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:

WFS 2015 Preparatory Meeting with the League of Arab States

Meeting with the League of Arab States

WFO, represented by Dr. Deisi Kusztra, President and Mr. Isidro de Brito, Vice President for Legal and Administrative Affairs, is attending a meeting with the League of Arabe States Headquarters today with H.E. Amb. Dr. Badre Eddine Allali, Assistant Secretary General and Mrs. Enas Sayed Mekkawy, Head of Women, Family and Childhood Department as part of the preparation for the World Family Summit 2015, to be held in Cairo, Egypt.

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:

World report on ageing and health

World report on ageing and health

Comprehensive public health action on population ageing is urgently needed. This will require fundamental shifts, not just in the things we do, but in how we think about ageing itself.

The new World report on ageing and health outlines a framework for action to foster Healthy Ageing built around the new concept of functional ability. Making these investments will have valuable social and economic returns, both in terms of health and well-being of older people and in enabling their on-going participation in society.

“Today, most people, even in the poorest countries, are living longer lives,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “But this is not enough. We need to ensure these extra years are healthy, meaningful and dignified. Achieving this will not just be good for older people, it will be good for society as a whole.”

The Report rejects the stereotype of older people as frail and dependent and says the many contributions that older people make are often overlooked, while the demands that population ageing will place on society are frequently overemphasized or exaggerated.

The Report highlights 3 key areas for action which will require a fundamental shift in the way society thinks about ageing and older people. These actions can give the older people of today and tomorrow the ability to invent new ways of living.

Read Full Report.


The General Assembly voted on September 10 to allow non-member observer states to raise their flags alongside those of the 193 member states. An overwhelming majority of countries – 119 – supported the move.

Palestine is the first non-member observer state of the United Nations to benefit from this resolution. The Palestinian flag was raised at the United Nations’ rose garden in New York for the first time on 30 September 2015.

President Mahmoud Abbas dedicated the ceremony to “the martyrs, the prisoners and the wounded, and to those who gave their lives while trying to raise this flag”. At the ceremony, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the occasion a “day of pride for the Palestinian people around the world” and a “day of hope.” Now is the time to restore confidence by both Israelis and Palestinians for a peaceful settlement and, at last, the realization of two states for two peoples,” “The symbolism of raising your flag at the United Nations reflects the commitment of the Palestinian Authority to pursue the long-held dream of the Palestinian people for their own state,” and  “It also symbolizes the longstanding commitment of the United Nations to support Palestinian aspirations. “I sincerely hope that a successful peace process will soon yield a day when we unfurl the Palestinian flag in its proper place—among the family of nations as a sovereign member state of the United Nations,” concluded Mr. Ban.

Dr. Deisi Kusztra, WFO President and and Hanifa Mezoui, PhD, Senior Advisor forthe United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, attended this ceremony at the UN Headquarters, where the Palestinian Flag was raised for the first time.


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.”

Business leaders pledge investments worth millions to boost gender equality – UN

26 September 2015 – Top global companies and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Unilever, are committing millions of dollars to promote gender equality as they gather at a United Nations event in New York.

Commitments made at the Business and Philanthropy Leader’s Forum, hosted by the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women (UN Women), seek to close the deep financing gaps that hinder progress for women and girls.

Achieving gender equality is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that comprise the 2030 Agenda, which world leaders adopted on Friday. According to UN Women, gender equality is crucial to realizing the “transformative promise” of the new global development agenda.

“There can be no gender equality without investment and willingness to change the status quo,” the agency’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said in a news release. “To make 2030 the expiry date for all forms of gender discrimination, everywhere, all businesses will need to step up essential investments in gender equality.”

The forum, co-hosted with Alibaba Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, received contributions of $5 million and $1 million from these organizations, respectively. Significant contributions were received from other institutions as well.

“Achieving gender equality by 2030 is an ambitious, but realistic goal in the modern age and the private sector has a critical role to play,” said Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma. “We at Alibaba believe in the power of technology to allow women to thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s economy. With partners such as UN Women, we will continue to create economic opportunity for millions of female entrepreneurs around the world.”

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of the Gates Foundation, noted that the world is moving in the right direction because women are pushing it that way. “Women drive progress for all of us by demanding better healthcare and opportunities for their children and greater equity for everyone. That’s why, when we invest in women and girls, we’re investing in the people who invest in everyone else.”

Unilever, which has set for itself the goal of empowering five million women across the world by 2020, is extending support to promote economic opportunities for women, reduce unpaid care work and ensure the safety of women and girls.

“Gender equality also presents an enormous opportunity for economic and business growth. Addressing the barriers is not just the right thing to do; it must be a business priority,” said Paul Polman, the company’s CEO and recent winner of the UN’s top environmental prize for his role in advocating more sustainable business models.

Other organizations taking part in the event in support of UN Women are representatives of Coca-Cola, Cisco, Infosys, Itaipu, MasterCard, H&M, Citibank, State Bank of India, Ford Foundation, General Electric Foundation and Nigeria-based Dangote Foundation.

The event takes place on the eve of the Global Leader’s Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment – a Commitment to Action, at which heads of State and government will discuss actions to achieve gender equality by 2030.