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the millennium development goals
goal 7
ensure environmental sustainability
Caring for and sustaining the environment does more than benefit our consciences - it affects our health. The water we drink, the fields we cultivate, and the food we grow all come from the earth, and it is our responsibility to nourish it. A person's health and well being are endangered by gutted natural resources and toxic living conditions. This is particularly true in the developing world where: 1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, 2.4 billion people lack access to toilets, and 2 million children die every year from infections spread by dirty water or the lack of toilets.

Goal 7 aims to improve the way we manage the environment so that natural resources people need to survive will be available to future generations. There is a strong link between poverty and the environment as poor people, especially in least developed countries, are more dependent on agriculture and natural resources and are thus often the most severely affected by the pollution or destruction of them. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the losses of environmental resources.

• By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
• By 2020, achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.

Managing and protecting the environment contribute greatly to reaching the other Goals.

only with            
your voice
how youth are affected and involved
Youth must contribute to environmental sustainability for the simple reason that it affects their lives today and their futures. Young people can increase environmental awareness and activism in their own communities through formal and informal education such as using media to get their message out. They can participate in water action teams and sanitation projects with the goal of cleaning up one community at a time. Youth can also realize their potential by become social and environmental entrepreneurs - innovators and much needed leaders for struggling communities.

Many youth gain their understanding of environmental issues through media and technology. These methods should be recognized as effective and important ways to educate young people.

Furthermore, youth must be consulted by decision-makers and bring fresh ideas to planning and action committees at the local and global levels. In return, youth environmental leaders from developing countries must be supported and encouraged to attend international conferences and be involved in UN environmental processes.

How would you get involved? Visit our Action page for ideas that suit you!

For more on Goal 7 please visit:

Millennium Campaign Youth Site

Millennium Campaign

World Bank

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what needs to be done  

Jen B. (Canada)

Significant improvements in access to safe drinking water have been made in rural areas, but only a few countries are making progress at a rate that will allow them to meet Goal 7. Unfortunately, countries that have made significant progress in achieving the other Goals tend to have a worse record on environmental issues.

Environmental sustainability needs to be integrated into all policy decisions, and the impact of these decisions must be evaluated regularly. In many developing countries, natural resources are exhausted as a result of corruption. Monitoring and enforcement need to be strengthened.

People living in environmentally unsound areas must be given more opportunities to participate in making decisions that affect their environment. They should not be seen as part of the problem but as part of the solution. In this regard, existing networks and initiatives must be supported and expanded.