Reducing global poverty and improving health is the axis around which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation revolves — and the massive Seattle-based philanthropy uses data to measure its success in reaching that audacious goal. Today, the organization is launching a new report to share that data, celebrate successes, and warn the global community about what could happen if we fail to continue investing in development.
The “Goalkeepers” report tracks 18 data points from the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a vision for where the world should be by 2030. It touts improvements, like reducing the number of people living below the poverty line, increasing access to contraceptives, and curbing the number of deaths related to HIV.
But the report is also meant to be a word of warning to governments considering cutting programs that provide aid to the developing world. Several of the charts include predictions for how these health metrics will change by 2030, with green indicating the best case scenario and red the worst.
If for example, funding for HIV treatment were cut by 10 percent, it could cost 5.6 million lives, according to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation prepared for the Gates Foundation report.
“We’re trying to not only drive awareness of the progress and what’s at risk but actually galvanize people to raise their voices about pushing forward on the actions that will help us achieve the positive side of the forecast,” Bill Gates said in a call announcing the report. “We’re trying to draw in a lot of young leaders to get engaged in this.”
In addition to studying key indicators of global health and well-being, the report includes case studies of policies, innovations, and people making strides toward accomplishing those goals.
The case studies are written from the perspective of people on the ground, like Fatimata Sy, Director of the coordination unit for the Ouagadougou Partnership in Senegal. Her organization launched a massive campaign to educate the people of Senegal about contraceptives and make them more accessible.
“The government set the tone, with ambitious policies to change the status quo as well as the funding to back them up,” Sy said in the report. “Civil society followed, with virtually every interest group in Senegal represented: religious leaders, community advocates, youth, and others. For the first time, there was momentum for change.”
As part of the Goalkeepers launch, the Gates Foundation is holding two events in New York, coinciding with the UN General Assembly. On Sept. 19 Melinda Gates will co-host an awards dinner with UN deputy secretary, General Amina J. Mohammed, honoring people who have made accomplishments toward the goals stated in the report. The next day, Bill and Melinda Gates will host another event to discuss the work that can and must be done to achieve the goals outlined in the report. Former President Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Jordanian Queen Rania Al Abdullah plan to attend the Sept. 20 event.
“Every year we want to take these same metrics, the broad metrics, and in a data-driven, honest way that we think is the best for making progress, get that out there to everyone,” Gates said on the call.
The Gates Foundation will publish the Goalkeepers report each year between now and 2030.