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Infrastructure relates to all scales of the built form – from the insertion of a new school, to sewers that help control the flow of water.  The trickle effect of effective and high-quality infrastructure are seen through the many strata that make up life.  By developing infrastructure in areas of need, once can achieve sustainability […]


Climate change, a key challenge for the attainment of MDGs

As 2012 has seen record-breaking temperatures across the US, climate change and its collateral damages are getting harder to avoid. This is even truer for developing countries. So to what extent is it affecting them and what are the consequences for the global development agenda?

How is climate change affecting developing countries?

Climate change effects can be observed through different forms and at different time and space levels. They are particularly hitting developing countries and LDCs through the following events:

  • Longer droughts and/or more frequent floods according to the concerned area
  • Increased water-stress
  • Expanding parasites range
  • Crop decline and increase of arid and semi-arid lands
  • Sea-level rise threatening low-lying areas like deltas and small-island states
  • More frequent tropical storms due to warmer ocean temperature
  • Higher risks of social conflicts over natural resources and land use and increasing number of climate-refugees

Unfortunately, given the amount of greenhouse gas emissions already emitted these effects are expected to amplify over time due to positive retroactions – i.e. mechanisms triggered by climate change and amplifying climate change in return, following a cyclic pattern.  Considering this, they need to be addressed as soon as possible in poverty-reduction strategies through an adaptation process, aiming at merely preparing population to face these inevitable effects.

Why are LDCS particularly vulnerable to climate change?

Three factors are making LDCs particularly vulnerable to climate change, namely:

  • Their low adaptive capacity:

This factor is the result of various parameters including the poor and/or lack of infrastructures (in terms of housing, energy, health and emergency), low human capital (in terms of education and personal security), low technological development and low institutional and social capital (in terms of governance and decision-making).

  • Their high exposure :

Africa, Asia and Small Island States are particularly hit by climate change because mainly located in the tropical areas of the world which are subject to intense climatic activity (drought, flood, heat, hurricanes, monsoon, El Niño…). High mountain regions depending on glaciers are also particularly vulnerable to climate change as their balance is tightly linked to hydrological cycles, atmospheric dynamics and thermal characteristics.

  • Their high sensitivity:

Climate change-induced events are generally directly felt by LDCs population with immediate consequences in terms of victims, damages and costs determined by the two previous factors.

What is the link between MDGs and climate change?

Climate change directly affects four key components of poverty-reduction strategies, namely: water, food, energy and human securities which compose the basis of Millennium Development Goals or at least play a role in their respective achievements. Water security is a perfect example of climate change multi-sectoral nature. Although it is targeted by MDG#7 (drinking water and sanitation), it plays a prominent role in the achievement of:

  • MDG1 (end poverty and hunger): irrigation and food production are directly dependant on water quantity, quality and availability;
  • MDG2 (universal education) and MDG3 (promote gender equality and empower women): water chores are mostly borne by children and women, preventing them from going to school or attend other activities (paid-job, community implication). With increased water stress, women and children are likely to be required to spend even more time to fetch water because of further or deeper water sources;
  • MDG 4, 5 (child and maternal health) and 6(combat diseases): access to water in sufficient quantity and of good quality is a primordial health factor, including in terms of prevention and hygiene;
  • MDG9 (infrastructures): basic infrastructures like hospitals and schools are highly dependent on water accessibility to function correctly.

Therefore, a holistic approach should be set as a priority in poverty-reduction strategies by not only considering climate change in the perspective of environmental sustainability, embodied by MDG7, but by making a mainstream implementation at all MDGs levels to enable the emergence of effective adaptation and sustainable development.

Written by:

Maeva Johanna Charles
(MDG #7 Team Leader; Environment & French Translation)


A geographic information system (GIS) is a collection of interacting and interdependent geographic components used to describe the earth. It integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

The Millennium Earth project is a GIS intended to educate and engage individuals while challenging them to envision a world of equality. Mirroring the technology we utilize, our organization consists of interdependent members interacting from around the world to change the current development dynamic and share the responsibility of meeting the Millennium development goals.

How does our GIS tie into this?

Geography is a lens, revealing the “who, what when, why, and how” of “where.” Our GIS attaches the “who, what, and when” to the “where” and allows us to ask “why and how.” Until recently this lens has been unable to truly focus on what was happening on the ground and display it in a profound way.

The Millennium Earth Project embraces new technologies and finds innovative ways to implement them in order to bring our focus, our data, to the ground. We utilize the top down data that organizations have been collecting for years in concert with our ground level data to fill in the spatial gaps of global development statistics with the sights, sounds, and stories which collectively compose the narrative of life. The elements of this narrative will provide a better understanding of how we can address the Millennium Development Goals with culturally sensitive analysis and truly create a world of equality that can be embraced by all.

