SDG 1: No Poverty

Despite a drastic decrease in the number of people living in extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015, many are still living without the most basic human needs. With 700 million people still living in extreme poverty today, 10% of the world population is still struggling to gain access to clean water, food and education. While there has been great progress in technological advancement, eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the biggest challenges humanity faces. According to an overview by the UN before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the world was off-track to end poverty by 2030 (United Nations, 2020). To make matters worse, the pandemic threatens to push over 71 million people into extreme poverty in 2020. With further complications resulting from COVID-19 and high concentrations of extreme poverty in certain areas which slow down our efforts to alleviate poverty, our ambitious vision of no poverty will definitely require commensurate efforts from all stakeholders to be achieved by 2030. In order to alleviate poverty in all dimensions, we must achieve the following 7 targets:

1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day

Thanks to rapid development in countries such as China and India, millions have been lifted out of poverty. However, progress has been uneven as women are more likely to be poor than men as they have access to fewer opportunities such as paid work, education or property ownership. Progress has been especially limited in regions such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa where 80% of those living in extreme poverty inhabit. With new issues brought on by climate change, conflicts and food insecurity, we will need to put in even more efforts to bring people out of poverty.

1.2 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

Poverty has traditionally been defined as the lack of money. However, in reality, a poor person also suffers from a lack of various basic needs namely, clean water, food, sanitation, education as well as social protection. However, these basic needs are not only a result of poverty but it is also one of the major causes of poverty. Without an adequate amount of education and basic needs such as food and water, it will be impossible for these people to be able to break out of poverty. This “poverty trap” that hinders these people from getting out of extreme poverty can only be resolved through systematic efforts with the collaboration of governments and other individuals that can support by volunteering to provide free education.

1.3 Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable

Social protection systems, including floors (nationally-defined sets of basic social security guarantees which secure protection aimed at preventing or alleviating poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion) are both a social and economic necessity. Social protection is the foundation to inclusive growth and reducing poverty. A well-designed social protection system supports incomes and domestic consumption, builds human capital and increases productivity. Efforts to extend social protection in developing countries have shown that social protection is the key to reducing poverty and vulnerability as well as developing inclusively.

1.4 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

It would be impossible to achieve our goal - No Poverty, when inequalities still exist. While there are many causes that led to poverty, many experts believe that inequality - which includes discrimination on the basis of gender and ethnicity, political conflict, and domestic violence - is a primary factor. Since it often results in the poor and vulnerable in particular having limited access to services such as ownership, inheritance  and technology. In addition, a lack of access to infrastructures such as a reliable food supply chain and healthcare system can impair individuals’ capability to support themselves and their family. As such, ensuring all men and women access to basic services is crucial to narrow the inequality gap and boost inclusive growth.

1.5 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

With new threats brought on by climate change and the backlash of events such as COVID-19, our path to achieving the 17 SDGs becomes more arduous. As there is an increase in natural disasters due to the exacerbation of climate change, resilience is important for all of us as it provides us with the capacity to recover from the disaster before the next disaster strike. This is especially true for the poor and those in vulnerable situations who are extremely susceptible to the changes that are caused by these disasters. By ensuring that the poor and vulnerable can build resilience against these extreme events, we are also preventing them from falling into the vicious cycle of “poverty trap”. Without the coping capacity, the poor and vulnerable will be exposed to more severe consequences thus the recovery period will also be longer. A prolonged recovery period will leave these people exposed to more threat from these unexpected events.

1.A 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 programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions

In order to achieve an inclusive world where no one is left behind, it is essential for developing and least developed countries to develop further. However, these countries lack the capabilities to dramatically grow on their own, as such cooperation between countries are crucial in the development of these countries. With human, logistics and technological support, these countries would be able to develop at a much faster pace. Furthermore, the development of these countries would also create more job opportunities that would provide the people a chance to get out of poverty.

1.B 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

However, the support of other developed countries is not enough, these developing and least developed countries need to create a framework in their own countries that is aimed towards helping the poor and vulnerable. On a wider scale, they can collaborate with other countries in the region so that they can make a joint effort to build resilience as well as provide the poor and vulnerable with opportunities so they can get out of poverty. Internationally, countries can make trading deals that could provide others with resources that they need as well as setting up a policy framework that would guide international efforts towards achieving our common goal of eradicating poverty.

Want to know more about how you can help contribute to making the world a better place as a global citizen? At TGC, we provide youths with many programs and camps that would provide students with the knowledge as well as hands-on practice so that they can voice their opinions confidently and become the catalyst to the changes around them.

Image Source: Pexels