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  /  Public   /  Has global poverty decreased?
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Has global poverty decreased?

The United Nations’ first Sustainable Development Goal is to  “end poverty in all its forms everywhere”. However, the UN’s ambitious 2030 Agenda acknowledges that extreme poverty is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. Goal 1 of SDG also aims to ensure social protection for the poor and vulnerable ones, increase access to essential services and support people harmed by climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

Extreme poverty

According to the biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report, extreme poverty is living on less than $1.90 a day. The United Nations reports that more than 700 million people, or 10 percent of the world population, still live in extreme poverty today, grappling with basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation. The majority of people living on less than $1.90 a day live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Remarkable gains

The global poverty rate is projected at 7% in 2030, and the number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 36 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015.

COVID-19 exacerbates poverty!

Besides the negative impact of global warming on poverty, COVID-19 has deaccelerated the forecast poverty reduction despite remarkable gains over the past years. According to a report by the World bank in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty in 2020, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction. Had the pandemic not convulsed the globe, the poverty rate was expected to drop to 7.9% in 2020. Recent research published by the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research warns that the economic fallout from the global pandemic could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion people, or 8% of the total human population. This would be the first time that poverty has increased globally in thirty years, since 1990.

The way forward

To eradicate global poverty, UN member countries need to rededicate their commitment to SDGs and strive to mitigate the impact of global warming and COVID-19.