State of the Planet

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Reaching the Millennium Development Goals in the Millennium Villages and Beyond

There are just five years left until the deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, eight ambitious objectives to tackle extreme poverty and its many dimensions and reach a more equitable and sustainable world by 2015. World leaders are gathering this month at the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals to see that this crucial pledge be met. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in the “Millennium Development Goals Report 2010,” “Meeting the goals is everyone’s business. Falling short would multiply the dangers of our world—from instability to epidemic diseases to environmental degradation. But achieving the goals will put us on a fast track to a world that is more stable, more just and more secure.”

Through efforts like the  Millennium Villages project, the Earth Institute, Columbia University, is committed to helping the world achieve the MDGs. Our generous donors are allowing us to come closer to this objective–promoting the achievement of the MDGs in the Millennium Villages and beyond.

As world leaders convene in New York to learn from the lessons of the MVP and other initiatives to reach the MDGs, we would like to take this opportunity to recognize the donors and partners that have made the Earth Institute’s work in this realm possible.  In particular, we appreciate the support of foundations, corporations and individuals like Becton, Dickinson and Company; Nancy K. and Randy Best; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Ceil and Michael E. Pulitzer Foundation; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; Ericsson; GlaxoSmithKline; Sue and Bill Gross; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest and the Lenfest Foundation; Sara Miller McCune; Merck Company Foundation; Monsanto; Nike; Novartis; Betsee Parker; PepsiCo; the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Principality of Monaco; Procter and Gamble; the Rockefeller Foundation; Sight and Life; the Tides Foundation; Walter and Shirley Wang and JM Eagle; Andrew Cunagin; Harold Grinspoon and Diane Troderman; Terri Lecamp and Plainfield Asset Management; Bonnie Potter; and numerous others.

Below are stories of two donors who are enabling us to scale up efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals:

Nigeria Scales Up to Meet the Millennium Development Goals for More Than 20 Million People

When the Nigerian government was researching examples to inform its scale-up of work in critical areas like health, education, agriculture and economic systems, it looked to a small community of about 5,000 people. The Ikaram-Ibaram Millennium Village cluster, established in 2006, is located in Southwest Nigeria, about 400 kilometers from Lagos. Since becoming a Millennium Village, Ikaram-Ibaram has held workshops to improve education; built classrooms; added a 3G technology infrastructure to provide internet access; trained farmers on vegetable production, soil management and water conservation techniques; and improved villagers’ health, among other achievements. Ikaram-Ibaram’s success toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals led the Nigerian government to commit to significantly boosting its investment in these critical sectors in communities across the country.

Ikaram-Ibaram would not be where it is today without donors like Sara Miller McCune. As a publisher who has worked in India for many years, McCune has seen and experienced the devastating effects of poverty firsthand. Inspired by Jeffrey D. Sachs’ The End of Poverty, McCune contributed to the establishment of Ikaram-Ibaram (along with the Japanese government) and also spent time at the site. Thanks to McCune’s vision and dedication to the success of Ikaram-Ibaram, which, in addition to the Pampaida Millennium Village, the Nigerian government has used as a demonstration model of progress, the scale-up will reach more than 20 million people in 115 local governments and 113 village clusters.

Water Within Reach for More Than 121,000 People in the Millennium Villages

Pipes from JM Eagle ready to be installed

Imagine having to walk miles every day to find water for basic needs like cooking, cleaning, bathing, drinking and irrigation. The hours many people living in sub-Saharan Africa must spend getting water can prevent them from pursuing an education, making a living or performing other activities that would improve their lives and help them meet the Millennium Development Goals. To address this problem, Walter Wang, CEO of JM Eagle, the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic pipe, partnered with the Earth Institute in 2008 to install a sustainable, locally-managed, piped drinking water system in the Millennium Village cluster in Potou, Senegal. JM Eagle supplied nearly $1 million worth of PVC pipe and a cash gift of $550,000 (which included funding for engineering staff). The water supply network in Potou, which features almost 70 miles of high-strength PVC pressure pipe in various sizes, now brings safer water to about 13,500 people.

Because of the success of the water system in Potou, Wang and JM Eagle provided an additional $2 million worth of PVC pipe covering almost 300 miles that is currently being installed in seven more Millennium Village sites. Once this second phase is completed, more than 108,000 people living in villages in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana and Mali will benefit from easier access to safer water.

Columbia campus skyline with text Columbia Climate School Class Day 2024 - Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our Columbia Climate School MA in Climate & Society Class of 2024! Learn about our May 10 Class Day celebration. #ColumbiaClimate2024

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