This is our regular round up of stories of progress from around the world. If you'd like to join the 50,000 people who get this in their inbox every week, you can subscribe for free below.
The Progress Report
Since October 2021, seven sub-Saharan African countries have implemented legal changes that have had a profound impact on women's economic participation. Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon have led the way, with the elimination of all restrictions on women's employment, legislation on gender-based discrimination in financial services and domestic violence, and mandates for equal remuneration. World Bank
In the past three years, 30 countries—including some of the world's biggest like Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nigeria—have introduced the HPV vaccine, and global coverage for all girls has increased to 21%, exceeding pre-pandemic levels for the first time. At this rate, we are on track to have HPV vaccines available for girls in all areas of the world by the end of this decade. WHO
Australia is making progress on domestic violence. Intimate partner homicide has declined 38% since 2016, the rate of partner violence has decreased by over 50%, the rate of cohabiting partner violence over the past two years has either decreased or not changed in all states, and rates of sexual harassment have reached their lowest levels ever in every state and territory. The Conversation
Rwanda is on track to become the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate malaria. In 2016, the country saw 17,941 cases of severe malaria, but in 2022-23, that number had fallen to 1,316, a decline of 85%, and only 51 deaths have been recorded this year. 'According to our latest data, we are on the right path towards eradicating malaria.' All Africa
Rajasthan, India, home to 80 million people, just kicked off what might be the largest basic income scheme in the world, providing 125 days guaranteed work for all and a minimum social security pension of ₹1,000 per month. This comes off the back of five years of incredible social progress. Between 2016 and 2021:
- Neonatal mortality rate decreased from 29.8 to 20.2 per 1,000 births
- Infant mortality rate declined from 41.3 to 30.3 per 1,000 births
- Supervised births in a medical facility increased from 84% to 94.9%
- Immunisation for children 12-23 months up from 54.8% to 80.4%
- Maternal mortality rate down from 141 to 113 per 100,000 live births
- Primary school enrolment up from 4.17 million to 4.65 million
Malaysia has made significant progress on poverty reduction this year. There are 102,888 people living in 'hardcore poverty,' down from 126,556 a year ago, and the government is working on further reducing these figures through targeted aid, including cash transfers, distribution of basic goods, subsidies for farmers and smallholders, and repairs to rural infrastructure. Free Malaysia
After extreme floods put a third of Pakistan under water in 2022, architect Yasmeen Lari vowed to build one million flood-resilient homes. Her foundation just revealed it is a third of the way towards that target and on track to build all one million by 2024 (thanks to subscriber Matthew Miller for this one). Dezeen
Happy World Toilet Day! (It was on Monday.) Did you know that in the 21st century, the number of people who practice open defecation has declined by more than two thirds, from 1.3 billion people in 2000 to 420 million in 2022? Only 5% of the global population are still defecating in fields, forests, bodies of water, or other open spaces. World Bank
As families in the United States prepare to gather for Thanksgiving next week, food prices have flatlined for months, gasoline prices are about 10% lower than they were a year ago, and wholesale prices in October fell by 0.5%, their biggest monthly drop since April 2020. Reuters
Economist Justin Wolfers says this should be called the Mary Poppins economy: inflation is receding, unemployment remains near fifty-year lows, real wages are now above pre-pandemic levels, growth remains robust, and 38% of the rise in inequality between 1979 and 2019 has now been reversed.
A new study in The Lancet has shown that between 2005 and 2020, annual global deaths attributable to air particulate matter from fossil fuels fell from 1,437,000 to 1,212,000, a 15.7% reduction. 'By reducing emissions linked to coal, we also saved more than 200,000 lives each year, because we have reduced air pollution.' El País
Yes, actions speak louder than words, and foreign policy isn't just about speeches—but this is a significant detente between the world's two most powerful countries, and a welcome break from the sabre-rattling of the last few years. Instead of reading a journalist's take on this, how about actually listening to what gets said?
Give a Damn Tuesday
Instead of participating in the Black Friday frenzy this week, we're supporting GivingTuesday. This is an initiative that started in 2012 with the simple idea of encouraging people to do good. It has now developed into a global movement in over 100 countries, inspiring businesses and communities to celebrate generosity.
