The MDGs: 374 words that changed the world.


Bjorn Lomborg

Game plan for humanity

The world’s 193 governments are gearing up to set our priorities for the next decade and a half.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should be just as proud of the 100-plus targets he can cut from the proposed 169 targets as he will be of the few dozen he ends up with, Lomborg writes in Washington Post.

Focusing on what is smartest, rather than what feels best, could be the single best thing we can do these next 15 years. Lomborg told Australia's public broadcaster ABC.

A Long and Prosperous Life

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life – from conception to age two – are vital for proper development. Poorly nourished infants become stunted and fall behind better-fed ones in developing cognitive skills.

New Post-2015 Consensus research, reported by Reuters (e.g. in India's Economic Times or Chicago Tribune) and in Wall Street Journal (also in Indonesian WSJ), shows alleviating stunting can be done relatively cheaply - and yield benefits on average of $45 per dollar spent.

The Guardian (UK) and Milenio (Mexico) published in-depth articles on the impressive improvement in quality of life (better marriages, fewer miscarriages and higher pay)  from simple nutrition interventions in childhood.

A Kyoto déjà vu

China and the U.S. made a joint statement on their intentions to limit their COâ‚‚ emissions.

But China essentially makes no new obligations, while Obama lacks the legislative basis for his promises. Instead of making empty promises, we should focus on green R&D to solve the climate problem, Lomborg argues in TIME, The Australian, La Tribune (France) and Borsen (Denmark).
On Sydney's 2GB radio Lomborg elaborates how this looks like a sad repeat of the 90s Kyoto treaty. The answer to the climate problem is innovation—not empty promises. 

A Moral Dilemma

At the G20, President Obama promised $3 billion to “help developing nations” fight climate change. It can delay global warming by 2 hours at the end of the century. It could also save 3 million people from dying from malaria today. What is best? Lomborg asks in New York Post.

Sweden made a similar $500 million promise to help people in the developing world cut their carbon emissions. Would the world's poorest people really prefer to postpone global warming by 20 minutes, instead of saving 6 million of their children from malnourishment? Lomborg asks in Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish).

More migration?

One part of our world - the developed world - is graying fast and won't have enough workers to sustain it. Another part - the developing world - is exploding with young people who need jobs. In his latest Project Syndicate piece Bjorn Lomborg draws on new Post-2015 Consensus research showing the answers might be staring us in the face.

The article was published around the world, among others in Shanghai Daily News (China), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Die Presse (Austria), La Nacion (Costa Rica), New Vision (Uganda).

Or free contraception?

215 million women want to avoid pregnancy but can’t. Each year it makes 600,000 children lose their mother. Estimating this misery in economic terms may seem cold, but it makes it possible to compare contraception to other big challenges. In total, free contraception would avoid about $145 billion in human misery. That alone means that every dollar spent will do $40 good.
Published with country specific data in for example Daily Trust (Nigeria) and La Tercera (Chile).

Improving lives of women

Improving the lives of women is undoubtedly a worthy goal – but how do we best accomplish this? New research for the Post-2015 Consensus argues we need to ensure women have control over their reproductive decisions. Other targets with a high social and economic benefit to cost ratio are access to education, economic empowerment, property rights, and political representation.

Lomborg's op-ed on this research has been published all over Latin America, e.g. in El Universal (Venezuela), El Universo (Ecuador), El Periodico (Guatemala) and La Prensa (Honduras), Los Tiempos de Cochabamba (Bolivia),  La Prensa Grafica (El Salvador) .

Trade reduces poverty

In an ABC News interview Lomborg congratulated the G20 summit for putting free trade back on the top of the agenda. We know trade helps reduce poverty, with China lifting 680 million out of misery over the past 30 years .

Lomborg promoted the UN's "The World We Want"-polling of 5 million people world-wide. People overwhelmingly placed good education, healthcare and jobs at the top of their priority list, with climate action at number 17 out of 17.

The media's focus at G20 often seemed to be elsewhere. For instance, Bloomberg TV interviewed Bjorn Lomborg about how to cut carbon emissions smartly.

Holiday reading:

Lomborg's essay in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs.

Recommended links:

Promises to keep
Foreign Affairs

Get real, swap some ambitious targets for achievable ones
Economic Times (India)

The importance of putting resources into early years’ schooling
Economic Times (India)

Free trade could make every Ghanaian $400 richer yearly
The Daily Graphic (Ghana)

Funding preschool has lasting benefits
The Zimbabwe Standard

Illegale penge koster ulande dyrt

Med mere frihandel hjælper vi flere
Borsen (Denmark)

Lyt til FNs klimapanel
Berlingske (Denmark)

Wie gierige Herrscher die Dritte Welt ausrauben
Die Welt (Germany)

Die bessere Welt ist bereits da
Die Presse (Austria)

Conservación ambiental: una gran inversión
Los Tiempos (Bolivia)

Argumentos económicos para tomar decisiones
Perfil (Argentina)

Más libre comercio, menos pobreza
El Universal (Venezuela)

Mirar de cerca el cambio climático
El Universo (Ecuador)

La revolución de los datos
El Periodico (Guatemala)

Geçtiğimiz yıl 308 milyon kadın şiddet gördüğünü belirtti
Wall Street Journal Turkey

Najlepsza inwestycja w czynienie dobra na świecie
Listy z naszego sadu (Poland)

Se till att de fattigaste får den bästa hjälpen
Sydsvenskan (Sweden)

Ein Abkommen für die Geschichtsbücher
Berliner Zeitung

Blog for Berlingske (Denmark)

Ubekvem klimakonklusion

København er ikke det gode klimaeksempel

Europæiske husholdningers største frygt: Energipriser


Biobrøler II – mad som brændsel

About Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus 

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg researches the smartest ways to improve the environment and the world, and has repeatedly been named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 public intellectuals.

He is the author of several best-selling books, an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School and regularly works with many of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates. 
His think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania as one of the world’s "Top 25 Environmental Think Tanks".

Lomborg is frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, CNN, FOX, and the BBC. His monthly column is published in 19 languages, in 30+ newspapers with more than 30 million readers globally.
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Zsuzsa Horvath
Executive Assistant to Bjorn Lomborg
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