SDG 1 calls for an end to poverty in all its forms, including extreme poverty. It aims for shared prosperity and a basic standard of living and social protection benefits for all people.
Equal rights and access to economic and natural resources as well as technology, property, and basic and financial services are an intrinsic part of this SDG. Special attention to communities affected by conflict and climate-related disasters is emphasized. Essential turning points are policy commitment and mobilization of resources for accelerating poverty eradication.
The first Sustainable Development Goals progress chart presents a snapshot of progress made at the global and regional levels towards selected targets under all Goals of the 2030 Agenda. It is based on a limited number of indicators and information available as of September 2019. It presents two types of information: progress made towards the target in stoplight colors, and the current level of development in the specific area in text in each box.
The overall conclusion is that the world is not on track to achieving the target of ending poverty by 2030. Extreme poverty today is concentrated and overwhelmingly affects rural populations. Increasingly, it is exacerbated by violent conflicts and climate change.
Tackling the remaining pockets of extreme poverty will be challenging due to their persistence and complexity—often involving the interplay of social, political, and economic factors. Effective social protection schemes and policies, along with government spending on key services, can help those left behind to get back on their feet and find a way out of poverty.
But still, we all can contribute to the SDGs and being this the “Decade of Action” we all should start taking action.
On the one hand, the UN invites each of us to be the change with a set of 170 actions, 10 per SDG, which we can implement in our lives (my favourite option is number 2, all my Christmas presents were donations to different charities).
On the other hand, the initiative Companies4SDGs created a series of videos about each one of the SDGs and the series of the year 2018 include more ideas of actions to take on an individual level.
TARGET 1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day (the International Poverty Line was updated to $1.90 per day in October 2015).
Indicator 1.1.1: Proportion of population below the international poverty line, by sex, age, employment status and geographical location (urban/rural)
Target 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
Indicator 1.2.1: Proportion of population living below the national poverty line, by sex and age
Indicator 1.2.2: Proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
Target 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
Indicator 1.3.1: Proportion of population covered by social protection floors/systems, by sex, distinguishing children, unemployed persons, older persons, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, newborns, work-injury victims and the poor and the vulnerable
Target 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
Indicator 1.4.1: Proportion of population living in households with access to basic services
Indicator 1.4.2: Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, (a) with legally recognized documentation, and (b) who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and type of tenure
Target 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
Indicator 1.5.1: Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population
Indicator 1.5.2: Direct economic loss attributed to disasters in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP)
Indicator 1.5.3: Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030
Indicator 1.5.4: Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies
Target 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
Indicator 1.A.1: Proportion of domestically generated resources allocated by the government directly to poverty reduction programmes
Indicator 1.A.2: Proportion of total government spending on essential services (education, health and social protection)
Indicator 1.A.3: Sum of total grants and non-debt-creating inflows directly allocated to poverty reduction programmes as a proportion of GDP
Target 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
Indicator 1.B.1: Proportion of government recurrent and capital spending to sectors that disproportionately benefit women, the poor and vulnerable groups
Where to find data?
On the SDG Database of the UN it is possible to access all indicators and select a range of geographical and time criteria to obtain data tables, such as the example below.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. The international poverty line is currently defined as 1.90 US dollars per person per day using 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP). From 2002 to 2012, the percentage of the global population living below this poverty line dropped by half, from 26 to 13%.
However, today more than 700 million people, or 10% of the world population, still live in extreme poverty.
Poverty comes in many forms, mainly its causes revolve around unemployment, social exclusion, and the high vulnerability of certain populations to disasters, diseases and other phenomena that prevent them from being productive. It is also directly related to basic needs, such as health, education, and access to water and sanitation.
One of the main aspects we have to understand is that in the global world we already live in our well-being is linked to that of other people. Inequality anywhere in the world has negative effects on our lives, for example on economic development or political or social tensions which drive instability and conflicts.
The big question of course is if we will be able to achieve this goal. According to economist Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, yes, we can. He calculated that in order to end extreme poverty worldwide in 20 years the total cost would be about $175 billion per year, less than one percent of the combined income of the richest countries in the world.
Poverty and work
Having a job does not guarantee a decent living. In fact, 8% of employed workers and their families worldwide still live in extreme poverty. Among this group, young people are most likely to be affected.
However, the evolution of this figure is positive. In 2015, actually 10% of the world’s workers and their families were living on less than 1.90 US dollars per person per day, down from 28% in 2000. The bad news is still that young people aged 15 to 24 are most likely to be among the working poor: 16% of all employed youth were living below the poverty line in 2015, compared with 9% of working adults.
The highest rates of this still-to-be-solved challenge are located in two main regions: Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. As you can see on the graph, percentages have fallen from the year 2000 to the year 2015, but one-third of all workers in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than 18% of workers in Southern Asia were still among the group of the working poor.
Poverty and social protection
Poverty affects children disproportionately. One out of five children lives in extreme poverty. Ensuring social protection for all children and other vulnerable groups is critical to reducing poverty.
Social protection programmes include social assistance, such as cash transfers, school feeding and targeted food assistance. Social insurance and labour market programmes are other forms of social protection, covering old-age and disability pensions, maternity benefits, unemployment insurance, skills training and wage subsidies, among others. Most poor people remain outside social protection systems, especially in poorer countries: about one in five people receive any type of benefit in low-income countries compared with two in three in upper-middle-income countries.
Social protections have expanded globally since 2000, as many developing countries adopted related. Pension coverage in particular is expanding rapidly. Over half (51%) of people above retirement age received a pension according to data available for the period from 2010 to 2012. Almost all countries have child or maternity benefit programmes, and cash transfer schemes are increasing.
But increasing social protection for those most in need remains a priority. Globally, 18,000 children still die each day from poverty-related causes, and only 28% of employed women are effectively protected. Most poor people remain outside social protection systems, especially in low-income countries. Again, the coverage gap is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, where most of the world’s poorest people live.
What does this mean and what does
this look like?
As the numbers show, poverty is still an acute problem in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. But what exactly does this mean and what does it look like? Numbers are helpful to understand the global picture, but underneath lie the challenges that affect real people.
Niger is one of those Sub-Saharan countries. According to the Human Development Index (HDI), Niger is at the bottom of the global rank. This rank takes into account data regarding life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling, mean years of schooling and gross national income (GNI) per capita. 90.5% of its population lives in multidimensional poverty. 19,44 million people of a total population of 21,48 million. Or 9 in every 10 people you will encounter in Niger.
So what does life look like in Niger? We can find many stories on the global web. I have selected two of them to bring this country a bit closer. The stories I found have a different background, mainly there are stories that have been selected by NGOs working in these countries, some are from the national government and some from tourists visiting the country. This means that we will always stumble upon biases in these stories which are hard to avoid.
I actually invite you to add another bias when watching these videos, that of our common humanity. Can you find similarities when looking into the eyes of these people? In their smiles? In their tears? We might not understand their cultural background, but we clearly are all human beings. I consider that in order to be able to transform our world and co-create a better world, we have to look at the existing one with curiosity and respect for our differences. So let’s put on some new glasses and start looking for our common humanity.
Education by Plan International Ireland
Health by Unicef
And last but not least, a music video from a Nigerien hip-hop artist to change the world through the SDGs: