University of Toronto
Department of Geography & Centre for the Environment
ENV 236Y Human Interactions with the Environment
Assignment 2: Solutions – A project plan to promote a UN Millennium Goal
Discussion: Wednesday January 19 in class
Due: Wednesday February 16, 2011, 2pm in class
Late Assignments: drop off box, 45 St. George St., main floor
Late Penalty: Late Penalty: A lowering of the grade by one increment per day, unless accompanied by a note
from a physician, police or registrar, e.g., from B+ to B for 1 day late, B+ to B- for 2 days late.
The United Nations have committed to eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)1
to eradicate extreme
poverty by 2015 in the areas of income, hunger, disease control, education and environmental sustainability.
Jeffrey Sachs writes at length in “Common Wealth” about the UN’s MDGs and the imperative of working to
achieve them by the 2015 target date.
The goal of this assignment is for you to use science and policy knowledge to develop a modest and targeted
project that will bring us towards achieving one MDG (actually, one target under the eight main goals). To
constrain the task, you will choose one location and have a time line out to 2015 – only 4 years! An excellent
project design will be feasible, have a high likelihood of achieving immediate results, and be sustainable in the
long term, i.e., beyond the four year funding horizon.
In groups of 2-4 people, you will develop the project as if you are employees of the Bill and Melinda Gates
. As employees you have access to necessary financial and human resources. Thus, assume that
you will have the money required to accomplish your plan and you will have contacts in your chosen location
that will assist “on the ground”.
An example of a MDG is “Environmental Sustainability” and Target 7.C is “Halve, by 2015, the proportion of
the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”. One of the programs of
the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the provision of basic sanitation to those who are without.
The following is a step-by-step guide for accomplishing this assignment.
1. Choose one MDG and one target.
2. Research the scientific basis of the problem that has lead to formulating the MDG and target.
3. Choose one location at which to implement your project, i.e., city, region. Why did you choose this
location? What are the characteristics of the location (biophysical, natural resources, human population, etc.)?
4. Research three options for meeting the target and choose a preferred option. Explain each option and
justify your choice of the preferred option.
5. Provide technical and policy details for implementing the preferred option.
6. Described how you will evaluate the success of the program towards achieving the target. This will include
milestones for success and a time line starting in January 2011 and ending in December 2015.
7. “The best laid plans of mice and men….”. Identify weaknesses that could jeopardize contingency plans for