I encourage you to take our hand and join us in building equality from the ground up.

By Scott Allen
GIS Specialist, Project Manager


My Trip to Haiti began when I won a roundtrip ticket at the Haiti Consulate’s Cultural Event last June 5th 2011.  The universe knew I wanted and needed to visit Haiti and so it said: “Etta here is your ticket!”

When I landed in Haiti April 12th, having grown up in Jamaica, it felt like home. I knew I was in the only Least Developed Country  (LDC)  in the Caribbean region as designated by the United Nations, and I understood why. Having studied West Indian culture, I knew of Haiti’s unfortunate political and economic history I had also seen on television and heard on the news of the terrible devastation of the earthquake of January 12, 2010.  So I was not shocked by the state of the country.  What the trip did was to give legitimacy to the work of ICGC and our Millennium Earth Project.  It confirmed for me why the work we are doing to help Haiti build a visual and virtual solution to the issues faced by this great country is absolutely necessary.  And, that this could be a first step in the complete development of Haiti as the Haitian government and people had for themselves.  I said to myself after being there for 30 minutes: “These people deserve much, much better than this and this state of living cannot be allowed to continue.”

It might sound like a contradiction to say I had a wonderful time on my 8 day visit to Haiti, but I did!  I made all the connections vital to the work we are doing and others I never anticipated.

I had the privilege of being escorted from one end of Port-au-Prince and Petionville to the other by a native of Haiti who had lived in Port-au-Prince for many years but now living in Jacmel.  This allowed me to see the city through his eyes.  I was not prepared or expecting the degree of the devastation of Port-au-Prince.  The conclusion I arrived at after that tour was that the city should be completely leveled and a brand new city rise out of the rubble of the earthquake.  Like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, giving birth a new and transformed city and country, Haiti will and must rise!. This is a country which is truly representative of the strength, spirit and grace of the wonderful people of that great land!

My trip was truly magical, I saw how all the events unfolded effortlessly.  Though not planned, I was invited to attend a Planning Symposium presented by the State University of Haiti, the University of Montreal and the Institute of Research and Development from Marseille, France.  The conference was held at the Karibe Conference Centre in Pettionville, April 16th.  There I got to see the awesome plans for the development of Port-au-Prince developed by CHRAD a Haitian Architectural, Research and Engineering firm who was commissioned by the Mayor of the city to develop the plans. There are other plans but these plans seem to give a very nice airy island feel to the vision for a new P-A-P.

I also had the privilege of visiting Cap Haitian, capital of the Grand NORD the area of our first virtual development work.  My visit was facilitated by Mr. Stanley HILAIRE from the Department of Planification for NORD.  My first meeting was with the Dean of the Law, Economics and Management Faculty at the State University of Haiti, Mr.  Jusnerd Nelson.  He enlightened us of the financial and other resource needs of the school and the innovativeness of the students in raising the funds needed to expand the space needed for labs and a library.  I had the pleasure of meeting with a team of young engineers in the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication who educated us on the extensive plans for the comprehensive development of the Water and Sanitation and Waste system to include all the rural areas and improvement of the structures in the city.

I subsequently had the privilege of meeting the Director of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Interior and his assistant who explained that there is a lot of thinking taking place regarding the comprehensive re-development of Port-au-Prince, which requires fundamental changes.  This was a very good meeting and the promise to connect us with the others ministries for collecting the data we need was promised.

The last meeting of the trip was the re-attendance of the Planning Conference at the Karibe Conference Center where I had the opportunity to have Elisabeth Coicou of GroupeTrame and consultant to CHRAD explain the plans, though in French which I could not quite understand she worked to develop as commissioned by the Mayor of Port-au-Prince.  There are some communications that transcend language and this was one of them.  They have since addressed a concern that it does not address the whole region which it does.

I left P-A-P with a vision of the transformation of Port-au-Prince which these fantastic plans displayed and which I will hold in vision for the renewing of P-A-P and the heralding of the whole new country of Haiti.

Here are some of the plans:!/media/set/?set=a.183275725074383.44323.183267735075182&type=1

It is my strong sense that Haiti’s time has come.   As one of the first black countries to gain independence from colonization, but was maligned by so many forces both external and internal for over two centuries, we as a human family have an obligation to do whatever we can to see this country enjoy the freedom it fought for and so richly deserves!

Your help is greatly appreciated!


ICGC is having their second fundraiser on June 21 2012, from 6-9, at The Vault at Pfaff’s . It will be a great networking opportunity for all who attend! Be sure to purchase tickets, here. There will also be an auction/raffle, and all proceeds will go towards helping us get our Esri GIS mapping software!