Future Crunch is offering 40% off all our merchandise with all profits donated directly to one of our charity partners, Miracle Feet, an amazing organisation on a mission to create universal access for treatment of clubfoot, one of leading causes of physical disability in the world. They use simple, low cost treatments to give kids the extraordinary gift of lifelong mobility, independence, and opportunity.
Please use the code GIVINGTUESDAY at checkout.
The Great Turning
The island nation of Dominica in the Caribbean will create the world’s first sperm whale reserve, spanning almost 800 km2 off the island’s west coast. Commercial fishing and large ships will be banned from the area that is a key nursing and feeding ground for around 200 of the endangered mammals. BBC
Their ancestors likely inhabited Dominica before humans arrived. We want to ensure these majestic and highly intelligent animals are safe from harm and continue keeping our waters and our climate healthy.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit
American voters have supported five significant conservation measures in four states in the November elections, resulting in $1.2 billion in conservation and park funding. The victory represents “a collective effort to safeguard natural areas, protect wildlife habitat, mitigate wildfire risks, enhance park access, and invest in climate resilience.” TPL
This includes Texas, where 76% of voters supported a $1 billion fund for state parks, the largest investment in nature in the state’s history. Dozens of new parks will be created, protecting critical water resources and wildlife habitat. Also, a legal victory for wildlife corridors in California will uphold a program to protect connectivity between key habitat areas from development.
Over 80 million people across India cleaned up 90,0000 sites on the 1st of October. Rubbish was cleaned from streets, highways, railway tracks and stations, health institutions, beaches, tourist locations, water bodies, places of worship, slums, market areas, airports and zoos and wildlife areas. Indian Express
A large-scale project to clean up waste from Russia’s Arctic territory has collected almost 6,000 tonnes of scrap metal since 2021, and Seven Clean Seas, a UK-based environmental organisation, has removed a staggering 2,206,079 kilograms of plastic waste from the world's oceans - the equivalent of 184 double decker busses.
City parks departments and non-profits across the U.S. are providing training for volunteers to plant, prune, and care for street trees. Thousands of volunteers are working to make a significant contribution to urban tree maintenance, reporting it as a ‘labour of love.’ Washington Post
It’s hard to save the rainforest, but you can save your community, which is part of your city and part of your world.
Mindy Maslin, Germantown Interfaith Power and Light Tree Tenders
The EU's recent microplastics ban gives manufacturers a grace period to develop new designs, but many companies have been working on natural alternatives for years: cosmetic giants like LUSH and The Body Shop have long used ground nuts, bamboo, and sea salt in their products, and in Germany, hundreds of artificial turf pitches have already been filled in with cork and sand. RTBC
After a 53 year pause, a green megaproject in Algeria has been relaunched to reforest one million hectares of steppe between the wilayas of El Naâma and Tébessa. The project is intended to help combat desertification and improve the living conditions of over 7 million people. Afrik21
Inspired by initiatives in Barcelona and London, the 'Bike Bus' movement has gone global with new cities like Cape Town, New York and Florida jumping on board the trend. In August, Oregon legislated the Bike Bus Bill to help schools employ crossing guards or adults to lead walking school buses or bike buses. Distilled
The EU has become the first international body to criminalise wide-scale environmental damage “comparable to ecocide”. The revised law targets the most serious cases of ecosystem destruction, including habitat loss, illegal logging, water abstraction and pollution. Perpetrators will face tougher penalties, ranging from prison sentences to company exclusions from public funds. Guardian
The Tanka Fund, a native led non-profit in South Dakota have joined forces with the Nature Conservancy to restore more than 700 bison to Indigenous lands across America, and a vaccination program is helping protect California condors from bird flu during fall migration season. Six vaccinated birds have already been released.
Canada will ban its domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn and the import of hunting trophies containing these parts. The landmark measures are thanks to a seven year campaign by activists, who are working to help combat the $20 billion illegal wildlife trade. World Animal News
A historic victory for animal rights in South Korea, with the government banning the dog meat industry by 2027. It follows public and political momentum to end the dog meat trade that kills up to one million dogs per year for human consumption. World Animal News
A program in California has begun restoring redwood forests, only 5% of which have never been logged. Old-growth redwoods store more aboveground carbon than any forest on earth and take hundreds of years to grow. “In an era when short-term thinking threatens the very liveability of our planet, it's extraordinary that people are investing careers and great sums of money in these projects.” BBC
That's it for this week, thanks for reading! We'll see you in our next edition.
Gus and Amy