Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization

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Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/1

Flag of the United Nations

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established in December 1992 by General Assembly Resolution A/RES/47/191 as a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council, implementing a recommendation in Chapter 38 of Agenda 21, the landmark global agreement reached at the June 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment & Development / Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro.

CSD 1, the Organizational Session of the CSD was held in June 1993. The Organizational Session focused on a broad range of organizational and administrative issues, reflected in topics of the Commission's documents: budget implications of draft decisions; establishing a provisional agenda & a multi-year programme of work; national reporting on implementation of Agenda 21; information exchange - UN system & donors; UNCED follow up - international organizations & UN coordination; coordination of development data; progress in environmentally sound technology transfer; initial financial commitments & flows; government information on financial commitments; urgent & major emergent issues; UNCTAD & Agenda 21 implementation; UNEP & Agenda 21 implementation; issues relating to future work of CSD; guidelines for national reporting; multi-year programme of work; financial commitments & financial flows; and integrating sustainable development in the UN System.

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/2

Grameen Bank Building in Dhaka.

The Grameen Bank (Bangla: গ্রামীণ ব্যাংক) is a microfinance organization and community development bank started in Bangladesh that makes small loans (known as microcredit) to the impoverished without requiring collateral. The system is based on the idea that the poor have skills that are under-utilized. The bank also accepts deposits, provides other services, and runs several development-oriented businesses including fabric, telephone and energy companies. The organization and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

Muhammad Yunus, the bank's founder, earned a doctorate in economics from Vanderbilt University in the United States. He was inspired during the terrible Bangladesh famine of 1974 to make a small loan of $27 to a group of 42 families so that they could create small items for sale without the burdens of predatory lending. Yunus believed that making such loans available to a wide population could ameliorate the rampant rural poverty in Bangladesh.

The Grameen Bank (literally, "Bank of the Villages", in Bangla) is the outgrowth of Muhammad Yunus' ideas. The bank began as a research project by Yunus and the Rural Economics Project at Bangladesh's University of Chittagong to test his method for providing credit and banking services to the rural poor.

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/3 The Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International) is a non-profit, microfinance organization, founded by John Hatch in 1984. Sometimes referred to as the "World Bank for the Poor" and a "poverty vaccine for the planet," FINCA is the innovator of the village banking methodology in microcredit and is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of modern day microfinance. With its headquarters in Washington, DC, FINCA has 21 affiliated host-country institutions (affiliates), in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Along with Grameen Bank and Accion International, FINCA is considered to be one of the most influential microfinance organizations in the world.

Pioneered by FINCA, village banking is arguably the world’s most widely-imitated microfinance methodology. A village bank is an informal self-help support group of 20-30 members, predominantly female heads-of-household. Among US-based non-profit agencies alone there are at least 31 microfinance institutions (MFIs) that have collectively created over 400 village banking programs in at least 90 countries. And in many of these countries there are host-country MFIs—sometimes dozens—that are village banking practitioners as well.

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/4

The world.

The World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five international organizations responsible for providing finance and advice to countries for the purposes of economic development and eliminating poverty. The Bank came into formal existence on 27 December 1945 following international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference (1 July - 22 July 1944). Commencing operations on 25 June 1946, it approved its first loan on 9 May 1947 ($250m to France for postwar reconstruction, in real terms the largest loan issued by the Bank to date). Its five agencies are: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); International Finance Corporation (IFC); International Development Association (IDA); Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The term "World Bank" generally refers to the IBRD and IDA, whereas the World Bank Group is used to refer to the institutions collectively.

The World Bank's (i.e. the IBRD and IDA's) activities are focused on developing countries, in fields such as human development (e.g. education, health), agriculture and rural development (e.g. irrigation, rural services), environmental protection (e.g. pollution reduction, establishing and enforcing regulations), infrastructure (e.g. roads, urban regeneration, electricity), and governance (e.g. anti-corruption, legal institutions development).

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/5

An eco-house at Findhorn with turf roof and solar panels.

Findhorn Ecovillage is based at The Park, in Moray, Scotland near the village of Findhorn. The project's main aim is to demonstrate a sustainable development in environmental, social, and economic terms. Work began in the early 1980s under the auspices of the Findhorn Foundation but now includes a wide diversity of organisations and activities. Numerous different ecological techniques are in use, and the project has won a variety of awards, including the UN-Habitat Best Practice Designation in 1998. A recent independent study concludes that the residents have the lowest ecological footprint of any community measured so far in the industrialised world. Although the project has attracted some controversy, especially regarding the spiritual origins of the community, the growing profile of environmental issues such as climate change has led to a degree of mainstream acceptance of its ecological ethos.

