As we mark International Literacy Day, it is an opportune time to highlight the importance of literacy and the challenges ahead in promoting global literacy.
I find it almost impossible to imagine life without literacy. But not being able to read is the day to day reality for billions of people.
The challenge of providing health care and education to 1.8 billion youth, of teaching 175 million people to read a sentence, might seem daunting or even impossible. But look how far we've come.
This progress is remarkable and worth celebrating. Yet it is only a taste of what we can accomplish, and with less than 500 days until the deadline, we have a lot of work ahead of us.
We can eliminate malnutrition. And, I believe that it's possible to do so by 2030. Ambitious targets and a common vision are a great start. But, to fix the food system we need a framework that drives stakeholders to work together, regardless of their differences.
Despite significant progress allowing tens of millions of children to enroll into school at the start of the millennium, a recent estimate suggested that at the current rate we must wait until 2086 for the last girl to have a primary education in Africa.
Let's approach the remaining 500 days fully aware of how our hard work can add up to millions of precious lives, and bring our ambitious goals closer than ever to the finish line.
The healthcare provider assured me that there was no need to make an appointment -- here at Mulu, patients came in and got family planning counseling services on a "walk in" basis. In addition, all family planning services and contraceptives were free. With the incentives mounting high and a full range of choices available, I could find no better place to start planning for my family.
The progress of the Millennium Development Goals in pictures - An essay, in pictures from Brazil. This April we went to Brazil for a reporting trip ...
Start with the schools. That's where the future is made.
The Sustainable Development Goals are about much more than achieving a diplomatic consensus. Starting next year, they will serve as a road-map for driving development around the world, including the world's poorest countries.
Land degradation and subsequent desertification are becoming some of the most pressing development issues. It is estimated that one-third of the world's arable land has been lost in the last 40 years due to soil erosion.
Some see WPD as a day to focus on the population "boom," or overpopulation, but ultimately this just distracts people from a universal truth: If women and girls can access contraception, they are more likely to finish school, they will have fewer children by choice, and they are more likely to prosper.
The stakes could not be greater. More than 58 million children around the world are simply not in school and 250 million are not acquiring the basic knowledge and skills they should by grade four.
Rwanda's success, while remarkable, is not a mystery. Investments were based on the evidence, tackling the biggest threats to child survival by increasing effective interventions such as vaccinations and breastfeeding rates.
As we celebrate the Day of the African Child this week, we hold in our hearts the brave Nigerian schoolgirls -- those in captivity, those who have escaped, the thousands whose fearless assertion of their right to an education has put them now at such risk.