The lazy person’s guide to saving the world

End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. Whoa. The Global Goals are important, world-changing objectives that will require cooperation among governments, international organizations and world leaders. It seems impossible that the average person can make an impact. Should you just give up?

No! Change starts with you. Seriously. Every human on earth—even the most indifferent, laziest person among us—is part of the solution. Fortunately, there are some super easy things we can adopt into our routines that, if we all do it, will make a big difference.

We’ve made it easy for you and compiled just a few of the many things you can do to make an impact.

Level 1: Sofa superstarThings you can do from your couch

  • Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.
  • Stop paper bank statements and pay your bills online or via mobile. No paper, no need for forest destruction.
  • Share, don’t just like. If you see an interesting social media post about women’s rights or climate change, share it so folks in your network see it too.
  • Speak up! Ask your local and national authorities to engage in initiatives that don’t harm people or the planet. Ahead of the Climate Change conference in Paris you can sign this petition asking leaders to reach an agreement to lower their carbon emissions.
  • Don’t print. See something online you need to remember? Jot it down in a notebook or better yet a digital post-it note and spare the paper.
  • Turn off the lights. Your TV or computer screen provides a cosy glow, so turn off other lights if you don’t need them.
  • Do a bit of online research and buy only from companies that you know have sustainable practices and don’t harm the environment.
  • Report online bullies. If you notice harassment on a message board or in a chat room, flag that person.
  • Stay informed. Follow your local news and stay in touch with the Global Goals online or on social media at @GlobalGoalsUN.
  • Tell us about your actions to achieve the global goals by using the hashtag #globalgoals on social networks.
  • Offset your carbon emissions! You can calculate your carbon footprint and purchase climate credit from Climate Neutral Now.

Level 2: Household heroThings you can do at home

  • Air dry. Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine. If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.
  • Take short showers. Bathtubs require gallons more water than a 5-10 minute shower.
  • Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to provide meat than plants
  • Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad. You can also do this with take-away or delivered food, if you know you will not feel like eating it the next day. You will save food and money.
  • Compost—composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
  • Recycling paper, plastic, glass & aluminium keeps landfills from growing.
  • Buy minimally packaged goods.
  • Avoid pre-heating the oven. Unless you need a precise baking temperature, start heating your food right when you turn on the oven.
  • Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency
  • Adjust your thermostat, lower in winter, higher in summer
  • Replace old appliances with energy efficient models and light bulbs
  • If you have the option, install solar panels in your house. This will also reduce your electricity bill!
  • Get a rug. Carpets and rugs keep your house warm and your thermostat low.
  • Don’t rinse. If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine.
  • Choose a better diaper option. Swaddle your baby in cloth diapers or a new, environmentally responsible disposable brand.
  • Shovel snow manually. Avoid the noisy, exhaust-churning snow blower and get some exercise.
  • Use cardboard matches. They don’t require any petroleum, unlike plastic gas-filled lighters.

Level 3: Neighborhood nice guyThings you can do outside your house

  • Shop local. Supporting neighbourhood businesses keeps people employed and helps prevent trucks from driving far distances.
  • Shop Smart—plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys. Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items. Though these may be less expensive per ounce, they can be more expensive overall if much of that food is discarded.
  • Buy Funny Fruit—many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.
  • When you go to a restaurant and are ordering seafood always ask: “Do you serve sustainable seafood?” Let your favorite businesses know that ocean-friendly seafood’s on your shopping list.
  • Shop only for sustainable seafood. There are now many apps like this one that will tell you what is safe to consume.
  • Bike, walk or take public transport. Save the car trips for when you’ve got a big group.
  • Use a refillable water bottle and coffee cup. Cut down on waste and maybe even save money at the coffee shop.
  • Bring your own bag when you shop. Pass on the plastic bag and start carrying your own reusable totes.
  • Take fewer napkins. You don’t need a handful of napkins to eat your takeout. Take just what you need.
  • Shop vintage. Brand-new isn’t necessarily best. See what you can repurpose from second-hand shops.
  • Maintain your car. A well-tuned car will emit fewer toxic fumes.
  • Donate what you don’t use. Local charities will give your gently used clothes, books and furniture a new life.
  • Vaccinate yourself and your kids. Protecting your family from disease also aids public health.
  • Take advantage of your right to elect the leaders in your country and local community.

17 Sustainable Development Goals 17 Partnerships

Division for Sustainable Development DESA, 2015

The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit for the adoption of Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals was held during three historic days in New York, 25-27 September 2015.

