SDG 1 Courses: No Poverty

Presently, more than 700 million people or 10 percent of the world’s population, live in extreme poverty without access to health, water and education. Poverty has many dimensions and causes vulnerability, social exclusion and unemployment of certain populations, who are often affected by disasters, diseases and other issues. High poverty rates are often found in countries that are affected by conflict, which makes them fragile. Furthermore, compared to urban areas, poverty is 17.2 per cent higher in rural areas across the world. Being employed and having a job does not guarantee a decent living, since 8 per cent of employed people live in extreme poverty worldwide. Many families survive on less than $ 1.90 a day, and majority of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, 122 women of age 25 to 34 live in extreme poverty compared to 100 men of the same age group. Poverty also affects every fifth child in the world and ensuring social protection for children is critical to reduce poverty. In 2018, 55 percent of the world’s population does not have access to social protection, while only 41 per cent of women who gave birth received maternity cash benefits.

The goal is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030. There are many reasons why poverty should be eradicated, but the primary one is because our well-being as human beings is linked to each other. Inequality increases social and political tensions and undermines social cohesion. In some instances, it even drives conflicts and instability.

According to economist Jeffrey Sachs, to end extreme poverty in 20 years a total annual cost would be around $ 175 billion, which is less than one per cent of the combined income of the richest countries. Poverty can be eradicated through active engagement of citizens in policy making, sharing of inter-generational knowledge and critical thinking. Governments are expected to create environments that generate productive employment and job opportunities for marginalized and poor communities. This includes adoption and formulation of strategies and fiscal policies that aim to reduce poverty. Similarly, the private sector, the biggest generator of economic growth, is expected to promote economic opportunities for those affected by poverty by focusing on those segments of the economy such as micro and small enterprises and those operating in the informal sector. Last, but not least, the burden of eradicating poverty lies on the academic community and education sector that should increase awareness about impacts of poverty. Scientists are expected to provide sustainable approaches, solutions and technologies to tackle the challenges of poverty and achieve sustainable poverty.

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