Carmen Garrigós coordinates a UNICEF program to wipe out polio in Afghanistan; the Methodist reverend Paul Verryn takes in more than a thousand people without resources in his South African parish; Alicia Amarilla fights for the rights of land workers and indigenous communities in Paraguay; Ousmane Keita, a youngster from Ivory Coast, dreams of getting to Italy; farmers in Tanzania check the prices of their products via cellphones… These are the faces of a multi-faceted and unequal planet, which is stumbling toward the universal finish line of 2015, the date set by the United Nations to achieve the so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They consist of eight major proposals that are considered to be reachable within the scope of 15 years: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality and empower women; to reduce child mortality rates; to improve maternal health; to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability; and to develop a global partnership for development.
Planeta Futuro, a project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is aimed at bolstering the coverage in EL PAÍS of issues relating to sustainable human development, and helping to enrich the political and social debate regarding these challenges. The Foundation has similar agreements with other international organizations, such as the British daily The Guardian and the US TV network NBC.
The project is born at a time when the financial crisis and the world economy are threatening to sideline the ambitions of the MDGs and postpone the establishment of new global sustainability goals. As Professor Jeffrey Sachs points out in the first opinion column that will feature in this new section, the (future) Sustainable Development Goals will have to deal with “global challenges in sectors such as energy, food, climate and employment.”
EL PAÍS is a global newspaper, both in terms of its organizational structure and the way in which it approaches its mission to inform its readers. And Planeta Futuro is being launched with this global ambition, relying on the contributions of dozens of journalists based around the world, including Josep Stiglitz, Michael Spence, Moisés Naím, Kemal Dervis, Leila Guerriero, Ricardo Hausmann, Andrés Velasco, Ignacio Torreblanca, Javier Solana, Adela Cortina, Ana Palacio, Iall Fergusson, Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Joschka Fischer, Enrique Krauze and Sami Nair, as well as the aforementioned Sachs.
The new section will be headed up by Lola Huete Machado, a journalist with an extensive career spent covering issues such as development and human rights, as well as being the creator and coordinator of the blog África no es un País (Africa is not a country). Planeta Futuro will integrate this and other well-known blogs, such as 3.500 Millones, which is coordinated by Gonzalo Fanjul (+Social) and Lucila Rodríguez-Alarcón (Intermón Oxfam); Mujeres (Women), headed up by journalists Ricardo de Querol and Ana Alfageme; and Alterconsumismo, another collective blog that is headed up by journalist Anna Argemí. The birth of this new portal coincides with the launch of Migrados, a blog that will offer a portrayal of Spain “in the eyes of those who have arrived here”: the Syrian archeologist Shivan Khalil; the graphic designer of Chinese origin Quan Zhou Wu; the Colombian educational psychologist Mercedes Rodríguez; and the Ghanaian writer John Ekow – all of whom will be coordinated by journalist Lola Hierro. Also being launched today is Paz, en Construcción (Peace, under construction), coordinated by Jordi Armadans, the director of FundiPau, which will count with the collaboration of Federico Mayor Zaragoza, the former general director of Unesco and president of the Fundación para una Cultura de la Paz; Jordi Calvo, researcher at the Centro de Estudios por la Paz JM Delás, and Josep Maria Royo Aspa, from the Escuela de Cultura de Paz.
A multitude of voices and views will occupy a space that combines the best journalism with the analysis of a large network of experts. We asked them to share their vision of how to deal with human development from a range of areas, including economy, health, education, human rights and gender policies. Among these are the Belgian researcher Jan Vandemoortele, considered to be one of the architects of the MDGs; Josefina Maestu, the coordinator of UN-Water; Rafael Vilasanjuan, director of ISGlobal’s think tank; Gonzalo Fanjul, researcher and cofounder of @massocialorg and @porcausaorg; Amalia Navarro, coordinator of the United Nations Millennium Campaign for Spain and Latin America; Isabel Garrido, director of the department of Democracy and Human Rights at the Institute of Latin American Studies; Pablo Gentili, executive secretary of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences; Josefina Bueno, professor at the University of Alicante specializing in gender theory; Chema Caballero, expert in poverty and child soldiers; Javier Martos, executive director of UNICEF Spain; Esteban Beltrán, director of the Spanish section of Amnesty International; Consuelo López-Zuriaga, head of Advocacy at Oxfam Intermon; Concha López, general director of Plan International Spain; and Jose Antonio Alonso, professor of Applied Economics at the Complutense University, among others.
We also incorporate a selection of noteworthy stories in Planeta Futuro from national and international media, and two large sections with constantly updated stories from major organizations: the latest news and job offers, sourced directly from websites within the NGO and development sectors.