Articles on UN Sustainable Development Goals

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South African children in Kwa-Zulu Natal walk to the last tap with running water after other communal taps were cut off due to drought. Reuters/Rogan Ward

South Africa is no longer the poster child for providing access to safe water

South Africa did a brilliant job of increasing access to safe water for millions of people after the first democratic elections in 1994. But it hasn't kept up the good work.
An innovative water-sensitive project aims to dramatically improve the health of slums and their environment together.

Water-sensitive innovations to transform health of slums and environment

A five-year project announced today will implement an innovative water-sensitive approach tailored to informal settlements. The goal is to revitalise 24 communities in Fiji and Indonesia.
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is guided through Mbalmayo, Cameroon, a town where residents are engaged in projects to further the MDGs. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

How Africa can perform better in the new round of UN development goals

The Millennium Development Goals failed in aspects like poverty. Lessons must be learnt to ensure that these mistakes will not be repeated by the Sustainable Development Goals.
Just another day in Nairobi’s Kibera slums. Slums are characterised by densely packed settlements with inadequate provision of services. Reuters/Noor Khamis

Slum health is not urban health: why we must distinguish between the two

Despite increased global awareness about poor conditions in slums, the health of their inhabitants is a little studied phenomenon.
Think of all the resources needed to transform Shenzhen, a fishing town 35 years ago, into a megacity of more than 10 million people. Wikimedia Commons

Our cities need to go on a resource diet

Our cities need to become much more efficient not just to conserve precious resources but to improve the economy, wellbeing and resilience to environmental change and disasters.
People use the Wawa River in the Philippines for many purposes. Phoebelyn Gulunan, 2016

Sanitation projects will go down the toilet unless we ask people what they really want

Community participation is vital to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. But at the moment it often comes too little, too late.
Quito lights up for Habitat III. Alexei Trundle

Habitat III is over, but will its New Urban Agenda transform the world’s cities?

Nation states, UN bodies and civil society gathered in Quito for Habitat III to adopt the New Urban Agenda. So how will the UN's new global urban roadmap transform our cities over the next 20 years?
Frontline workers need to be engaged in the process of building responsive, interconnected health systems. Reuters

Only a bottom-up approach will deliver global health development targets

The millennium development goals were laudable but the approach to achieving them was flawed. An integrated, bottom-up approach is needed if the sustainable development goals are to be met by 2030.
The new secretary general of the United Nations should drive substantive reforms, particularly accountability of the international body. Shutterstock

What Africa should demand from the next United Nations secretary general

Africa should focus on the feasible reforms of the UN and de-emphasise its demand for improved representation on the Security Council voting reforms, given the complex politics around these issues.
Matatu or minibuses in a downtown Nairobi park. Good information about transport is critical for citizens in any place. Reuters

Using data from cellphones to help Nairobi crack commuter stress

Involving the public in data collection - through crowd sourcing - to produce critical public services such as maps and transit apps helps build new conversations on how the system can be improved.
A child holds a pen as children play at a primary school in Burundi: access to education has improved but other challenges remain. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Access to quality education in Africa: how to plug the gaps

It is more important than ever that the locus of control of education development is driven by African public intellectuals who can speak truth to power

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