A dose of optimism and signals of progress may be what’s needed in a world increasingly desensitized to large-scale global problems.
The series of animated charts in the new Goalkeepers site from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows the surprising progress the world has made against poverty, neonatal mortality, rates of HIV, rates of family planning, rates of smoking, coverage of essential health care services, and other key indicators of global health and wellbeing.
Global child mortality, for example, for children under the age of five fell from 11.2 million in 1990 to five million in 2016. Should we continue to make such progress, this number could drop as low as 2 million in 2030, the report predicts. The foundation plans to issue the report yearly through 2030.
The report includes 18 sets of global data. Most of the charts begin in 1990 and include forecasts through 2030 “if we regress” and “if we progress.” Even with progress, most of the Sustainable Development Goals will remain unmet.
A half-dozen case studies highlight successes, such as the uptake of contraceptives in Senegal: In 2012, Senegal decentralized its contraceptive supply chains and, with the help of private-sector partners and the Ouagadougou Partnership, made sure that women who sought out birth-control services would get it, raising contraceptive prevalence rates from 3% in 1990 to 15% in 2016.
Another case study focuses on financial inclusion in India, where digital financial services and programs like PMJDY have made it easier and more secure for poor people to do business with banks, and demonstrated the link between financial inclusion and women’s empowerment.
The report also highlights the continuing need for better data. In categories like quality of education, land tenure by women, and productivity and income around agriculture, there is insufficient information to even make a graph. New technologies and methodologies such as AGRIS are helping capturing such data.
Bonus: Watch former U.S. president Barack Obama’s keynote at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers event on Wednesday: