A big week for our oceans

From the world’s tropical seas to the icy waters of the Arctic, and from the great salmon runs of the Pacific coast of North America to the rich waters of the Humboldt Current in the southern hemisphere and beyond, the world’s oceans provide people with food, livelihoods and strong cultural traditions. Today, nearly three billion people rely on the oceans for food and income, and that number is growing. Yet for much of our history, we have taken this bounty for granted, assuming the oceans had infinite capacity to absorb pollution and produce fish.

We know better now. Our critical ocean resources are being degraded through overfishing, mismanagement, and pollution.

But the tide is changing. Three events last week illustrate how committed individuals and organizations from government, the private sector, and NGOs are helping our oceans recover so that our growing human population will be able to depend on these resources long into the future.

Curating and Crowdsourcing: Digitizing the Museum Experience through Bloomberg Connects

On March 19, The New York Times Arts division published its annual Museum special section, highlighting the digital work of many leading cultural institutions around the world. In publishing the groundbreaking work of these institutions, they have identified a trend that Bloomberg Philanthropies is already funding and passionate about – using new methods and approaches to engage with the arts.

2015 Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control: Meet the Winning Organizations

Congratulations to the winners of the third Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control. Each organization showed a strong commitment in the fight against this global epidemic, and we’re excited to celebrate their success at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi this week. Each year, nearly 5 million people worldwide – 14,000 per day – are killed by tobacco use, mostly in developing nations. The 2015 winners highlight the incredible progress being made to control tobacco use and show the effectiveness of the MPOWER method, developed by Mike Bloomberg and Margaret Chan in 2008.

Dr. Margaret Chan’s Remarks at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health

The following are the remarks as prepared for delivery of Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi

The Journey to Defeat the Global Tobacco Epidemic

The global tobacco epidemic kills more than six million people each year, mostly in developing countries. If left unchecked, tobacco use will kill more than one billion people this century alone. Through our Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, we aim to reduce the global demand for tobacco through a comprehensive, proven approach that combines policy change with increased public awareness. We’ve partnered with the World Health Organization to create MPOWER, a six-pronged approach to reduce tobacco use and demand. Key strategies of our work and the MPOWER approach that have been successful with our many partners around the world include creating smoke-free public spaces, advertising and sponsorship bans, increasing taxes on tobacco products and requiring graphic pack warnings—just to name a few.

Transforming the Availability of Professional Financial Counseling in America

City agency staff and nonprofit managers from across the country came together in Nashville, Tennessee to kick off the third year of the Financial Empowerment Center replication initiative. Financial Empowerment Centers provide one-on-one financial counseling as a free city service, helping local residents reduce debt, build assets and move towards financial stability.

The model was pioneered in 2008, under the Bloomberg administration in New York City, and then replicated in 2013 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies to five cities (Denver, Lansing, Nashville, Philadelphia, and San Antonio).

The Financial Empowerment Center model began as a simple, yet ambitious idea: people in financial trouble need help, not just education. Financial counseling delivered by highly trained professionals could be successfully scaled into a measurable, high-quality public service. Through the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund’s replication initiative, each of the five initial cities demonstrated that this idea works, even across different geographic contexts and resident needs. The success of the model inspired new waves of city administrators to follow suit.

Police Enforcement: A Critical Component For Changing the Behavior of Road Users

Police officers from Australia, Ireland, Moldova, the United Kingdom and the United States convened at Bloomberg Philanthropies to help us strategize how to work effectively with road police to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries. Eight experts in road policing, as well as Bloomberg Philanthropies’ road safety partners, shared experiences and lessons learned from their time supporting road policing efforts around the globe.

Q and A with Brett Jenks, CEO and President of Rare

In January 2014, we launched the Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative to promote reforms to restore fish populations and help meet the dietary needs of a growing global population. To meet this challenge, we selected three partners with distinct areas of expertise to carry out a comprehensive strategy: Rare to work with local communities and fishers to implement new management strategies; EKO Asset Management Partners to develop investment models where private capital can be used to support local and industrial fishers transitioning to sustainable fishing, and Oceana to reform industrial fishing by advocating for national policies such as setting and enforcing science-based catch-limits. Together, we are working in Brazil, the Philippines and Chile, to revitalize fish populations and demonstrate solutions that can be transferred to other places.

In a new series of blog posts featuring our Vibrant Oceans Initiative partners, we asked Brett Jenks, CEO and President of Rare, to share some of the progress and insights from the initiative.

Improving Care of the Injured in Kenya

Over the past three years, as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety program, the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) has been working in Kenya to address patient care from road crashes. Collaborating with the Ministry of Health, county governments, the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control-Kenya, and local organizations such as the Kenya Council of Emergency Medical Technicians, we have begun to improve post-crash care – on site, en route, and in hospitals. We have trained emergency medical technicians, ambulance drivers, hospital-based care providers including physicians, surgeons and nurses, standardized the training curriculum, collected data to better define the burden of injury and identify gaps in care, and worked on national policies to bring change to patient care in Kenya.

10 Cities Taking Action on Climate

Which cities are leading the way on climate change reporting?

The answer is a little bit clearer thanks to the recent work of CDP and C40—two organizations funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. CDP is the largest global reporting platform for cities. The program is open to any city government, regardless of size or geographic location.

Diplomas for Female Coffee Growers in Rwanda

More than 800 women in Rwanda graduated in January from a year-long training program run by Bloomberg Philanthropies partner Sustainable Harvest that teaches best practices for growing and harvesting coffee. These women farmers (300 are pictured here) in two rural farming districts of post-conflict Rwanda are learning to deliver high-quality coffee to buyers around the globe, while acquiring a clear path to being economically self-sufficient.

The ‘Why’ of eAdvising

Meet Andrew Meriwether, one of the virtual advisors of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ College Access and Success initiative working at College Advising Corps. In a guest blog post, Andrew shares with us why virtual advising is so important.

Little Sun Expands in 2014

Little Sun, which brings portable solar-powered lamps to rural Africa, had a benchmark year in 2014. Bloomberg Philanthropies made its first ever “impact” investment in Little Sun, helping the socially responsible business expand its reach to four new countries in sub-Saharan Africa and scale up production and sales of its distinctive and sustainable lamps.

Global Approach: Bloomberg Philanthropies initiatives that made a difference in 2014

From the mercados of Mexico to the coasts of Chile, from a coffee farm in Rwanda to a health clinic in Tanzania, from a hamlet in Bangladesh to a fishing village in The Philippines, and in the world’s great cities including Johannesburg, Barcelona, and Istanbul, Bloomberg Philanthropies worked across six continents in 2014 to create better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.

We used data to find some of the world’s most pressing problems, implement solutions, and monitor progress.

Biochar-ging Ahead to Engage Citizens in Combating Climate Change

Stockholm, one of the five winning cities in the 2014 Mayors Challenge competition, will create a citywide program that activates citizens as front-line change agents to combat climate change. Together, the city and its residents will produce biochar, an organic substance that increases tree growth, sequesters carbon, and purifies storm water runoff. The City of Stockholm’s Björn Embrén explains the crucial ingredient at the core of their idea and how it will use the Mayors Challenge Prize to accomplish this ambitious goal.

As the Innovation Team program expands, five pioneer mayors speak about i-teams successes in their cities

On Monday, December 15, we will announce the latest cities to join Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams program. The i-teams program aims to improve the capacity of City Halls to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives – relying on data, open innovation, and strong project and performance management to help mayors address pressing urban challenges.

This week, the first five mayors to receive i-team grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies wrote about their experiences in an op-ed series on CNN Money. Over the past three years, these Mayors have mobilized i-teams to equip municipal government not only with the capacity to strategize, but the tools, metrics, partnerships and techniques needed to bring ideas to reality and improve citizens’ quality of life.

New Health Crisis in Developing Countries: Heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes become the biggest killers

By Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health Team

The biggest global health crisis in low- and middle-income countries is not Ebola, nor is it HIV/AIDS. While the fight against those infectious diseases remains critically important, the emerging health issue in low- and middle-income countries is noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). These are defined as diseases that result in chronic illnesses. The crisis is related to lack of preventative measures and healthcare, as well as poorly functioning health systems. Noncommunicable diseases are becoming the biggest killers.

That is the message of a landmark new report by the Council on Foreign Relations, funded in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, titled The Emerging Global Health Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. The report recommends specific steps the United States can take now and in the near and long term to use its leadership position on global health issues to address this crisis in lower-income countries.

Are You Taking the Public Art Challenge?

By Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of the City of New Orleans and Chair of the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports (TAPES) Standing Committee at the US Conference of Mayors (USCM)

With the deadline for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge approaching on December 15, I am reflecting on how art transforms cities into vibrant cultural centers, revitalize neighborhoods and makes cities more appealing to visit, work and live.

WHO Report Outlines Ten Ways to Prevent Drowning

By Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health Team

To help put better data and context behind this leading cause of death, Bloomberg Philanthropies helped fund a new World Health Organization study The Global Report on Drowning; Preventing a Leading Killer. Bloomberg Philanthropies CEO Patricia E. Harris and Dr. Kelly Henning of the Foundation’s public health team, travelled to Geneva to launch the report which is the first major study of its kind to look at drowning deaths worldwide, their causes, and to recommend practical solutions that will prevent these needless deaths.

“Despite the terrible toll drowning takes on communities around the world – especially in low- and middle-income countries – it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves as a serious and preventable problem. This report can help change that, and it will help us save many lives,” said Patricia E. Harris.

Commercial Fishing Far Out Sea & Over the Horizon – Until Now

Oceans provide food and income for 3 billion people around the world and demand is expected to increase as the world population grows. But overfishing – taking more fish out of the ocean than can be naturally replaced – is leading to a vicious cycle where fishermen work hard, use more advanced technologies but still catch fewer or smaller sized fish. The destructive behaviors at the root of the issue aren’t always obvious. Commercial fleets operate far out in sea, over the horizon, and out of sight – until now. Oceana, a Bloomberg Philanthropies grantee, in partnership with Google and SkyTruth have joined forces to help bring a level of unprecedented transparency to commercial fishing through a new tool called Global Fishing Watch.

