Poverty is a state of lacking the means and support to afford the basic necessities of life, food, shelter and clothing. One in ten people in developing regions are still living with their families on less than the international poverty line of US$1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount. About 42% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to live below the poverty line.
There are many reasons, but in short, because as human beings, our well-being is linked to each other. Growing inequality is detrimental to economic growth and undermines social cohesion, increasing political and social tensions and, in some circumstances, driving instability and conflicts.
Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making.
To combat poverty Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality. Social protection systems need to be implemented to help alleviate the suffering of disaster-prone countries and provide support in the face of great economic risks. These systems will help strengthen responses by afflicted populations to unexpected economic losses during disasters and will eventually help to end extreme poverty in the most impoverished areas.
FACTS AND FIGURES
- 783 million people live below the international poverty line of US$1.90 a day
- In 2016, almost 10 per cent of the world’s workers live with their families on less than US$1.90 per person per day
- Globally, there are 122 women aged 25 to 34 living in extreme poverty for every 100 men of the same age group.
- Most people living below the poverty line belong to two regions: Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa
- High poverty rates are often found in small, fragile and conflict-affected countries
- One in four children under age five in the world has inadequate height for his or her age
- As of 2016, only 45% of the world’s population were effectively covered by at least one social protection cash benefit.
- In 2017, economic losses due to disasters, including three major hurricanes in the USA and the Caribbean, were estimated at over $300 billion.
WHAT WE CAN DO TO END POVERTY:
If you are a young person: Your active engagement in policy making can make a difference in addressing poverty. It ensures that your rights are promoted and that your voice is heard, that inter-generational knowledge is shared, and that innovation and critical thinking are encouraged at all ages to support transformational change in people’s lives and communities.
If you are a policymaker: Governments can help create an enabling environment to generate productive employment and job opportunities for the poor and the marginalized. They can formulate strategies and fiscal policies that stimulate pro-poor growth, and reduce poverty.
If you work in the private sector: The private sector, as an engine of economic growth, has a major role to play in determining whether the growth it creates is inclusive and hence contributes to poverty reduction. It can promote economic opportunities for the poor, focusing on segments of the economy where most of the poor are active, namely on micro and small enterprises and those operating in the informal sector.
If you are part of the science and academic community: The academic and education community have a major role in increasing the awareness about the impact of poverty. Science provides the foundation for new and sustainable approaches, solutions and technologies to tackle the challenges of reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development. The contribution of science to end poverty has been significant. For example, it has enabled access to safe drinking water, reduced deaths caused by water-borne diseases, and improved hygiene to reduce health risks related to unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation.
- By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day
- By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
- Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable
- By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
- By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
- Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programs and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions
- Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions