What is your return on Social Investment?

This might be a question that an entrepreneur may have never asked himself. Return on social investment refers to the rate of business or organization success in terms of positive impact on the society.

But the good thing is that almost every business is able to achieve this return, if negative impacts on society from business activities are taken into account, then managed and eliminated. Moreover return on social investment can be also achieved through philanthropic actions, which I personally believe that it can be valued, as long the management and elimination negative social, economic and environmental impacts are also carried by an organization pursuing a philanthropic activity.

Nonetheless there are businesses that goes one step further on return on social investment respect, they are social entrepreneurships, which are businesses not only interested to address an issue but also to promote an social change and to make profit in an equitable and meaningful way.

Social enterprise acts in proactive way of looking at issues around us and come up with innovative and worth solutions which connects people with the same beliefs towards maximizing their respective return on social investment.

These businesses may be considered a new way of thinking but in reality they are organization and businesses with the purpose to align social, economic and environmental issues with an entrepreneurship.  In a future context where business must to provide something useful to survive in the market, let’s then celebrate the arrival of enterprises with maximized return of social investment and inspiring social millionaires.

Why resource-racked countries are actually poor?

How can we explain the fact that some countries that are less endowed with natural resources are the world leading economies, for an instance, Japan have a small territory, limited natural resources, not suitable geographic conditions for agriculture, but it managed to become an economy superpower based on importing raw materials and exporting high value added products and new technologies.

On the other hand, let’s see the case of a poor country that is rich in natural resources like Angola. Angola is an African leader producer of oil and net exporter of minerals, however much of its population relies on food aid and lives below the poverty line.

Many development theories and historical circumstances can explain why resource rich countries are actually poorer at the present time. However I will try to explain this fact by contrasting the example between Angola and Japan economic history.

After the WWII the Japanese economy was in a deprived state, having much o of its population living with low living standards. Nonetheless the Japanese leadership at that time lead its human resource with strategic plan to catching up with richer countries in the west economy through modernization.

This was achieved through transfer of technology, infrastructure and R&D investment, financial and political ties, good governance and finally through nurturing professional training and potential industries. As result, Japan has become one of the top economies in the world with low inequality throughout its society.

Conversely, the history of Angola after the WWII was very different, the country received its independency from Portugal in 1975, like many countries in the South that were able to be independent since their European colonizers were not able to administrate its Colonies any longer. However instead of having a good leadership Angola has entered into a period of dictatorship and civil war, which left deep scars in the society and economic growth up to these days.

Today Angola has attracted inward investment from international companies who went to the country to extract and process its natural resources, however the income that these activities generate are not distribute among its citizens neither investment in infrastructure, education, job training and local industrial capacity improvement  takes place.

Hence, historical authoritarian, corrupt and neglectful leadership, together with extractive activities that many multinationals conduct in the country, left Angola in a worst state than before in relation to its natural resource availability, absolute poverty and inequality.

The case of Angola is similar to many other countries which are rich in natural resources but at the same time repressely and unfairly administrated, holding political institutions that are after their own interest rather the common good for the country and society, making them entrapped into poverty.

What would be the advantages if only SMEs existed in our planet?

Lets try to imagine a world where big companies were not available but only small and medium enterprises.

Here are the possible facts of this scenario:

The predominant SMEs in this case would hold: an extensive local knowledge of resources, supply and customer purchasing patterns, due their closer link.

They would be able to attend market niches widely, be highly adaptable and fast changers. Most importantly we could assume that these SMEs would not cause the environment negative externalities that large corporation, as we know, cause because of the extension of their operations and impacts are smaller.

However we do not have to wonder about this hypothesis, because this is the reality. Small Medium Enterprises account in fact for over 90% of firms in the world, for an instance in OECD countries this figure reaches 95% of economic activity being generated by small and medium companies.

Nevertheless the assumption that SMEs could cause less externality is totally wrong. It came to my surprise to know that SMEs collectively accounts for 80% of pollution generated by business activities worldwide. But at individual level small and medium enterprises, in most cases, does not take into consideration socio, economic and environment impact it creates neither have sustainability operational strategy incorporated into the business model for the short and long term.