The October 1982 Conference ‘Building a Planetary Village’ hosted by the Findhorn Foundation marked the beginning of serious attempts by the intentional community, which had existed at Findhorn since 1962 to demonstrate a human settlement that could be considered sustainable in environmental, social, and economic terms. The term, ecovillage, later came to be used to describe such experiments.

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/6

Flag of the United Nations

The Millennium Project is an initiative that focuses on research implementing the organizational means, operational priorities, and financing structures necessary to achieve the Millennium Development Goals or (MDGs). The goals are aimed at the reduction of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 world leaders initiated the development of MDGs and had set a completion date for the project of June 2005.

In order to support the MDGs, both UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Mark Malloch Brown, have launched the Millennium Project to determine the best strategies for achieving the MDGs. The Project is headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs. The Millennium Project worked from 2002-2005 to devise a recommended plan of implementation that will allow all developing countries to meet the MDGs and thereby substantially improve the human condition by 2015. The Millennium Project presented its final recommendations, "Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals," to the Secretary-General in January 2005. One highlight of the event was the group photo of the great majority of the then-current leaders of the U.N. member nations, taken by photographer Terry Deglau of Eastman Kodak.

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/7

Flag of the United Nations

The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), known by the name of its Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, was convened by the United Nations in 1983. The commission was created to address growing concern "about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development." In establishing the commission, the UN General Assembly recognized that environmental problems were global in nature and determined that it was in the common interest of all nations to establish policies for sustainable development.

The Brundtland Commission was recognized for developing the broad political concept of sustainable development and published its report Our Common Future in April 1987. The Brundtland Commission provided the momentum for the 1992 Earth Summit / UNCED and for Agenda 21.

The 1983 the General Assembly passed Resolution — "Process of preparation of the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond" — establishing the Commission.

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/8

Flag of the United Nations

The UN Environment Programme (or UNEP) coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and encourages sustainable development through sound environmental practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in December 1972 and is headquartered in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya. UNEP also has six regional offices and various country offices.

Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. It has played a significant role in developing international environmental conventions, promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can work in conjunction with policy, working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments and regional institution and working in conjunction with environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

UNEP has been active in funding and implementing environmentally related development projects. UNEP has aided in the development of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways.

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/9

Kiva partners around the world.

Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through loans for the sake of alleviating global poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help fund small businesses run by low-income entrepreneurs around the world.

Loans made on Kiva.org provide 0% interest to lenders. Kiva itself charges no interest from the borrower. Borrowers are charged some interest by the respective microfinance institution handling the individual loan. Kiva.org keeps track of how much interest is charged and will not work with those charging unfair or exorbitant interest rates. Kiva borrowers have a historical repayment rate of 100%. Kiva is working with regulators to allow microfinance institutions to offer variable interest rates to lenders.

Kiva enables microfinance institutions around the world to post profiles of qualified local entrepreneurs online. Lenders consist of any individual with a credit card. Lenders browse and choose an entrepreneur they wish to fund. Kiva aggregates loan capital from individual lenders and transfers it to microfinance partners, called "Field Partners", to disburse and administer. As loan repayments are made by the entrepreneur, the Field Partners remits funds back to Kiva. Once the loan is fully repaid, Kiva lenders can withdraw their principal or re-loan it to another entrepreneur.

Portal:Sustainable development/Selected organization/10

A composed satellite photograph of Africa in orthographic projection.

The African Development Bank (ADB) is a development bank established in 1964 with the intention of promoting economic and social development in Africa. It is a conglomeration of the African Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Fund (ADF), and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). It has placed an emphasis over the years on the role of women, education and structural reforms, and lent its support to key initiatives such as debt alleviation for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC's) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). It currently has 77 members: 53 countries in Africa and 24 American, European, and Asian countries.

The ADB has four principal functions. The first is to make loans and equity investments for the economic and social advancement of the RMCs. Second, it is to provide technical assistance for the preparation and execution of development projects and programs. Third, the ADB is to promote investment of public and private capital for development purposes. Lastly, the ADB is to assist in coordinating development policies and plans of RMCs. The ADB is also required to give special attention to national and multinational projects and programs which promote regional integration.

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