Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

MDGs: Water sparkles, sanitation suffers

Safe drinking water for the world could become a reality by the sunset of the Millennium Development Goals but basic sanitation is still a dream for 2.6 billion people according to a report from the United Nations.

The fifth edition of the United Nations Environment Program’s Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) came out in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 6th and in Addis Ababa on June 7th at the African Union Conference Center. 

The GEO-5 reports on the state of global environmental trends in areas like the atmosphere, land, water and biodiversity. The study also includes a global scorecard on internationally agreed to environmental goals. The GEO-5 study argues that complex environmental changes are having an adverse affect on humans.  Temperature increases are likely to cause more cases of Malaria, droughts and flooding that likely will deplete natural assets and make the world less stable.

The report identifies policy responses that different regions could implement to support sustainable development. The lack of reliable and consistent longitudinal studies and data taken over time is a  major obstacle to increasing the effectiveness of policies and programs, many of the important drivers of environmental  change or even their impact are not well monitored. Because reasons for climate change are not well documented nations need to continue monitoring the impact that human beings are making on the Earth, the report argues.

Not all eco news is grim. The report notes that tangible steps have been taken to protect the stratospheric ozone. Substances which harm the Ozone have been dramatically reduced resulting in a 31 per cent improvement in indicators of Ozone depleting substances in the mid-latitudes since 1994, and the predicted avoidance of 22 million cases of cataracts for people born between 1985 and 2001 in the United States of America.

Religious leaders were at the event to lend support to the green cause.

“All religious leaders should come together to bring awareness about protecting the environment, all religions teach us to be responsible for it,” said a representative of the Islamic faith.

The GEO-5 was celebrated along with World Environmental Day which this year was celebrated on June 5 under the theme, “Green Economy: Does it include you?”