But from realising the dimension and importance that SMEs have on the sustainability of our planet and its role as economic driver in most countries, can make us to conclude that, having incorporated responsible values and accountable actions towards the planet triple bottom line sustainability on small and medium enterprises, extreme necessary.

Nonetheless, SMEs usual characteristics of being highly adaptable, flexible and closer to its suppliers and customers equip them with an excellent ability to think out of the box and integrate sustainability into their business beliefs and consequently inside its products and services.

But, one important question that may take a while to be answer is “How long it will take for this shift to happen broadly for SMEs on worldwide scale?”

Will customer supply chain compliance standards requirement and some society pressure be enough to make it happen in the near future…?


Climate Change Blog: Uganda Municipal Waste Compost CDM Programme.

This Blog outlines a registered CDM small scale programme of activity in Uganda towards municipal waste composting. This programme will be introduced by the first time in the country with the support of the World Bank, the government of Netherlands and the government of Uganda including its National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) which will provide technical and financial support to the municipalities to set up and operate the facilities of small-scale waste composting of activities.

The location of activities will be within 56 districts of the country or any new districts that may be constituted in future, including Kampala. The starting date of the programme was 31 October 2007 and it will last for 21 years.














Uganda´s local urban body will manage improvement of its waste collection systems within the municipal area. The wastes collected would be transported to the compost facilities, where it will be aerobically composted. The compost will be sold, recyclables will be removed and sold, and the rejects from the process would be disposed off at the landfills/disposal sites.

The technology for solid waste composting is new in the country, another benefit is the fact that, the municipalities of Uganda are extremely resource constrained and most of their budgets are not funded through local taxes but funded by the state. Hence the waste compost facilities are sustained from the revenues generated from sale of compost and from the sales of emission reductions.

In Uganda there are no specific regulations that mandate waste composting until now. Before the CDM programme there was no municipal waste composting activity in practice. Moreover other waste management problems have been highlighted before this programme have started, which were:

This facts shows the importance for the additionally of a CDM initiative towards waste management in Uganda.

In relation to vulnerability to Climate Change it can be demonstrated by the percentage of Uganda´s population living in cities which is 12 % of the total population and by the fact that the municipal councils can receive typically about 70 tons of waste per day.











One of the significant environmental concerns of the growing urban areas has been the management of municipal solid wastes, because many of the landfills sites are located adjacent to wetlands. The wetlands thus get contaminated by the leachate generated from the landfills after rainfalls which as result emits a large amount of methane into the atmosphere.

Therefore recovering the organic matter from municipal solid waste as compost can avoid methane emissions. Nonetheless the major quantity of waste reaching the collection site is organic in nature in Uganda. Thus the aerobic composting of the waste stabilizes and minimizes local pollution and completely eliminate the production of methane.

The Uganda´s CDM waste composting programme is also contributing to a sustainable development of the country by generating local employment in the environmental field in connection with this programme implementation.

However there are some drawbacks in order to make this programme more sustainable which is the fact that only 10% of farmers in Uganda utilize fertilizers. The use of fertilizers in Uganda is amongst the lowest in the world. According to the “Uganda Fertilizer Strategy 2006 Draft Report” it is estimated that between 1996 and 2000, fertilizer usage was 0.37kg/ha, compared to 4kg/ha in Mozambique, 6kg/ha in Tanzania, Malawi 16kg/ha, Kenya 31.6 kg/ha, South Africa 51kg/ha. Therefore there is a major need to promote the use of organic fertilizer out of waste compost in the country.











Nevertheless, Uganda´s Municipal Waste Compost Programme wants to serve as a model for other programmes that will promote sustainable waste management practices. Up to now the Uganda´s National Environment Management Authority has signed a co-operation agreement with the municipalities in two phases. The first phase was signed in 2005 with the nine municipalities of Mukono, Jinja, Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Mbarara, Kasese, Kabale, and Fort Portal. The second phase was signed in 2010 with eight municipalities of Masindi, Busia, Hoima, Mityana, Entebbe, Arua, Gulu and Tororo. This municipality cooperation Agreement set out the rights and obligations of each party in terms of the CDM waste compost programme activities.


