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ECLAC Releases Report on Achieving the MDGs with Equality

1 July 2010: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has released a report titled "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with equality in Latin America and the Caribbean. Progress and challenges." 

The report finds that climate change greatly contributes to making the supply of natural resources and energy uncertain, and that power generation is a key theme both for development and the environment. The report also highlights the link between environmental degradation and poverty, noting that the poor suffer most from environmental degradation as a result of air and water pollution, the degradation of forests and fisheries, and the effects of climate change. It further states that gains in reducing poverty (Goal 1) and other aspects of human development depend heavily on the achievements in environmental aspects.

On Goal 7, which seeks to "ensure environmental sustainability," seven indicators were developed for follow-up to target 7A (Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources) and target 7B (Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss). In relation to the indicator that refers to the proportion of total water resources used, the report states that climate change and rising demand will worsen water availability problems. In the face of these challenges, it stresses that progress towards the target urgently requires effective management of water resources.

On the indicator "Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits," the report finds that studies carried out have found that the growth of industrial fishing and aquaculture, changes in habitats and increasing pollution are placing heavy pressure on hydobiological resources, and this is exacerbated by climate change, which could lead to biodiversity loss.

The report states that although some progress have been achieved in the region in relation to the indicator "proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected," evidence exists of habitat loss as a result of deforestation and coral bleaching, among other causes, often associated with large-scale economic activities, the introduction of non-native species and climate change.

The report further underlines that although the drinking water target has been met in urban areas, the sustainability of service provision needs to be ensured in light of climate change and increasing contamination. Furthermore, it recommends that the State be involved in overseeing, regulating and inspecting the provision of improved drinking water and sanitation services, underlining that climate change imposes new challenges for the provision of these services. [The Report] [ECLAC Press Release]