Ending Poverty by 2030
The world has seen remarkable progress in poverty reduction over the last 30 years, with more than 1 billion people escaping from poverty. Today, global poverty is at an all-time low. However, eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions remains the greatest global challenge of our time. The international community faces enormous obstacles in achieving this: global trends such as lasting conflicts, climate change and urbanisation put sustainable development at risk. Current projections indicate that the goal of Ending Poverty by 2030 (SDG 1) is likely to be missed.
Where do we stand today?
Recent achievements in poverty reduction have not extended to all countries or to all people equally. More than 700 million people still live below the international poverty line (1.90 USD a day). Taking into account aspects such as education, health and living standards, there are about 1.3 billion people living in so-called multidimensional poverty. Poverty is particularly concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than half of the global poor are located. Three-quarters of countries in this region have poverty rates above 18%. In several African countries, the rate of poverty reduction is too slow, and in some cases poverty has increased. More dramatically, current projections indicate that by 2030, up to 87% of the extreme poor will live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Certain population groups are disproportionally affected by poverty and are often especially vulnerable: this includes women and children, people with disabilities, indigenous people, refugees and migrants and other minorities. The importance of addressing systematic forms of discrimination, inequality and exclusion is recognised in the 2030 Agenda through the principle of ‘leave no one behind’ (LNOB).
Although global poverty continues to fall, the pace of poverty reduction is slowing down. Many populous middle-income countries have achieved great success in reducing global poverty. However, the continuation of this trend will now depend upon the progress of fewer countries. Slow economic growth, high inequality, population growth, conflicts and weak institutions are among the main challenges on the path to a world without poverty. The importance of these factors is illustrated by the projection that by 2030 up to 85% of the global poor will be living in fragile states.
What can be done?
In order to set-up efficient strategies to reduce poverty, it is essential to identify where the poor are living and what conditions they are living in. Poverty reduction must respond to country- and context-specific circumstances. For instance, measures in the least-developed countries must be designed differently to those in middle-income-countries. Likewise, urban poverty has different characteristics and may require different approaches than rural poverty.