In the lead-up to the Summit, the UN Secretariat, through its Division for Sustainable Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA-DSD), launched Partnerships for SDGs – an online platform to spur partnerships engagement in support of the sustainable development goals.

Born out of the Rio+20 Conference through paragraph 283 of the Future We Want outcome document, the platform has been revitalized in preparation for the Agenda 2030, with the 17 sustainable development goals at its core. To date, the platform contains nearly 1,800 partnerships and initiatives promoting sustainable development.

Beginning in early September 2015 and through the Summit, over 40 initiatives aiming to support the newly adopted sustainable development goals were registered.

This compilation provides a summary of 17 initiatives – one for each of the goals. The full list with further details is available at:

Local action is key to implement the 2030 Agenda

The World Local Economic Development Forum opens in Turin on the 13th of October. This will be an opportunity to demonstrate that the sustainable development goals of inclusive growth and decent work for all are not just a job for nations and international organizations. Local and regional development can lead the way.

Decent jobs are critical to poverty eradication. The recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly promotes (in Goal 8) “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”. However, it is not a challenge solely for nations and international organizations, there must also be “bottom up” solutions and strategies that incorporate local economic development (LED).

Context is important. Several localized economic, social, political and cultural factors will influence and shape the strategies needed to overcome many of the barriers that stand in the way of providing decent work and inclusive growth. Local authorities are well placed to understand not only the difficulties but also the strengths and resources of their region to meet the tasks at hand. That said, the challenges are formidable and manifold: rising unemployment, particularly amongst young people; a lack of worker’s rights; increasing inequality; discrimination and inadequate social protection.

Building new partnerships is an important step in meeting these challenges. The Turin LED forum , in this sense, is very welcome as it brings together local authorities and their associations, international organizations, the private sector, employers and workers organizations and civil society. The city of Turin’s leadership has been an essential partner in hosting and supporting this conference.

The LED forum is also an occasion to showcase ILO involvement in South-South and city-to-city / triangular cooperation (SSTC). SSTC typically involves two or more developing countries in collaboration with a third party, like a developed country government or organization, contributing to the exchanges with its own knowledge and resources.

LED: Providing decent work at the local level

As the 3rd local development forum will illustrate, localizing the decent work agenda encompasses several dimensions: the social and solidarity economy, green jobs, developing employment schemes for youth, enhancing the role of the private sector and ensuring employment for migrant workers. All of these elements contribute to localizing employment generation; all of them contribute to the promotion of decent work.

From informal to formal work in Mozambique food markets

In 2012 following a World Bank underwriting of the redevelopment of the Food Markets in Maputo, Mozambique, the city government called on the institutional memory of their peers in cities around the world to help better manage the impact on city food vendors. Using a training platform partly developed by the ILO, with cooperation from local authorities from Durban, and the Brazilian cities Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, Maputo was able to improve its policies on the management of city spaces and move ahead with formalization of the city’s food vending economy.

Developing city-to-city cooperation for LED in Chefchaouen, Morocco

The principal aims of the city-to-city strategy are three: raising awareness, building capacity and joint advocacy to make the changes in practice.

Like many regional centres in North African nations, the 50,000 inhabitants in the Moroccan city of Chefchaouen, some 2 hours’ drive south west of Tangiers, face many of the challenges to development. The population is young (median age in Morocco is 27 years), with chronically high levels of unemployment. Women in this region have traditionally been excluded from the paid workforce.

Working alongside the local development organization, United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) and UCLG Africa, the Mayor of Chefchaouen invited representatives of cities from Senegal, Mali, Tunisia, Benin and other countries, to share their experience with its local development agency, to articulate the economic priorities for his city. The ILO helped focus those priorities on youth and women’s employment. In response, an implemented tactic was to take advantage of new national legislation to establish food processing cooperatives. This helped boost local employment and began to integrate women into the workforce.

These types of approach provide a platform for multilateral partnerships, bringing together political, technical and local leaders who are working directly with communities and citizens. It also helps improve institutional and management capacity to better strategically plan, and more effectively implement the Decent Work Agenda, while supporting and sustaining local economic development.

The future

Given that cities are projected on current trends to be home to seven in ten of the world’s people by 2050, the role of local governance in implementing the Decent Work Agenda is destined only to grow.

