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.