The first Millennium Development Goal is to half between 1990 and 2015 the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.00 a day. This MDG target has already been met, but there is still 1.2 billion of our family living in extreme poverty.
Extreme poverty rates continue to fall in every developing region of the world. China leads the way with the extreme poverty rates there dropping from 60 per cent in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2005 and down to 12 per cent in 2010.
Poverty remains widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, although real progress can be seen in Southeast Asia. The drop in extreme poverty rates in Southern Asia has fallen by an average of a percentage point every year. The extreme poverty rate was 51 per cent in 1990. Now, 20 years later it has dropped to 30 per cent.
The extreme poverty rates in sub-Saharan Africa by contrast has fallen only 8 percentage points during the past two decades. In fact, sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world that had a steady rise in the number of people living in extreme poverty. In 1990 the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa living in extreme poverty was 290 million. In 2010 that number had increased to 414 million. This number accounts for more than a third of all the destitute people in the world.
Abject poverty is found in areas where poor health and the lack of education keep people from productive work. These are areas where there is bad governance, corruption and depleted natural resources. Conflict and corruption discourage private investment.
We can continue reducing the proportion of our family living in extreme poverty. But for this to happen the international community must take the next steps in combating poverty at every level.
I have often addressed the powerful impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in my posts, especially in relationship to ending hunger in our lifetime. The United Nations set eight specific and measurable goals. We are now less than 1,000 days from reaching the 2015 target date for achieving those goals.
Earlier this month the United Nations released the 2013 Millennium Development Goals Report. It’s fascinating reading. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations begins the Foreword of the report by stating the, “The Millennium Development Goals have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.”
And although the report shows that significant and truly substantial progress has been made toward achieving all the eight goals, the report is also clear the the achievement of the MDGs has been uneven. More effort must to be given if we are to continue seeing solid progress made toward reaching the full promise of the MDGs.
Although the first Millennium Development Goal of cutting poverty and hunger in half by 2015 is clearly within reach it hasn’t been fully realized yet. I will quote from the report’s overview.
The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has be halved at the global level
The world reached the poverty reduction target five years ahead of schedule. In developing regions, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 2010. About 700 million people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990.
The hunger reduction target is within reach
The proportion of undernourished people in developing regions decreased from 23.2 per cent in 1990-92 to 14.9 per cent in 2010-2012. Given reinvigorated efforts, the target of halving the percentage of people suffering from hunger by 2015 appears to be within reach. Still one in eight people in the world today remain chronically undernourished.
We are so close to the goal of cutting the number of hunger in half. I know we can make it happen. But we must always remember achieving these goals is not about numbers. We are talking about people, members of our family who will no longer have to suffer the needless pain of hunger. we are talking changed lives and hope for brighter futures.
Stop Hunger Now is committed to ending hunger in our lifetime. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is one giant step toward making that happen.