Stay tuned for updates and other announcements regarding the event on Facebook & Twitter. We hope you are as excited as we are! So save the date, and we’ll see you there!


How ICGC Started

Growing up in a political family, from early on I was always politically and civically conscious. Everyone in our family learned that he/she had a responsibility and obligation to help those less fortunate.  Coming from a British Commonwealth country, I understood the geographical, political and social happenings of the day as well as an awareness of peoples of other countries.

All my life I have kept abreast of social and political events both locally and internationally.  After my daughter graduated college, I shifted my focus to doing something about the problem of poverty for which there seems to be no organized plan to address in any realistic way.  It appeared that governments and international bodies accepted the idea that some people were going to be poor and some rich and that is how life was going to be.  Well, I do not believe that!!!  I feel that all of us on this planet are here playing out different roles and that those roles are essential to the development of the individual as a soul and by extension to the whole human family.

The amount of money one has does not determine who is wealthy or poor.  What makes one poor is not realizing the inter-connection and relationship of all of us to each other and our obligation and responsibility to each other, and to all life in all the kingdoms.  Not knowing that our destinies are tied together.  That poverty is to live in excess while your brother and sister struggle to stay alive…that to me is poverty!

So, in that respect, many of those with minimum material possessions have a lot to teach those who are society defined as rich.  The wise of all ages have all known that it is consciousness in the end that truly determines true power, true wealth and true leadership.

Thirteen years ago around the beginning of the millennium, I began to think seriously about how I could make a difference in fundamentally and permanently changing the way humanity lives on this planet and in October of 2006 I was inspired to sit at the computer and concretize the ideas for making this change.  It was during this time that I wrote down the concept of a visual plan that would begin a different discussion about the quality of life that ALL deserve to live. That we should not be content to sit by and watch one disaster after the other happen while accepting that there is nothing that can be done in a comprehensive, holistic and sustainable way.

Growing up in Jamaica all school children were taught and had embedded in their minds the statement: “The word can’t is written in the dictionary of fools”…and that there was no such thing.  All one has to do is to figure out how to make anything he wants happen.

Knowing this was a daunting effort, after writing the proposal for The Millennium Earth Project: A visual Framework for Sustainable development, I put my hands to the sky and voiced: “All who are to help me make this a reality please come forward!!!”  And, they have come! Thank you to all who have been a part of this adventure so far and to all who will come.

In the beginning the sub-title of the proposal was “The Global Marshall Plan”; the Plan that was developed to rebuild Europe after the Second World War.

I wrote up and filed the Articles of Incorporation with the State of New York and on July 12, 2007, The Institute for Conscious Global Change was born.  We applied and later were granted the 501(c)(3)tax-exempt status in 2010.  We were entered into the database of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) October 2010.

I knew ICGC did not have the funds to fundamentally change the lives of the peoples in these 49 LDCs and 54 DCs but I knew we now had the technology— the Web, Internet, GIS, Cloud, etc., etc. that can virtually present tangible solutions to the problems facing over 2.4 Billion people on the planet.

In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets,—with a deadline of 2015.

Thus the Millennium Development Goals with their targets were established.

Building on the concept embedded in the UN Charter of 1946 for the involvement of Civil Society in the work of the United Nations, ICGC decided to align its vision for the comprehensive virtual development of the Least Developed Countries and Developing Countries.  We would use the MDGs as the lens through which to develop these countries.

To facilitate our work with the UN, ICGC applied for and was granted Special Consultative Status by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the 2012 January Session.

We realized that we could employ a technology called GIS (Geographic Information Systems), which is used in Google Earth Mapping, to pinpoint all the issues outlined in the eight Millennium Goals (MDGs) and display them both quantitatively and qualitatively with maps. By offering this “Visual Solution” to the MDGs, we plan to make our contribution. We will display the needs of each country – infrastructural, agricultural, medical, educational, economic, environmental, and developmental – highlighting the problems in one main center so the solutions can be more easily sought and served.

Our first initiative is to create virtual-yet-tangible solutions to the issues facing three selected countries – one from each of the three regions where the 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) exist: Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. The breakdown of countries per region is as follows: 14 in Asia, 34 in Africa, and one in the Caribbean. Afghanistan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haiti, are the three countries selected for this first phase of our work.

We have designed The Virtual Development Plan to serve as a call to action – by providing comprehensive and detailed information about each country – with the collective goal of moving all 49 countries from LDC status to Developed Country status.

Please join us in our efforts to raise the quality of life for those most in need.

ICGC is on track to complete the three prototypes of Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan by September 2012.  You can help us make this a reality by becoming a volunteer or intern and also with your financial contributions.

Visit us and keep track of our development work at: and

Together we can create a different and better world!!!

Etta D. Jackson, Founder/CEO