Barcelona to Highlight Mayors Challenge-Winning Program to Aid Aging Population During Gathering of City Innovators

By Mayor Xavier Trias, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the European Capital of Innovation. Each day we continue to pioneer the use of technology to improve important urban services, including public transport, street lighting, waste and water management, and social and health care. And the world is taking notice. In 2011 we were named the Mobile World Capital, and Barcelona is recognized worldwide as a leading “smart city.”

In response to these accolades, Barcelona was selected to host a new edition of the City Innovation Summit, an excellent complement to the annual Smart City Expo World Congress, which kicks off today. Smart City Expo and the City Innovation Summit are landmark events, bringing together over 400 leading city innovators, strategists, and thinkers to share and improve cutting edge initiatives that are transforming cities into centers of culture, knowledge, creativity, innovation and wellbeing.

Family Planning 2020 Makes Measurable Progress in First Two Years

By Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health Team

In just two years since the July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning – where a global collaboration of governments, non-profit organizations, donors and researchers gathered to bring much-needed attention and resources to family planning programs – significant progress has been made in expanding access to modern contraceptives for women and girls in the world’s poorest countries.

The Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) second annual progress report released on November 3rd indicates that an additional 8.4 million women and girls used modern contraception in 2013 compared to 2012. FP2020 aims to expand contraceptive access to an additional 120 million women and girls across 69 countries in the developing world by 2020.

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Discusses His New Artwork Fiducial Voice Beacons at the Bloomberg Philanthropies Supported Science Museum in London

By Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Team

Today, museums are turning towards innovative technology to extend their reach beyond an institution’s four walls, allowing more people to access their resources. That’s why Bloomberg Philanthropies is committed to support their pursuit of technology that encourages creativity, engagement and connection.

One of our newest grantees, the Science Museum in London, announced this week the opening of the new Information Age gallery. Beginning October 25th, Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World will feature over 800 objects from the Science Museum collections and use specially commissioned interactive displays, games and mobile experiences to explore the remarkable technological breakthroughs that have helped create the connected world we live in today.

Mike Bloomberg Meets Mayors to Discuss Progress Restoring Oceans

By Bloomberg Philanthropies Environment Team

This month Bloomberg Philanthropies gathered a group of Filipino Conservation Fellows and mayors involved in the Vibrant Oceans Initiative, which aims to revitalize the world’s oceans, combat marine destruction and over-fishing. The Mayors have been working to protect marine areas and establish exclusive fishing rights in their communities. Because of the Mayors’ efforts, communities are fishing more sustainably and in some cases the abundance of fish along their shores has actually increased.

Our Ocean: Next Steps on Sustainable Fishing and Marine-Protected Areas

On September 25, 2014, Patti Harris, the CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies, joined Secretary of State John Kerry, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli and dignitaries from around the world to discuss the urgent work of protecting the oceans.

From Farmer to Entrepreneur

Last week, Asterie Mukangango—Rwandan farmer, president of the Nyampinga cooperative, and an early trainee of Sustainable Harvest-Rwanda—attended the 2014 Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF) in Kigali. Just a year ago, she and her fellow cooperative members were farming small plots of coffee trees with no knowledge of the coffee value chain beyond the processing facility where they sold harvested coffee cherries. Now Asterie and her cooperative are increasing ownership of their coffee with the help of Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partner Sustainable Harvest. Sustainable Harvest Rwanda and Bloomberg Philanthropies founded the nonprofit Relationship Coffee Institute, which works in Rwanda to source coffee while emphasizing quality, relationships, transparency, and sustainability throughout the supply chain. By using this model, Asterie and nearly 1,000 additional women farmers gain access to coffee agronomy best practices as well as training in coffee processing, roasting, and tasting.

Museums and More Go Digital with Support from Bloomberg Connects

The audio guide. The museum map.

For years, these tools have led visitors on journeys through the world’s greatest cultural institutions. They’ve provided a one-way means of experiencing amazing artifacts and groundbreaking galleries. Now, it’s time for some new tools – tools made for the digital, social sharing age.

Now, it’s time for some new tools – tools made for the digital, social sharing age.

Mapping Methane: Plugging Local Natural Gas Leaks Can Yield Global Climate Benefits

In partnership with Google and the Robertson Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies grantee Environmental Defense Fund is working to build a faster, cheaper way to find and assess gas leaks under our streets and sidewalks.

Bloomberg Philanthropies / Google ‘Hangout’ at the US-Africa Business Forum

Bloomberg News Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Allen anchors an all-day ‘Google Hangout’ at the US-Africa Business Forum hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and U.S. Department of Commerce.

Photo Essay: Dispatch from Maternal Health Clinic in Tanzania

Bloomberg Philanthropies is committed to accelerating progress in Kigoma to reach Millennium Development Goal 5 – the reduction of maternal death by 75% between 1990 and 2015. Few countries are on track to reach this goal, but with the dedication of our partners and the Tanzanian government, we are optimistic Kigoma can attain it and be a model for the world.