To adapt, a number of steps are going to be needed. Cooperation across national lines between cities and regions must be scaled up. Shared solutions and knowledge must be facilitated. Field research on the effectiveness of policies and to deepen the understanding of the power of city-to-city cooperation is needed.

International bodies like the ILO have a broad role in furthering this cooperation and sharing of field experience. There is work to be done on targeting training, developing ways to adapt the Decent Work Agenda to their local context and supporting local authorities’ attempts to implement these policies.

As well, the local economic development networks need to be in dialogue with national and international policy makers. Advocacy must be a two way process with local governments recognized as key development partners.

Combined, these elements can contribute to the capacity of local authorities to further economic development in their communities, and to promote a vision of sustainable development with decent work at its heart.

Less than half of countries have achieved gender parity in education

Paris, 12 October—A new Gender Report compiled by UNESCO’s EFA Global Monitoring Report (GMR) for International Day of the Girl Child, shows that fewer than half of countries – of which none in sub-Saharan Africa –  have achieved the goal of gender parity in both primary and secondary education, even though all were supposed to achieve it by 2005.

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO said “Educating a girl educates a nation. It unleashes a ripple effect that changes the world unmistakably for the better. We have recently set ourselves a new ambitious agenda to achieve a sustainable future. Success in this endeavor is simply not possible without educated, empowered girls, young women and mothers.“

The Report, released jointly by the GMR and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, shows that, although the goal has not been met by all, progress towards gender parity is one of the biggest education success stories since 2000.

The number of countries that have achieved the goal of gender parity in both primary and secondary education has risen from 36 to 62 since 2000. Although 62 million girls are still denied their basic right to education, the number of out-of-school girls has declined by 52 million in the last 15 years. Nonetheless, considerable challenges remain, with gender disparities widening at each cycle of the education system and the poorest girls remaining at a stark disadvantage.

PRIMARY: Girls continue to face the greatest challenges in accessing primary school. Almost half of out-of-school girls will never set foot in a classroom, equivalent to 15 million girls, compared with just over a third of boys who are out of school.

SECONDARY: Gender disparities in secondary education are closing, but remain high. In 2012, at least 19 countries had fewer than 90 girls for every 100 boys in school. The disparity was greatest in the Arab States and sub-Saharan Africa. In the Central African Republic and Chad in 2012, half as many girls as boys were in secondary school.

UPPER SECONDARY: Boys are more likely than girls to drop out of upper secondary education. Only 95 boys for every 100 girls complete this level, and the situation has barely changed since 2000. In OECD countries, 73% of girls compared to 63% of boys complete upper secondary education.

LITERACY: Gender gaps in youth literacy are narrowing. However, fewer than seven out of every ten young women in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to be literate by 2015. The lack of progress in literacy among adult women is stark: two-thirds of adults who lack basic literacy skills are women, a proportion unchanged since 2000. Half of adult women in South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa cannot read or write.

School-related gender based violence is one of the worst manifestations of gender discrimination and holds back education attainment. Likewise, child marriages remain a persistent barrier to girls’ education. In 2012, almost one in five women who married were aged 15 to 19.

The EFA GMR has produced an online interactive tool to show how wide gender gaps are in different contexts. It shows, for instance, that in sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest girls are almost nine times more likely never to have set foot in a classroom than the richest boys. In the Arab States, one fifth of the poorest girls have never been to school, compared to one tenth of the poorest boys. In Latin America and the Caribbean, boys are at a disadvantage: 55% of boys compared to 63% of girls in rural areas complete lower secondary education.

Aaron Benavot, Director of the EFA GMR said: “Lacking any other way of measuring gender equality, we have focused on getting equal numbers of boys and girls in school. But we will never achieve this unless we tackle the roots of imbalance: social barriers and entrenched discriminatory social norms.  Unless we begin to understand equality as a much broader concept, girls and young women will never be able to reap the full benefits of education.”

Recommendations from the Report


1. Education should be free. Really free.
2. Provide policies to address the problems that many boys face, as well as girls in accessing and completing  education
3. Alternative secondary education options should be provided for out-of-school adolescents.


1. Integrate gender issues into all aspects of policy and planning
2. A mix of legislative change, advocacy & community mobilization  is needed
3. Work together! Governments, international organizations and education providers should join up to tackle school-related gender based violence.
4. Governments should recruit, train and support teachers effectively to address gender inequality.

