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‘End poverty now!’

Feb 25,2017 - Last updated at Feb 25,2017

Throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of people go to sleep every night hungry, without a piece of bread to eat. This fact is saddening because every person’s dignity is tied to the dignity of other people on this planet.

So when people struggle to survive, human energy and potential are exhausted.

Although poverty has no borders, it has many forms.

Poverty is not measured only by inadequate income; it restricts access to health, education and other essential services and, too often, it manifests itself as a denial or abuse of other fundamental human rights.

It is both a cause and a consequence of marginalisation and social exclusion.

We are now into the second year of the implementation of the Agenda 2030, a plan of action endorsed by all UN member states in September 2015 to achieve sustainable development in three dimensions: economic, social and environmental.

The Agenda 2030 includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the first of which (SDG 1) is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere”. 

UN member states acknowledged that eradication of poverty is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

In signing Agenda 2030, governments around the world committed to ending poverty in all its manifestations, including its most extreme forms, over the next 15 years.

They resolved that all people, everywhere, should enjoy a basic standard of living. 

This includes social protection benefits for the poor and most vulnerable, and ensuring that people harmed by conflict and natural hazards receive adequate support, including access to basic services.

According to the SDG report 2016, the international poverty line is currently defined at $1.9 or below per person per day using 2011 United States dollar’s purchasing power parity (ppp).

In the decade beginning in 2002, the proportion of the world’s population living below the poverty line dropped by half, from 26 per cent to 13 per cent.

If growth rates during those 10 years prevail for the next 15 years, the global extreme poverty rate will likely fall to 4 per cent by 2030, assuming that growth benefits all income groups of the population equally.

However, if the growth rates over the longer period of 20 years prevail, the global poverty rate will likely be around 6 per cent. 

In other words, eliminating extreme poverty will require a significant change from historical growth rates.

Expanding social protection programmes and targeting appropriate schemes to the poor and most vulnerable can further reduce poverty.

Social protection programmes include social assistance, such as cash transfers, school feeding and targeted food assistance, as well as social insurance and labour market programmes, including old-age pensions, disability pensions, unemployment insurance, skill training and wage subsidies, among others.

We are talking here about the wellbeing of humanity.

The target of SDG 1 by 2030 is to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere; implement nationally appropriate social protection systems; ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources; reduce the exposure and vulnerability of the poor to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters; and 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.

 

 

The writer is the national information officer at the UN Information Centre in Beirut. She contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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