Global Goal - No.1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

posted Oct 11, 2015, 9:20 AM by desmond Seeley

Poverty has many definitions and explanations, but what we can conclude is that  poverty is multi-dimensional. Poverty is visible - we see it in the shacks we pass by, homeless we encounter, unemployment we know of, poor infrastructure we can observe and lack of basic services. The long and short of it, poverty is that people lack the means to live and access opportunities, so imprisoning and enslaving them. As Nelson Mandela said:

"In this new century, millions of people in the world's poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom."

Does this mean there will be no poor people in the world? No, as previously mentioned in this article there are various definitions of poverty. Poverty can be defined as "extreme poverty", "moderate poverty" and "relative poverty". This Global Goal is about ending "extreme poverty" (The UN defines this a people living on less than US$1.25 per day). "Extreme poverty" is where households are not able to meet their basic needs for survival. This means that households are chronically  (constantly recurring) hungry, they may lack shelter, they do not have access to health care and don't have access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Further to this these households cannot afford education for their children and may lack basic articles of clothing like shoes. 

"In South Africa the latest statistics say that 21.7% of South Africans live in extreme poverty, not being able to pay for basic nutritional requirements; 37% of people don't have enough money to purchase both adequate food items and non-food items so they have to sacrifice food to pay for things like transport and airtime; 53.8% of people can afford enough food and non-food items but fall under the widest definition of poverty in SA, surviving on under R779 per month" (Nicolson:2015).

South Africa's response to poverty is social grants! "The number of social grants recipients in South Africa have increased exponentially over the past twenty years: from an estimated 4-million in 1994 to 16.3 million by 31 August last year" ( Ferreira:2015). This is not sustainable, and furthermore is creating a dysfunctional society. We South African Global Citizen cannot sit back and say this is Government's problem, we need to take action.  We need to take up the  responsibility to make a difference. 

Here are the targets agreed by the leaders at the UN:

  • By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day
  • 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.
  • Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.
  • 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 13 property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance.
  • 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.
  • Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including 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.
  • 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