Caoimhe Durkan continues her series examining the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this week looking at Goal 1: No Poverty.


While major achievements have been made in the reduction of poverty rates in recent years, millions of people across the globe continue to live below the international poverty line. This month, I’ll be focusing on Goal No. 1 of the UN’s SDGs, and looking at why the elimination of poverty is an integral part of working towards a more sustainable future for all.


Why is striving towards the eradication of poverty worldwide included as one of the Sustainable Development Goals?

‘Poverty’ is commonly understood to mean living beneath the international poverty line of $1.90 a day. However, poverty means more than a lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood, and includes social discrimination and exclusion, and lack of participation in decision-making. Through eradicating poverty, and building an international community that facilitates the creation of harmonious societies, we can achieve higher standards of living for all.


How does Goal No. 1 relate to the remaining 17 SDG’s?

The fight to end poverty is intricately connected with the remaining 16 Sustainable Development Goals. The eradication of poverty ensures that all living within a community have equal access to basic services, land ownership, economic, financial, and natural resources, as well as lack of social exclusion and discrimination. Through this we see the creation of more harmonious communities, linking Goal 1 directly with reducing inequalities (Goals 5 and 10), sustainable communities (Goals 8 and 11), and the establishment of strong institutions internationally (Goal 16). Since most people living below the international poverty line live in the regions of Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, and are often vulnerable to climate-related extreme events, Climate Action (Goal 13) is vital in reducing poverty rates worldwide.


What are the Goal 1 targets?

The Goal 1 targets include the eradication of poverty internationally by 2030 (those living on less than $1.25 a day), to build resilience for the poor and those living in vulnerable situations, and reduce their expose to climate related extreme-events, as well as ensuring that all men and women have equal access to economic resources, land ownership, and basic services.


Things to know about poverty:

  • 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 and their families lived on less than US$1.90 per person per day.
  • 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.
  • As of 2016, only 45% of the world’s population was effectively covered by at least one social protection cash benefit.


Are countries doing enough to eradicate poverty worldwide?

In recent decades, there has been a notable reduction in poverty rates internationally. The United Nations estimated in 2013 that the percentage of the world’s population living at or below $1.90 a day to be 10.7%, a figure which is down from 35% in 1990 and 44% in 1981, and have concluded that based on this “ending world poverty is within our reach”. All nations must each do their bit to help achieve this.

In Bolivia, malnutrition in a great concern, however the Bolivian government is implementing several measures to tackle this problem. A programme partially funded by the SDG Fund is working with government bodies and nongovernmental indigenous and economic organizations, aiming to improve food production and integrate native crops with a high nutritional value, as well as strengthening multisectoral coordination.

In Ethiopia, men are often favoured over women with regard to food, healthcare, education, and formal sector employment. While women form up to 73% of agricultural labour, they only hold 18.7% of land. The UN is working with government bodies, Ethiopia Agricultural Research Institute, and regional micro-finance institutes to improve food security, nutrition, social protection and coping mechanisms.

With many countries implementing programs to alleviate poverty worldwide, it would appear that there is hope for the World Bank’s goal of having no more than 3% of the world’s population living below the international poverty line by 2030. However, all nations, including those where the majority of their population does not currently experience, or is immediately threatened, by poverty, must continue to work together in order for this to be achieved.






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Image courtesy of UN Women/Allison Joyce via Flickr


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