The Government of Iceland has secured core funding for the UNU-GTP to expand its capacity building activities by annual short courses/workshops in geothermal development in selected countries in Africa (started in 2005), Central America (started 2006), and in Asia (started in 2008). The announcement on this was made at the International Conference for Renewable Energies held in Bonn (Germany) 1-4 June 2004. This is a contribution of the Government of Iceland towards the Millennium Development Goals of UN.
The courses/workshops are set up in cooperation with the energy agencies/utilities and earth science institutions responsible for the exploration, development and operation of geothermal
facilities in the respective countries/regions. A part of the objective of the workshops/short courses is to increase cooperation between specialists in the field of sustainable use of geothermal
resources. The courses may in the future develop into sustainable regional geothermal training centres.
The Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations
At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the Millennium Declaration from which the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) were later extracted. In 2002, government leaders, heads of industry, civil society and representatives of United Nations organisations met in Johannesburg at the World
Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD). This conference brought energy and environmental issues to the centre of the global debate. The MDGs provide concrete, time-bound objectives for
dramatically reducing extreme poverty in its many dimensions by 2015 – income poverty, hunger, disease, exclusion, and lack of infrastructure and shelter – while promoting gender
equality, education, health, and environmental sustainability. These were reaffirmed by world leaders at the United Nations World Summit in 2005 in New York (United Nations, 2005).
The eight Millennium Development Goals are:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
- Achieve universal primary education.
- Promote gender equality and empower women.
- Reduce child mortality.
- Improve maternal health.
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
- Ensure environmental sustainability.
- Develop a global partnership for development.
Most of these goals and targets were set to be achieved by the year 2015 on the basis of the global situation during the 1990s. It was during that decade that a number of global conferences had taken place and the main objectives of the development agenda had been defined. The baseline for the assessment of progress is therefore 1990 for most of the MDG targets. The MDGs provide countries around the world a framework for development, and time-bound targets by which progress can be measured (United Nations, 2006).