Technology is integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and the 2030 Agenda is counting on breakthrough technologies to propel social and economic progress. But, when technology advances at an exponential rate, will it open the door to limitless possibilities or to a level of disruption that breeds a whole new set of challenges?
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s 2014 Human Development Report, entitled Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, calls attention to the persistent vulnerability that threatens human development. According to the recently released report, 2.2 billion people are poor or near-poor, and unless policies and social norms systematically address their vulnerabilities, development will fail to be equitable or sustainable.
The report proposes multiple ways to strengthen resilience, such as the provision of basic social services and stronger policies for social protection and full employment.
“By addressing vulnerabilities, all people may share in development progress, and human development will become increasingly equitable and sustainable,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. Read the report.
In honor of this year’s World Population Day, the theme of which is youth engagement and the sustainable development agenda, we are reflecting on youth — our future leaders, parents, entrepreneurs and citizens. Today’s generation of young people is the largest in history: there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 on the planet. In many countries, more than half of the population is under age 25, creating opportunities for national economic growth but also underscoring the need for greater investment in their health — with consequences that will affect the world’s social, environmental and economic well-being for generations.
Investment in young people’s sexual and reproductive health in particular ensures that young people are not only protected from HIV and other STIs, but also that they have the number of children they desire, when and if they wish to have them. The ability to control one’s fertility increases individuals’ productive capacity and can lead to a decline in a country’s dependency ratio (number of working citizens compared to nonworking citizens). When the dependency ratio declines in conjunction with adequate investments in youth education and economic opportunity, per capita income can increase — a phenomenon known as the demographic dividend.
Unfortunately, many young people do not have access to the critical sexual and reproductive health information and services required to stay healthy and avoid unintended pregnancy. Many young women report not wanting to become pregnant, but the level of unmet need for contraception among adolescents is more than twice that of adults. In some regions of the world, the unmet need for contraception among adolescents is as high as 68 percent. Fulfilling the unmet need for contraceptives among adolescents alone could prevent an estimated 7.4 million unintended pregnancies annually.
For a “development guy” who started doing grassroots community development work in rural Swaziland with the Peace Corps and who has moved back and forth between the public sector and NGOs, leading an organization as accomplished as FHI 360 — and one filled with people whose experience, commitment and know-how offer so much — is the opportunity of a lifetime.
I step into my new role as Chief Executive Officer with a simple vision: to use the incredible resources in FHI 360 to improve lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. To achieve this vision, we must be innovative, find new ways of tackling old problems, be rigorous in our approaches, and be responsive to a changing landscape where development challenges grow more sophisticated and demanding each year. We must be cost-effective and use our expertise and experience to add value to the work being done by communities, partner organizations, civil society and national governments.
It is exhilarating and humbling to take the reins of an organization that is already at the forefront of development thinking and practice. Our emphasis on integrated, multidisciplinary solutions is in line with the growing consensus that single-sector programs often are not getting the job done and that lasting solutions need to be more comprehensive. The evidence — and our instincts — lead us in this direction.
Yesterday morning the White House hosted an open forum on innovation in global development. The discussion panel included Raj Shah (Administrator of USAID), Gayle Smith (Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director of the National Security Council), and Tom Kalil (Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy & Senior Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation, National Economic Council). Questions were taken from the public via Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat and through Facebook.
FHI 360 submitted four questions through Twitter, and three of them were answered by the panel (though we were not directly mentioned):
In which areas of development is innovation most urgently needed?
The panel answered that innovation is urgently need in all sectors, but stressed food security, global health, and climate change as key focus areas.
How can we best involve youth in the innovation conversation?
The panel answered that it is important to engage college students in the US through university partnerships. They discussed USAID’s University Engagement program specifically, and talked about harnessing the power of the Internet to engage students in the developing world.
How can development partners support home-grown innovation in developing countries?
Similar to the above question, the panel talked about supporting students in developing countries and giving them platforms to voice their opinions. They also said that giving direct support to innovative projects and building networks of partnerships were important to foster home-grown innovation.
For more information about the White House’s innovation initiatives, check out their fact sheet, “Harnessing Innovation for Global Development.”
World Bank releases World Development Report 2012
Want to know where women stand worldwide? This week the World Bank released its World Development Report 2012, which focuses on gender equality and development. The report finds that development has closed some gender gaps in educational enrollment, life expectancy, and labor force participation. However, gaps persist in girls’ schooling, access to economic opportunities and household decision-making. Further, “females are also more likely to die, relative to males, in many low-and middle-income countries than their counterparts in rich countries.”
What should be the priorities of policy makers interested in bringing about gender equality? What policy actions will result in the greatest benefit? Explore the report in the link above, or examine the issues by viewing a summary of the report here.
Early symptoms of lung cancer
Lung cancer is increasingly becoming one of the leading killers of not only smokers but, a symptoms of lung cancer large segment of the population in many countries around the world, with alarming incidences in China and India.
Malignant lung tumors have been on the rise 10-15% since the 1900’s. In the 1950’s a British Doctors Study was published that provided strong evidence that there was a link between lung cancer and smoking. Studies that documented the early symptoms of lung cancer in 1964, prompted the U.S. Surgeon General to recommend that people actually stop smoking.
While it is true that other causes have been linked to lung cancer, such as exposure to radon gas, first acknowledged in miners in the 1870’s, asbestos and certain viruses, cigarette smoking has been determined to be the leading cause. There are some 60 known carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Over 91% of lung cancer deaths around the world have been attributed to smoking. The lifetime risk of cancer developing in male smokers is 17%. Women that engage in hormone therapy and that smoke are at even higher risk of developing early symptoms of lung cancer.
When a person stops smoking their chances of lung cancer drastically symptoms of lung cancer in women begin to lower, the body is able to repair some of the lung damage and repair itself. One of the problems for non-smokers is that of passive smoking, which is described as inhalation of smoke from someone who is smoking. Studies conducted in the U.K, Europe and the United States consistently show that there is a relative risk to those exposed., with rates as high as 10-15% being reported in patients that have never smoked. Some research suggests that indirect smoke inhaled is often more dangerous then the smoke inhaled through the cigarette itself.
Some of the early symptoms of lung cancer may include bone pain, fever, and weight loss; more common symptoms are wheezing, hoarse voice, coughing up blood, shortness of breath and chronic coughing. Tumors are common as well, often malignant and can easily lead to metastasis to include cancer of the brain, bone, liver, kidneys, and nearly all areas of the body. There are a small percentage of people who do not suffer any noticeable early symptoms of lung cancer; approximately 10% diagnosed have their cancer detected coincidently through a routine chest x-ray.
The use of CT imaging provides the most through examination and extent of the disease,
Abnormal findings warrant biopsy or bronchoscopy symptoms of lung cancer in men to determine the stage of the lung cancer. The histological type determines the stage of the cancer itself and any treatment alternatives. It is recommended that periodic checkups with your physician or physician’s assistant be mandated to minimize and treat early symptoms of lung cancer before it can spread or become fatal.