve women more and to help them make the most of their lives. It increases the quality of the workforce and creates more equality in the economy, leaving less people vulnerable and thus promoting stability and economic growth.
Business: There are several facets to how the position of women could be improved. First of all, problems regarding health and ferility control should be solved. Access to family planning and maternal health services – as well as education for girls – typically results in improved economic opportunity for women and lower fertility. Secondly, women should have equal education opportunities. Once women would have chances to learn, grow and develop, they would be able to contribute in the decision making processes and become countries’ future leaders. This would subsequently result in further women empowerment, since women leaders would proactively support the establishment of new policies. Moreover, it has been estimated that women produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food in most developing countries, despite having less access to land and credit than men do. If women would be given education and innovative tools, it would probably result in both increased production efficiency (more food) and more power for women (they would become food production experts).
4. Reduce Child Mortality
Economics: Child mortality has become a problem very specific to sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. This shows the successfulness of fighting the problem across most of the world, but also shows the work that is still to be done. The problems when it comes to child mortality are sometimes simple, and sometimes more complex. For instance, a simple reason is the lack of adequate infrastructure or local hospitals, meaning that an illness or injury we would consider minor in the developed world can be fatal in other regions. More complex is the level of education and wealth among parents. Too often, children born in lower classes of society become the victims of insufficient knowledge on disease prevention by parents, or do not get adequate care due to a lack of funds. Solving these underlying reasons is necessary to further limit the number of child deaths.
Business: WHO promoted four main strategies aimed at reducing child mortality: 1) appropriate home care and timely treatment of complications for newborns 2) integrated management of childhood illness for all children under five years old; 3) expanded programme on immunization; 4) infant and young child feeding. Also big corporation have an opportunity to enagage in CSR activities. For example, Pampers (Procter&Gamble) cooperates with Unicef in disease prevention. Since 2006, through the “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine” campaign, Pampers has supported UNICEF’s Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Program, a global campaign to protect the lives of mothers and babies in less industrialised countries.
5. Improve Maternal Health
Economics: Women face difficult health issues during pregnancy and child-birth. This is the case in every country in the world. Caring for pregnant women is of the utmost importance, for the sake of both mother and child. Unfortunately, half of the women in developing countries do not receive sufficient care during their pregnancy. This issue is therefore strongly linked to gender equality and reducing child mortality. It is about recognising that women deserve the best health care, to allow a population to grow (old) with complete families. Part of this again comes to making sure that women have knowledge on how to care for themselves and when to seek healthcare, and make those facilities available. It also relates to preventing pregnancy in some cases, through the increased use of contraceptives.
Business: Global Health Research Initiative outlined four importrant help areas: 1) high-impact community based interventions: implementing and evaluating technologies and services that directly affect maternal, newborn, and child health, by working through the communities they live in 2) quality facility based interventions: ensuring that high-quality health care is delivered in clinics and hospitals 3) policy environments to improve health services and outcomes: working with policymakers and decision-makers to help make the best health policy decisions, and 4) human resources: identifying how nurses, doctors, and other health professionals can better deliver the care that is needed. Moreover, this goal directly links to the goal of women empowerment. Many argue that girls and women must have the ability to decide if, when and how many children they have, and to have control of the reproductive healthcare services they receive.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
Economics: HIV/AIDS and Malaria have had a severe impact on the population in developing countries. 99% of everyone who dies from these diseases live in developing countries, showing the divide in the ability to prevent, contain and treat such diseases. Access to lifesaving medicine such as antiretrovirals or the availability of contraception is crucial, but not common in every region. Another indication that diseases are much more difficult to contain in developing countries is the recent outbreak of Ebola. The disease is fatal and difficult to treat once a patient is infected, but it is also remarkably easy to contain. However, the most important condition to achieve this is the cooperation of the population. We have seen that during the Ebola outbreak, many people in developing countries did not trust the authorities and as a result, did not seek medical care or did not act according to procedures that prevent the spread of the virus. This lack of trust is mainly due to the lack of strong institutions, like a trustworthy and credible government, and a lack of education on health matters. Many foreign NGOs attempt to increase trust and knowledge, and so improve access and quality of healthcare. One example is PharmAccess, the organisation founded by Joep Lange (who was in the MH17 flight that crashed in Ukraine). PharmAccess initiated AIDS treatment therapy in sub-Saharan Africa starting in 2001, and continues to promote quality healthcare in the region.
Business: The recent 2013 WHO guidelines on HIV treatment aimed at increasing access to antiretroviral medicines during the breastfeeding period. Providing antiretroviral medicines to mothers during the breastfeeding period is a critical component of programmes to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV and keeping mothers and their children alive. Senegal has been able to keep HIV prevalence rates low through intensive screening of the national blood supply, the provision of HIV testing equipment and healthcare professionals, HIV education programmes as well as the promotion of condom use. More about HIV/AIDS solutions here.
7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Economics: Environmental sustainability is the type of problem that concerns us all. Over the past years, there have been enough warnings over the future of our planet. It seems that acting on these warning is often more difficult, mainly due to economic arguments. The political aspect to the issue does not make it easier. One country alone will not be able to reverse the negative spiral, but agreeing on steps with all countries is extremely difficult. The negative consequences seem far away, while the pain of adjustment to prevent these consequences will be immediate. For developing countries, the situation is different. Pollution of rivers and land endanger the lives of many people already, by creating a lack of clean drinking water, destroying crops and killing animals. Additionally, it seems that the economic short-term profits of our planet-destroying behaviour do not accrue to the developing countries that supply most of the natural resources. The situation is not sustainable, and this will be the focus of the United Nations going forward.
Business: Unicef responds to this problem by establishing several goals: 1) Helping governments improve technology and hygiene education. 2) Building community and household water security. UNICEF helps governments and partners implement community-based water quality surveillance systems to screen contaminants like human faeces, arsenic, fluoride and nitrates. UNICEF also promotes a range of appropriate, low-cost sanitation, water and hand-washing facilities. 3) Helping schools give children a good start. UNICEF, together with its partners at global and country level, helps improves sanitation and promote hygiene, like hand washing, in schools. Providing safe water and latrines, especially for girls, encourages them to go to school. 4) Providing emergency interventions In the short term, UNICEF might disseminate water, containers and water purification tablets and help build pit latrines. Longer-term help might be large-scale drilling and hand pump installation programmes. Source and more info here.
8. Global Partnership for Development
Economics: Development can take place on so many different levels, that it is important to involve all parties. We have touched upon health, food, education, institutional change and cultural change. To achieve this, the developing world needs resources and knowledge. Money is made available by governments, the World Bank and the IMF. Pharmaceutical companies are involved to provide medicine against prices that make them affordable for developing countries. All kinds of institutions are involved in education and spreading knowledge. Not only by founding schools, but also by, for instance, providing internet services through mobile phones. This increases the information availability and thus promotes trust and knowledge. Combining these and many other efforts is crucial to increase the speed of development.
Business: According to Ruxin from Forbes magaizne, African companies are catching up and while American and Europe’s growth rates are either negative or stable, sub-Saharn companies are growing with 30% rate. As he noted: “The private sector of sub-Saharan Africa is becoming a force for job creation, new products, and economic stability. The Multinational Companies highlighted in the study by Initiative for Global Development span industries from agribusiness and banking to petroleum and tourism. These are large-scale operations that create jobs, build income, and help the countries modernize infrastructure; they can mark the difference between weak economic development and sustainable poverty alleviation in the developing world.” More about the Initiative for Global Developement.