MGD Study Guide
DepartmentSchool of Environment
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
Plan of your report
The entire report should be 7-8 pages text per person (e.g., maximum 2500 words per person). Therefore a 3-
person group would submit a 21-24 page report. The report should be 1.5 spaced, 12 point type, margins 1.5
cm around. Figures and tables are in addition to the 7-8 page limit. Please save paper by excluding a title
page and table of contents.
This is a project report written in a crisp (dry?) scientific style, not as an essay. Please use headings and
subheadings to organize the report. Use Harvard style for referencing (e.g., Bubblehead et al. (2011) found
that ….. ).
1. Introduction. Describe the selected MDG and target in the first 1-2 paragraphs. Answer the question – what
is the goal and target and why should we care if we achieve it? Briefly convince your reader that this is a
The last paragraph must contain the goal of your project report and the plan of report. To be clear, this
paragraph articulates the goal of your report (not the project). You will have already stated the MDG you are
addressing in the previous paragraphs.
2. MDG and Target.
2.1 Describe the MDG and target in greater detail than in the Introduction. This description includes the
scientific, technological and policy dimensions.
2.2 Describe the location chosen and justify your choice.
2.3 Provide the scientific, technical and policy background to the issue in relation to the location selected.
Precisely describe the target as it pertains to your location, i.e., specific targets for your project.
You can cite previous projects or studies.
3. Project Plan Options. Outline 3 options for achieving your target. You may preface the options by describing
the general approach you have decided to take (3.1 Approach, 3.2 Options, 3.2.1 Option 1, etc). Finally,
introduce your preferred option and the rationale for the choice. What were the criteria you used for the
choice? (3.3 Choice of preferred option).
4. Project Plan for Preferred Option.
4.1 Describe your preferred option – scientific and technical (4.1.1, 4.1.2), and policy details (4.1.3). Outline
your stage-by-stage plan for implementation (4.2, 4.2.1 First stage, 4.2.2 Second stage, etc.). What resources are
necessary to implement each stage (people, budget if possible)? Are the human resources and infrastructure
available for implementation? How will you evaluate whether you have achieved your target? Ensure that
you are consistent with Section 2.3 in which you present the specific target for your project.
5. Milestones and Timeline. Milestones are put in place in order to assess progress towards completing a project.
Milestones could be completion of construction, training of people, etc. What is the timeline for each milestone
and the project as a whole? You can present a Ghent chart or another visual presentation of the timeline.
6. Contingency Plans. Outline vulnerabilities or weakness in your project that could delay the timeline and/or
present obstacles for meeting your target. Suggest some options that you might employ as contingencies to
improve your chances of meeting your target should problems arise.
7. References. Use author-date style in the alphabetical listing of information consulted. All website require
that date that you accessed the site.