SMALL-SCALE CDM PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES DESIGN DOCUMENT FORM (CDM SSC-PoA-DD) Uganda Municipal Waste Compost Programme. Version 1.6 Date : 2009-06-24



Rural Development Blog: “A Global Call for Adaptation of Values.”

Up to now no serious consideration has been paid to different impacts of global warming across countries, in especial, within the developing world. However few more degrees Celsius of planet warming will make developing countries suffering the worst effects.

An additional worrying fact is that around 70% of the inhabitants of these countries lives in rural areas with a direct dependence of agriculture and ecosystem services, therefore impacts such as: deaths, risk of desertification, water shortages, land degradation, health impacts, economic losses, weather variation and disaster and habitat loss will be worsened when local environmental conditions are already difficult.

Source: Climate Vulnerability Monitor Report 2010

Conversely climate change does not only pose a great risk for agriculture production but actually at same time is the biggest contributor for it with around 17 and 32 per cent of all human-induced greenhouse gases in the world, mainly by  the release of  CH4 from cattle and  land-use change. However poorer countries that are mostly reliant on agriculture and natural resources are not the big emitters by far, but the industrialized countries that farms on large scale utilizing agro technology intensively.

In order to deal with looming social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change impacts, a new strategy, is receiving significant approval in the world political agenda which is adaptation measures, meaning, the adjustment to the actual ad expected climate change effects that should be done in complement to further mitigation measures.

It has been revealed that Adaptation is an urgent priority in developing countries, costing around $100bn a year by 2020 according to Oxfam. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, conference in Durban, November last year outlined a framing for national adaptation that includes:

(a) To reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, by building adaptive capacity and resilience;

(b) To facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation, in a coherent manner, into relevant new and existing policies, programmes and activities, in particular development planning processes and strategies, within all relevant sectors and at different levels, as appropriate;

Planning for adaptation at the national level is a continuous, progressive and iterative process, the implementation of which should be based on nationally identified priorities, including those reflected in the relevant national documents, plans and strategies, and coordinated with national sustainable development objectives, plans, policies and programmes.1

In the same conference at Durban an agreement on climate change adaptation came in the form of the official launch of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a funding and financing mechanism for both mitigation and adaptation efforts from developing countries. However it is important to point that most affected countries have in fact, the least capacity to adapt, hence here the need for the big emitters and richer countries to commit to more funding for adaptation measures.

Nonetheless climate change is a global problem because distribution of possible impacts across countries is an equity issue of all of us. Thus climate change adaptation resolution requires global cooperation through global policies, legislation and collaboration frameworks, and most important, the requirement of an adaptation of values towards an equitable and sustainable society worldwide.

20 years ago this was the principle outlined by UNFCCC: “Principle 3.The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures.” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992.

Since this date, the situation of most exposed countries and societies has been worse off due negative impacts from climate. But perhaps there will be some hope that the next Summit in Rio this year will set the right adaptation actions and values in other to reverse this vulnerable scenario.



Cline (2007): ‘Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country’, Center for Global Development. Available at: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/14090

Stockholm Resilience Center: The nine planetary boundaries. http://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/researchnews/tippingtowardstheunknown/thenineplanetaryboundaries.4.1fe8f33123572b59ab80007039.html

Oxfam International. (2011). Growing a Better Future, Food justice in resource-constrained world report.



Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010


Global Adaptation Index™ (look only at the Vulnerability Index)


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


National Adaptation Plans


Environmental Impact Assessment Blog: “Agro Ecological Zoning in Brazil”.

The Problem

Production of sugarcane designated for the biofuel industry has been a successful history in Brazil, but nonetheless raising some criticism.

One of the main arguments in the country is that production of sugarcane in the Cerrado area, has pushed cattle ranchers to be established up north of this area which is on the footsteps of the Amazon, as consequence, affecting to a large extent both of these regions. ” According to a study published in the journal Conservation Biology, more than 50 percent of the Cerrado has already been transformed into pastureland, causing soil erosion, biodiversity loss, land fragmentation, and the spread of nonnative grasses.

