More than 15 percent of terrestrial and inland water areas around the globe are now under protection. The United Nations established a target of 17 percent by 2020.
Eleven percent of the world's children – about 168 million – are currently subjected to child labor, but between 2000 and 2012, the number of children involved was cut by one-third.
In recent years, many nations have reduced wage gaps, increased female college enrollment, and expanded the role of women in government. But there's still work to be done – a recent report estimates that complete gender equality in economic participation and opportunity remains decades away.
Nearly two dozen species of Pacific groundfish, including snapper, Dover sole, and dogfish, and Atlantic haddock, among others, are all making a comeback. The rebounds can be attributed to the passing of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the US management system.
The rate of fatal workplace injuries in the US is 25 percent lower than it was in 2006 and it's been trending downward for the past two decades, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decline in certain dangerous occupations, as well as better regulations, have contributed.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the number of chronically undernourished dropped from 18.7 percent of the total population to 11.3 between 1990 and 2014. More than 60 developing nations have halved the number of undernourished people in their populations since 1990.
The tide first began to turn against land mine use in 1997 when 122 countries signed the Mine Ban Treaty, and the number of land-mine casualties has decreased almost every year since then, reaching its lowest recorded point in 2013.
In every region except Latin America, consumers now expect the job market to be good or excellent in the coming year. The number is the highest since before the Great Recession.
More people worldwide have gained access to an 'improved' source of drinking water, or one that is not likely to be susceptible to outside contamination, says the World Health Organization.
In key regions, private firms and governments are taking action.
Changes to a federal nutrition program and Michelle Obama's nutrition and exercise campaign may have played a role in the dramatic decline in early-childhood obesity, some say.
It's getting easier to do business in many countries, according to a World Bank report, with Eastern Europe and Central Asia making significant strides this year.
Reports by the African Development Bank, World Bank, and McKinsey show how Africa continues to offer a bright spot in the global economy.