Goal #7: AFFORDABLE & CLEAN ENERGY

By Zoey Wilson, Advocacy Communications Associate for World Vision

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.

Affordable and Clean Energy, Global Goal 7, is a push to become better stewards of the earth by using energy more efficiently and finding new and sustainable sources of energy.

Though at first glance, it might not seem like this is something World Vision works on, we are always looking for ways to improve the way we work, and that includes finding more sustainable and efficient solutions.

One way we have done this is through a solar-powered system for water. In villages where there are more than a few hundred people, waiting in line to pump water would take a long time. With this new system, a pump is put in the ground, powered by solar panels, and water is piped to different parts of the community so that there are multiple locations to retrieve water. This means that there is a shorter wait time for getting water, and natural energy is used. We think this is a win-win!

As we work to find more sustainable and efficient ways to provide clean water, improve food security, and offer better health care, it is important not to just look for new innovations such as affordable and clean energy. It is good to also consider what we are already doing and find ways to be more responsible in our consumption and production. By paying attention to different layers of a project, we can work toward multiple goals at once, and ultimately ensure we end poverty everywhere.

Goal #12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION & PRODUCTION

By Beth Ann Saracco, Policy Advisor for Food Security and Livelihoods for World Vision

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Each year, an estimated one-third of food produced — equivalent to 1.3 billion tons and worth around $1 trillion — ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices. As we work to accomplish Goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 12 and its efforts to promote responsible consumption run a parallel track.

However, Goal 12 extends beyond issues of food security and post-harvest loss and storage, and it promotes energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and access to basic services, livelihoods and jobs, and an overall higher quality of life. By advancing responsible consumption and production, countries and our world will be better able to reduce future costs to economic, environmental, and social systems, as well as bolster economies and reduce poverty and other development challenges.

Reducing Post Harvest Loss:

World Vision through many of its agriculture development programs, works with communities around the world to reduce post-harvest loss by engaging in activities such as:

  • Training on improved post-harvest storage and processing techniques.
  • Facilitating the purchase of locally adapted seeds and tools.
  • Supporting farmers in gaining access to markets to sell their surplus.
  • Promoting techniques to sustainably manage natural resources.

Goal #13: CLIMATE ACTION

By Daisy Francis, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst for World Vision

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, June 2016 marked the 14th consecutive month of record heat levels in oceans and on land. Climate change, which is largely caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases, will ensure that we face more heat waves, more extreme rainfall levels, and potentially, much more catastrophic weather events. Devastating floods like the ones seen in Louisiana will become even more common. Flooding levels that once only happened every 500 years are now occurring annually.

Children will bear the brunt of climate change, as severe weather events can destroy or disrupt infrastructure critical to their well-being, such as schools, health facilities, and transportation systems. Droughts and flooding destroy crops and contaminate water systems. This leaves children more vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, increases the likelihood of malnutrition, and even poses physical dangers from flood-damaged homes and buildings.

Climate change does not affect everyone equally. Floods and droughts disproportionately impact those living in poverty, as those affected often lack access to basic services such as water and sanitation, irrigation systems, etc. Thus, those with the least resources for coping will likely face the most dangerous impacts of climate change.

World Vision, via its membership in the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA), works to ensure that the resilience of smallholder farmers is the priority for the Alliance, particularly women and vulnerable groups, focusing on methods to strengthen livelihoods and reduce inequities.

Climate-Smart Agriculture aligns with World Vision’s strategic priorities in terms of productive, resilient and reliable smallholder agriculture and aims to:

  • Enhance food security by sustainably increasing the reliability and productivity of agricultural livelihood activities (food security).
  • Increase smallholder resilience and adaptation to the likely effects of climate change (adaptation).
  • Where appropriate, and in the interest of smallholder farmers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and improve carbon sequestration (mitigation).

Goal #14: LIFE BELOW WATER

By Christina Bradic, Advocacy Communications Specialist for World Vision

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

Last summer I was in Kisumu, Kenya, on the coast of Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is over 26,000 square miles and crosses over three countries. It is beautiful, but spending time this close to the water made me realize that it was so much more than a lake. This body of water, while critical to the economy as it provides water and supports food production and nutrition for 35 million people, also is a site of a growing HIV crisis.