Another major issue involving the production of sugarcane is in relation of how it is harvested, that is because in Brazil, a large percentage of harvesting practice of sugarcane is done by field burning causing air and water pollution, poor conditions for rural workers, health implications  and many other social and environmental impacts.

However the increase support and demand for sugarcane ethanol in the country and abroad lead the Brazilian government to address these issues in other to advance the grow of this sector in the future.

Thus in 2009 a presidential decree outlined an agriculture zone in the Brazilian territory where sugarcane production could be expanded. But agriculture zone is not a new thing in Brazil but its predecessor zoning was focus mainly in agro economic criteria and the way that the new agriculture zone for expansion of sugarcane production is different is because it want to serve as base for sustainable use of suitable land and farming practice with a in line relationship with biodiversity. What is more the sugarcane agro ecological zooning in Brazil will be used as decision making instrument at government level towards planning and coordination on the expansion of sugarcane production for industrial ends.

Therefore according to the new agro ecological zoning decree, suitable land for sugarcane production expansion has to follow these measures:

Nonetheless, this new zoning framework was established in a participatory way through discussions with stakeholders from industry, civil society, academia and government to identify areas where cultivation of sugarcane should be sanctioned and where it should be prohibited.

It is estimated that the amount of land available to expand the production of sugarcane that can follow and be fitted with the agro ecological sugarcane zooning measures to be equivalent to 64,7 million hectares in Brazil.

Green areas are suitable for expansion of sugarcane farming, whereas yellow areas are protected zones.

But how sugarcane farming expansion will be control and how these measures will be reinforced?

In order to solve these questions, the Brazilian government will work in partnership with financing institutions to assess information on loans undertaken by sugarcane farmers which has to be matched with the zooning criteria measures. Also, if evidence of illegal activity is found, the government reserves the right to refuse the granting or renewal of permits to local processing facilities.

Expected impacts from the New Agroecological Sugarcane Decree:

Environmental Impact

• Planning of production and avoiding its expansion in areas of native vegetation coverage;
• Production of biofuels in a sustainable manner;
• Conservation of soil and water through reducing erosion of cultivated soils;
• Reduced emission of GHG by the progressive replacement  of field burning technique by mechanical harvesting;

Economic and Social impact

• To  attract investment in agriculture sustainable projects;
• Increase skill of labor and work place opportunity in sugarcane processing industries upon the substitution of manual for mechanical harvesting;
• Economic efficiency in the use of land of labor;
• Induction of new technologies in the production and harvesting of canesugar;
• Qualification of sector workers in the face of progressive cultivation, meaning public and private investments in education and training expertise;
• investments in local infrastructure such as logistics, transportation, energy and
technical support.

The environment impact assessment inside the new Brazilian agro ecological zooning for sugarcane has served to inform and to support the private and public sector decision-making practices and policies on how to expand this potential agriculture field. However in order to make its expectations into a reality it will require a joint reinforce effort between all stakeholders in special public administration and commercial sector.

Here in this video made by EMBRAPA (the Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research). Shows how the Brazilian government expectations on the agro ecological sugarcane zoning and how they want to make it happen.

Documentary: Agri-ecologial Sugarcane Zoning in Brazil.

Imagen de previsualización de YouTube



Leopold, Aaron and Aguilar, Soledad (2009) “Brazil.” in E. Morgera, K. Kulovesi and A.

Gobena (2009) Case Studies on Bioenergy Policy and Law: Options for

Sustainability. FAO Legislative Study 102, FAO Rome. Available at:


Aaron Leopold (UFZ), Agroecological Zoning in Brazil incentivizes more sustainable agricultural practices. 



Agroecological Zoning, Brazil.pdf

Innovation Blog: Will Open innovation became a Business Mainstream?

Open Innovation what does it means?