For more information, interviews, photos, and case studies, please contact:

Kate Redman:  +33 (0)671786234


Solutions Summit reflections by Megan Smith, United States Chief Technology Officer

On the evening of 27 September 2015, the Solutions Summit at UN Headquarters turned attention toward breakthrough solutions for achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals, immediately following the conclusion of the UN Sustainable Development Summit.

The White House has just published an inspiring article about the Solutions Summit by Megan Smith, United States Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President. It captures the spirit of the initiative, summarizes each of the 14 projects profiled at the inaugural event, and provides a link to the event webcast video.
Extraordinary people are already implementing solutions around the world that address the Sustainable Development Goals.
Learn about them and spread the word!

Read the article here:

Historic New Sustainable Development Agenda Unanimously Adopted by 193 UN Members

On 25 September, a bold new global agenda to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future was unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at the start of a three-day Summit on Sustainable Development. The historic adoption of the new Sustainable Development Agenda, with 17 global goals at its core, was met with a thunderous standing ovation from delegations that included many of the more than 150 world leaders who addressed the Summit over the course of three days.

Ushering in a new era of national action and international cooperation, the new agenda commits every country to take an array of actions that would not only address the root causes of poverty, but would also increase economic growth and prosperity and meet people’s health, education and social needs, while protecting the environment.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The true test of commitment to Agenda 2030 will be implementation. We need action from everyone, everywhere. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our guide. They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.” The new Sustainable Development Goals build on the goal-setting agendas of United Nations conferences and the widely successful Millennium Development Goals that have improved the lives of millions of people. The new agenda recognizes that the world is facing immense challenges, ranging from widespread poverty, rising inequalities and enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power to environmental degradation and the risks posed by climate change.

The official adoption came shortly after Pope Francis addressed the General Assembly stating, “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope.” General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft called the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development “ambitious” in confronting the injustices of poverty, marginalization and discrimination. “We recognize the need to reduce inequalities and to protect our common home by changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. And, we identify the overwhelming need to address the politics of division, corruption and irresponsibility that fuel conflict and hold back development.”

The opening ceremony of the Summit also included remarks by a representative of civil society, Salil Shetty, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, who noted that while there is a gap between the “world we live in and the world we want,” the Sustainable Development Goals “represent people’s aspirations and can, and must, be reached.”

Head of UN economic and social forum says women’s rights will be enhanced by new sustainability goals

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOSC) elected Oh Joon of Republic of Korea as its new President. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

22 September 2015 – Addressing today a high-level gathering at United Nations Headquarters, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) declared that the empowerment of women and the full realization of their human rights are essential for achieving sustainable development and for building peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

“Women and girls should be able to benefit from all policies for sustainable development,” said Oh Joon, in remarks to the 2015 Empowering Women and Sustainable Development Summit, which opened today.

The ECOSOC President stressed that enhancing women’s rights will be included in the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Even though the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted 15 years ago, there are still challenges remaining. Mr. Oh said, and “a comprehensive and transformative approach is urgently needed to address the structural barriers to gender equality.”

Mr. Oh said those ambitious goals “must be matched with an equally ambitious level of commitment and investment.” He appealed all nations should ensure “a gender perspective is systematically incorporated into all national planning, budgeting and implementation.”

Emphasizing that women must be able to influence decisions on economic, social, and environmental issues, he said “women need to develop their full potential, and fully participate in decisions affecting their families, communities and countries.”

Accorng to Mr. Oh’s address, “gender equality, the empowerment of women, and the full realization of their human rights are essential for the achievement of sustainable development and for building peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”

ECOSOC will work through its substantive bodies, including the UN Commission of the Status of Women, to lead the efforts to build an inclusive and engaging global partnership bringing together all relevant stakeholders.

Mr. Oh ended his speech with strongly confidence of creating action-led solutions and turning the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda into reality.

Supported by the UN Development Programme in China (UNDP) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG Fund), the Sino-American Friendship Association (SAFA), in partnership with the China Women Development Foundation (CWDF), hosted today’s opening ceremony, luncheon and summit, and will also be hosting an award ceremony and symposium on 26 September at the Harvard Club NYC.

Around the world, the Social Good Summit celebrates the Global Goals

Sep 2015 by Boaz Paldi, Communications and Partnerships, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

Last week, the 100th UNDP country office confirmed participation in the 2015 Social Good Summit that will take place between the 25th and the 28th of September.

From Gaza to Costa Rica, Kabul to Nairobi, and Tehran to Pyongyang, UNDP and UN country teams will be holding local events, all connecting together in the world’s largest conversation about the largest issues facing us over the next 15 years.

