UNEP & the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - Goal # 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

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Goal # 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

Target 3: To ensure that by 2015 that children everywhere will complete a full course of primary schooling

As many as 113 million children worldwide do not attend school. The problem is most acute in Sub-Saharan Africa and a higher proportion of girls than boys do not go to school.

One of the barriers to children’s participation in education, and particularly that of girls, is the time children spend gathering firewood and collecting water. In an environment under stress where natural resources are scarce due to, for example, deforestation and water pollution these tasks take even longer. More reliable and sustainable forms of energy and more widespread access to clean water will therefore contribute to the achievement of MDG2.

It is well-known that children who are hungry are less able to concentrate and get something out of school. They are therefore less likely to complete education. Sustainable food provision is dependent on a healthy environment and will contribute positively to children’s completion rate of primary education.

In summary, food, water and energy provision are all important factors in children’s school attendance. UNEP works on securing the existence of these vital ecosystem services now and in the future. By doing so, UNEP is indirectly ensuring that more children are able to go to school.

Selected UNEP activities of relevance to MDG2:

Land Issues
Poverty and environment project