According to many enthusiasts of this new trend such as Stefan Lindeggard the owner of 15inno an website that discuss topics on open innovation, social media and thought leadership, says that open innovation is a philosophy or a mindset that should be embrace within organization in order to enable themselves to work with external input inside the innovation process, naturally as it does with internal input. In a nutshell, it is “just” about getting more external input. 1

What is more open innovation involves going to the opposite direction of the old model of closed innovation where a company control all aspects and process of innovation from inside, trying to keep it highly secret because of intellectual property or loss of profit risks. Often in this case activities towards innovation are carried by only business R&D department, in a search to find unique or first mover competitive advantage.







Thus Open innovation opens business doors for the external world collaboration on ideas generation in the pursue of continuous innovation. Furthermore this approach creates many advantages since it maximize insights in the innovation process, speed up problem solving and reach areas that were not previously thought off.


Today there are few virtual platforms to boost and integrate open innovation for a wide open community as crowdsourcing, which brings the chance for ideas, products, projects and processes to be challenged, to be questioned, to be discussed,  to be diffused and to be improved as part of an innovative practice. In Addition, these platforms offer a great chance for networking, further collaboration and interactive research development.

For small business open innovation platforms offers great benefits because they can improve their innovative capacity with no investments, also to overcome problems of resource and constraints, to forecast future demand, to find a flexible ways to adjust and perhaps upcoming opportunities to start new partnerships.

Similarly, another type of open innovation that is more familiar innovation process but has become as much important as before is user driven innovation where companies closely consider the product or service user opinion and needs, therefore the user here “leads innovation”.

A good example of it can be seen in this video from Rogier van der Heide, Chief Design Officer of Philips Lighting, showing how the company developed new light technology for show performances by working closely with artists and producers:

Imagen de previsualización de YouTube

Many professional and academics advocates the importance of user driven like Prof. Eric von Hippel as he mention “they have two characteristics: (1) They are at the leading edge of important market trends and; (2) they have a strong incentive to find solutions for the novel needs they encounter at the leading edge. Products that lead users develop often become the basis for important commercial products when lead user needs become mainstream.”

Lead User Innovation explanation video from Prof. Eric von Hippel

Imagen de previsualización de YouTube










Climate Change Blog 2: Brazil Vulnerability and Adaptation Index

Overall Brazil Vulnerability

According to the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, Brazil presents a low to moderate vulnerability on weather disaster and habitat loss but high on health Impact and economic distress. These two vulnerable factors can be seen in the higher epidemics of waterborne vectors such as Dengue in many urban areas and vector-borne sickness such as Malaria and Yellow Fever which appears in the central and northern areas of the country.

Floods in Brazil is a common event due its climate condition, change of river infrastructure and unplanned urbanization, a  fact that create both health impacts and economic distress on affected population.

On the other hand variation of rainfall has been affecting agriculture production, and since agriculture accounts for a large share of exports in Brazil this vulnerability causes great economic distress in special for poorer farmers.

According to the Global Adaptation Index, Brazil lies in a good position to face, to adapt and to increase its resilience to climate change. Important actors to demonstrate country`s readiness is the power of governmental institutions.












In the case of Brazil a legal article of Federal Constitution establishes “All have the right to an ecologically balanced environment which is an asset of common use and essential to a healthy quality of life, and both the Government and the community shall have the duty to defend and preserve it for present and fu­ture generations”.1

However, the environmental legislation is not well enforced n Brazil, because of the size of the country and conflict of interest that drives economic development in an unsustainable way.

This can be verified by the worst indexes on infrastructure related to energy sensitiveness and transport infrastructure.

Infrastructure Worst Performer on Global Adaptation Index

  • Energy sensitivity
81.0 % 0.810
  • Paved roads
5.50 % 0.945


1) Chapter 1 Program and Actions Related to Sustainable Development


Last accessed 05/02/2012

The Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010


Last accessed 05/02/2012

Global Adaptation Index


Last accessed 05/02/2012


Climate Change Blog 1: Brazil GHG Emissions Performance after Rio-92 Convention

Brazil was the first country to sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC at Rio-92. From this point institutions have been created to address the issue and voluntary commitments that rep­resent a significant reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases were implemented in the country.1

Let’s have a look on the Brazilian GHG emission performance since Rio-92 convention.

CO2 Emissions

From 1990 to 2005, emissions from industrial processes increased by 45%, however they represent 4% of total CO2.The largest share of net CO2 emissions comes from change in land-use, especially relating to the conversion of forests into cropland and pasture, change in carbon stock in the soils,  showing  a  net emissions of 77% of total CO2 emissions in 2005.

Change in land use emissions stand out in the country also because Brazil has a large share of renewable energy in its energy matrix and uses ethanol extensively as a source of fuel for vehicles. Therefore emissions related by consumption of fossil fuel are relatively low for a large developing country.

Nonetheless In 2005, CO2 emissions from the Energy sector represented 19% of total CO2 emissions mainly from fugitive emissions of burning gas in platform and refinery torches, and the inadvertent burning in coal waste piles, showing an increase of 74% in comparison to 1990 emissions. The transport sector accounted for 8.1% of total CO2 emissions in the same year.

























CH4 Emissions

Similarly with the CO2 case, the most responsible CH4 emissions is the Agriculture sector 71% in 2005, almost all referring to non-dairy cattle, the second largest herd in the world. In2005. Manure management, irrigated rice crops and burning of agriculture residues were responsible for the remaining emissions. In relation change in Land-Use, CH4 emissions occur from burning biomass in deforestation areas, representing 17% of total CH4 emissions in 2005.2













N2O Emissions

In Brazil, N2O emissions also occur predominantly in the Agri­culture sector, 87% in 2005, as from deposition of animal manure in pasture and from ap­plication of fertilizers in cropland. Overall N2O emissions grew 43% between 1990 and 2005.2 chapter

In order to address the issues of change in land use a Good Practice Guidance LULUCF was published in 2003 in the country, in addition in 2009 a National Policy on Climate Change – PNMC was put into practice with the aim to combine social and economic development with reduction GHG emissions and adaption to climate change.














1) Chapter 3 Relevant Institutional Arrangements for Elaborating the National Communication on Permanent Bases.


2) Chapter 2 Summary of Anthropogenic Emissions by Sources and Removal by Sinks of Greenhouse Gases.




MDGs Lags in South Asia

In the year 2000, 192 countries representatives with the support from the United Nations got together to sign the biggest consensus agreement for social economic development with measurable targets to be reached by 2015. The agreement is called Millennium Development Goals, where developed countries participants are committee to invest 0.5 of its GDP in donation towards reaching the following overall goals:

Here in this video we can see conditions of developing countries in meeting access basic needs, individual rights, equality and freedom and how important is for them  to attain the proposed goals to reverse their situation.

Millennium development Goals for 2015


Up to now progress have already being made in terms of improving the living conditions of millions inhabitants from developing countries that live the at the bottom such as reducing maternal death, provide right for education, increase clean water access and many other positive outcomes. However progress has been slow in regions that shows disparities in income, gender equality, ethnicity disputes, lack of investment in infrastructure and government commitment on pro poor policies.

A clear example of a slow progress in meeting the MDG can be found in the South Asia region:









In order to have a better knowledge about the rate of progress of South Asia region  let’s see its performance data:

MDG1 Eradicate extreme poverty and

The Proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day, in 1990 was 49 % and 2010 was 29%.However its rate of employment remained unchanged since 2000 being around 58% also in 2010. In relation to the proportion of children under age five who are underweight, 1990 it had a rate of 52% and in 2009 43% quite away to its 2015 target of 30%.

MDG2 Achieve universal primary education

The adjusted net enrolment ratio in primary education,* 1998/1999 was 79% and in 2008/2009 was 91%.

But current statistics by the UN shows that the world is far from meeting this goal. Only 87 out of 100 children in the developing regions complete primary education and a quarter of the children out of school, or 16 million, are in South Asia, being female, poor and living in a country affected by conflict as the three of the most pervasive factors keeping children out of school.