The Social Good Summit (SGS) begun its journey six years ago. A group of like-minded friends at the United Nations Foundation, Mashable and the 92Y decided that while the UN General Assembly holds a closed door meeting at UN Headquarters, they themselves would have a conference were everyone could be invited and have a seat at the table.

I was privileged to be invited to join this initial conversation and immediately understood the immense power of this platform. Here was a committed community that could share knowledge, experiences, and the strong belief that together we could make the world a little better. But it lacked an international reach and flavor – to touch on the world’s problems, you need to include the world and have that reflected in the summit. And that is exactly what UNDP could provide.

In 2012, UNDP joined the summit partnership and with the amazing support of 32 country offices, the SGS went global. With local events ranging from a prime time TV show in Bhutan to a small event in Damascus in the midst of a civil war, the Social Good Summit now truly felt like a place where everyone across the world was welcome to join, in many cases bridging the digital divide.

The next year brought 47 UNDP offices joining, then 72, and now this year we have over 100 live events.

And 2015 is no ordinary year. This year’s SGS will be celebrating and helping to launch the new Sustainable Development Agenda – The Global Goals. In every location around the globe, flag raising ceremonies will be held to mark the adoption of the goals and in-depth discussions will highlight the changes and opportunities that lie ahead.

Thanks to the commitment and hard work of UNDP colleagues across the globe, the events promise to be a unique and inspiring experience. In Liberia, the SGS will be hosted by Dr. Fallah, whose work on community outreach helped put a stop to the Ebola epidemic. Award-winning photographer and activist Laila Ghanda will join the Morocco event. In Nairobi, the SGS flagship Africa event, there will be a program bursting with celebrities and influencers from the across the continent.

Here in New York City, on the stage at the 92Y, the program will be extra special this year. A celebration of the Global Goals will kick of the Summit with 17 celebrities each reading a goal, including filmmaker and Project Everyone founder Richard Curtis, former child soldier and author Ishmael Beah, singer and activist Victoria Beckham, politician and humanitarian Graça Machel, and many more. This will be followed by star-studded two days with much of the conversation focusing on the SDGs.

We have come a long way in the past six years. From an event inspired by a group of friends to summit spanning the length and breathe of the globe. More than 100,000 people are expected to watch the live stream from all the events and more 100 million to engage with the #2030Now hashtag.

I can’t wait to see you there.

MDG Gap Task Force Report 2015: Taking Stock of the Global Partnership for Development

The 2015 Report continues to monitor the five core domains of the Global Partnership for Development, namely, official development assistance (ODA), market access (trade), debt sustainability, access to affordable essential medicines and access to new technologies, as prescribed by MDG 8. This year marks the last of the series of this monitoring process with a closing report tracking 15 years of the global partnership for development. As has been reported throughout the monitoring process, there have been significant positive developments pointing to an effective international partnership in the five domains, but several deficits in development cooperation have continuously highlighted the need for a rejuvenation of the global partnership for development.

The report finds that ODA increased substantially over the MDG period, although ODA to LDCs has declined in recent years. Additionally, global trade of goods and services expanded significantly over the last fifteen years to more than USD20 trillion, with improved levels of participation by developing countries. However, a key challenge of MDG 8 has been the failure of the international community to conclude the Doha Development Round after 13 years of negotiation. This failure has had ramifications for the potential of trade as an enabler of economic growth and development. Debt relief initiatives have alleviated debt burdens of many developing countries, but the need for enhanced policies towards debt crisis prevention and resolution remains to address the concerns of other vulnerable countries whose debt problems remain unresolved. Monitoring studies on access to affordable essential medicines have repeatedly shown that, in general, access remains insufficient and, in particular, that generic medicines are significantly less available in public health facilities than in private health facilities. Finally, the report notes that access to new technologies, in particular information and communication technologies has grown tremendously since 2000 but these impressive gains observed during the MDG era continue to be marred by a digital divide between developed and developing countries.

The full 2015 report will be launched in New York at 11:00 am, 18 September 2015.

Aid can help to eliminate inequality by 2030 – if five key lessons are heeded

On 25 September, the UN will pledge to “leave no one behind” by eliminating poverty and inequality throughout the world by 2030, in accordance with the sustainable development goals (SDGs). While 17 new goals and 169 targets are far too many to remember, and all are highly aspirational – with none of the detail yet worked out – the […]