In September 2000, 187 member states of the United Nations reaffirmed their commitment to eliminating poverty and creating sustainable development. At the United Nations Millennium Summit, 147 heads of state signed the Millennium Declaration, which set measurable goals and included a 15-year time frame to fulfill their commitment.
According to the Millennium Development Goals Report released in 2008, some progress has been made in global standards of living, as evidenced by increasing school-enrollment rates and the decreasing death toll of AIDS. But although the international community has been working hard to achieve the MDGs, the task is getting more difficult as the gap between our goals and reality grows wider.
Today, we face many simultaneous challenges, such as regional conflicts, climate change, and a global economic recession. Conflicts worsen conditions of poverty, take away educational opportunities and violate the human rights of civilian populations. Higher food prices makes it harder to provide food for children. The number of people living with HIV is increasing unabated in developing countries, as are carbon dioxide emissions. If we hope to achieve the MDGs by the UN’s stated goal of 2015, we must improve our efforts.
Who creates those global crises? Who has the ability to solve them? It is not a matter of lack of money and resources. It is a matter of priorities and choices. How many people are concerned about the MDGs, and what are they actually doing to help achieve these goals? Do they represent a vision shared only by those who work at international organizations such as the United Nations? Experts already have much of the knowledge we need to solve the problems we face. What we need most is dedication, motivation, and effective action.
Among the eight MDGs, goals 3, 6, 7, and 8 have shown little in the way of progress, or have even slid backward. We believe brain education can be instrumental in achieving the goals below.
MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
The fundamental causes of gender imparities are the misconceptions and stereotypes pervasive in society. The MDG Report 2008 reports that 113 countries failed to achieve gender parity in both primary and secondary school enrollment by the target date of 2005, and only 18 more are likely to achieve the goal by 2015.
Gender equality can only be achieved when we grow beyond antiquated customs and prejudices and recover our humanity. Brain-based holistic education, or “brain education” for short, helps all human beings to get in touch with their humanity and fulfill their potential — without regard to gender. Brain education is about objectively assessing ourselves and the world around us, transcending preconceptions that hold us back as individuals or as cultures.
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
Without public health funding, the MDGs cannot be achieved. Funding and support has increased, but more is required. The number of doctors and availability of medicine in the developing world is not enough to combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and emerging diseases are not limited to developing countries.
Fundamentally, brain education helps individuals tap into the natural healing power within the human body. Brain education helps people recognize unhealthy habits and change them. Healthy habits create healthy lives, and a healthy population reduces strain on health care systems.
MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
The 2008 report explains how climate change has negatively impacted attempts to reach MDG goals. The impact of desertification has been a huge barrier to achieving MDGs in sub-Saharan Africa.
Brain education provides an “earth human” education program to children to help them understand our responsibility to the Earth. We must be committed to sustainable development, focusing on quality rather than quantity. Increasing the number of schools is an important step, but alone it is not sufficient to improve education in the long term. The children in developing countries must also build up their own ability to lead peaceful and productive lives.
MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development
When the leaders of the world take responsibility on a global issue, they should not make decisions solely motivated by the benefit to their own country. If global leaders were to recognize our interconnectedness, trade and distribution imbalances would be resolved. Instead, their education has taught them to value competition and power.
Brain education emphasizes cooperation and oneness with others. Students learn how closely we are linked to each other, and the importance of partnership regardless of region, nationality, gender, or age. Global issues are not limited to national borders. If there is poverty in any part of the world, it is our responsibility. Politicians need to have a greater sense of collective responsibility and build a sound global partnership as representatives of their respective countries.
The United Nations was founded on a hope that we could make the world more peaceful. It was born out of concern and conscience, following the destruction of World War II. All human beings need to recognize that they are the hope of the world. Brain education is committed to contributing hope to society; as a result, society can become healthy both physically and mentally. It is our hope that brain education can help realize the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
This article is updated from its initial publication in Brain World Magazine.
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