MDG3 Promote gender equality and empower women

Gender parity index for gross school enrolment between girls’ and boys’ ratio in 1998/1999 for primary education was 83%, on secondary education75% and tertiary education 65% whereas in 2008/2009 the enrolment disparity was 95% at primary education close to its 2015 target which is 98%, 89% for secondary education far from 2015 target which is 97% and 74% for tertiary education very far from 2015 target of 97%.

Another important figure is in relation to the proportion of seats held by women in single or lower houses of national parliaments, in 2000 only 7% and 2011 18%.

MDG4 Reduce child mortality

Children under-five mortality rate in South Asia in 1990 122 per deaths per 1,000 live births and in 2009 69 close to 2015 target of 52.

A mother’s education in these regions are a powerful determinant of child survival and the ratio of under-five mortality rate of children of mothers with no education to that of children of mothers with secondary or higher education was 2.1 in 2000/2008; Whereas the ratio of under-five mortality rate of children of mothers with no education to that of children of mothers with primary education was 1.3 in 2000/2008

MDG5 Improve maternal health

Despite progress, pregnancy remains a major health risk for women in South Asia with the rate maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 as 590 and 2008 280,  a long way to meet 2015 targets of 160. In relation to deliveries attended by skilled health personnel, was in 1990 32% and 50% in 2009. The UN report also indicated that not enough women received the recommended frequency of care during  their pregnancy, showing in 1990 only 23% the proportion of women between 15-49 years old were attended four or more times by any provider during pregnancy, in 2009 this figure was 44%. In respect rate of pregnancy among women between 15 to 19 years old were in 1990 89% per 1000 births and 53% in 2009, a dramatic drop. However the need for contraceptives remains high in South Asia, showing an inadequate support for family planning.

MDG6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

In relation to HIV, in South Asia HIV incidents per HIV annual infections per 100 people aged 15-49 were 0.04% 2001 and 2009 in 0.02%

Between 2001 and 2009, the HIV incidence rate declined steadily, by nearly 25% worldwide. Incidence rate fell significantly in South Asia because of increasing people’s knowledge about HIV and how to avoid HIV transmission.

MDG7 Ensure environmental sustainability

In relation to CO² emissions in 1990  in south Asia  was 1.0 Billions of metric tons and 2.5 in 2008 a significant increase, water resources in the region in 2005 was 58% and scarcity 60%  a bit far from sustainable limits which is 75%. In respect to social issues and environmental impact, the proportion of population using improved sanitation facilities in 1990 was 25% and 36% in 2008 very far from 2015 target of 63%.

According to UN, globally open defecation rates have declined by one third, from 25 % of the population in 1990 to 17 % in 2008. But almost two thirds of the people who practice open sanitation reside in South Asia. Its 2011 report demonstrates that globally, an urban resident is 1.7 times more likely to use an improved sanitation facility than someone living in a rural area and inequalities are most stark in South Asia, where an urban resident is 2.2 times more likely to use an improved facility than a rural resident.

MDG8 Develop a global partnership for development

In relation to external debt service payments as a proportion of export revenues reveals that its % in 2000 was 13.7% and 3.5% in 2009. The UN report indicates that the ratio of public debt service to exports increased for all developing regions except Southern Asia, Western Asia and Oceania, with the overall average rising to 3.6 %. Rich countries should provide debt-relief, aid, financial stability and access to new technology for developing countries backed by a commitment to free trade and market access.

Although the South Asia region has made some advancement in meeting the MDG 2015 targets, the proportion of the population in the region who lives on $1.25 is still nearly 50%, the same applies for the amount of malnourish children under 5 years. The region also faces big challenges on gender, sustainability, health and sanitation access issues.

“Meeting the MDG goals, it is important to recognize their government’s role and the need for help from rich donor nations to significantly increase spending on human development for poverty reduction. However, in South Asian governments alone can not do it, the private sector organizations, NGOs and civil society have to come forward to make their contribution toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals goals”.¹



The Millennium Development Goal Report 2011


Where do we stand? UNDP


South Asia Progress Lags in Meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals

1 http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/09/south-asias-progress-lags-in-un.html


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