Global Goal 14, Life Below Water, aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. Why should we care about life below water? Because we care about the people above water.

The purpose of the trip to Kenya was not to learn about Lake Victoria, to eat at restaurants overlooking the water, or to hear hippos as we walked along the coastline. The purpose was to meet with faith leaders who are working to improve the lives of women and girls in their communities. I did not expect these faith leaders to address the lake.

One problem that must be overcome in Kisumu and surrounding areas is the rising rate of HIV. The rate of those affected by HIV is double compared to other parts of the country. This is largely attributed to a phenomenon labeled “sex for fish.”

You can’t help but turn your head when you hear “sex for fish,” but as odd as it sounds, it is a way of life for many women in Kenya who live in the towns near Lake Victoria. Desperate to feed their families, pay school fees for children, and afford visits to the doctor, they end up doing the unthinkable – trading their bodies for fish that they can then sell at the market to make an income for their family.

There is a solution. Organizations in the area are providing women with their own boats and training to catch their own fish to sell at the market. But here is the catch: Lake Victoria is currently overfished, with some species in steep decline. Favored species of fish are also threatened by pollution and an invasive species of water hyacinth that blocks light, killing plants and animals below the surface and makes the lake more difficult to navigate. All combined, these factors not only threaten the future of this lake to support communities who are in great need, but they also narrow the window of opportunity that is available for people to take advantage of the lake and its resources.

To protect the lake, the government has already limited off-shore fishing. With resources continually becoming more limited, fish catchers with larger boats, more money, and more advanced technologies have a distinct advantage. This inevitably puts women who are just learning the trade, with a small boat and social disadvantages, back at square one – sex for fish.

There are many reasons to protect the environment including the oceans, lakes, and other water resources. However, Global Goal 14 does not stand alone as an environmental goal — collectively these goals aim to eradicate poverty. If life below water is neglected, a critical source of opportunity for those very people we aim to help is neglected. Nobody talks about it, but overfishing, an invasive water hyacinth, and HIV/AIDS are all connected, and this is just a snapshot of one place in the world. For those above water, Global Goal 14 — Life Below Water is an essential goal.

Goal #15: LIFE ON LAND

By Mary Morris, formerly Knowledge Management Technical Specialist for World Vision

Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.

Global Goal 15, Life on Land, may not seem directly related to World Vision’s work. However, it affects every aspect of children’s well-being and communities’ hopes of escaping poverty and securing safe, healthy, prosperous lives. The words “sustainable development” cause people to think of goals focused on caring for the environment. Another purpose is to ensure that the environment can provide for all people. Global Goal 15 exists to make sure that the life-supporting systems we need as human beings continue to operate.

From the air we breathe to the water that makes up most of our cell structure, our natural environment creates, regulates, and purifies the basic elements of our survival. Thriving local environments reduce and help control many of the world’s most serious health burdens such as malaria, malnutrition, and diarrheal disease. Healthy natural systems produce more and better quality crops for food, which are less likely to be overrun by pests or disease. Because more people throughout the world make their living off environmental resources than any other means, keeping a local environment strong and healthy is critical to escaping poverty. Healthy, natural environments reduce the risk of weather- and conflict-related disasters by forming protective barriers, moderating weather, and increasing the available resources for everyone.

By helping communities restore and maintain their local resources, they are empowered to take control of their own well-being and futures. Rebuilding forests brings more fresh water, healthier crops, safer living conditions, and reduces the work necessary to survive – especially for women and children. Farmers who have healthy, resilient soils and adequate groundwater can grow more crops to feed their families. More efficient cook stoves and safer sources of power mean communities have less risk of fires and illness, can save money, and can be safe. These things help poor communities make a difference for all their global neighbors by being a part of the solution to climate change and other global crises, instead of part of the problem.

Photo: Jeneta Sneele, a 59-year-old grandmother, in her garden which is watered with water from a World Vision solar-powered mechanized borehole in Mazabuka ADP, Zambia. © 2017 World Vision/ photo by Jon Warren

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