Ten percent of the world’s population, 736 million people, live in extreme poverty. Half of all people living in poverty are under 18 years old. Eighty percent of people living on less than $1.90 a day are in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. These statistics all show the scale of poverty around the world.
It is also important to understand that poverty is multidimensional, encompassing more than just low income. Poverty can involve social exclusion, disempowerment, lack of access to healthcare and education, and increased vulnerability to violence and climate-related disasters. Poverty can also differ across countries and regions, and it is an issue that intersects with every problem that the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, seek to address.
SDG 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by the year 2030.
Targets and Indicators
Goal 1 has seven targets, or detailed ideas about what achieving “no poverty” means. The targets include ending all extreme poverty, which is defined as living on less than $1.90 a day. Others include reducing the number of people living below the poverty line in individual countries, implementing social protection programs that support the poor, guaranteeing equal access to economic resources like property and technology, and ensuring that poor and vulnerable people are better equipped to protect themselves against the destruction of climate change.
What’s Already Being Done
The number of people living in poverty worldwide is declining, but the rate of decline has slowed significantly. One major issue is that large populations of people have a job but still live in extreme poverty, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Another issue is that the amount of climate-related disasters has been increasing in the last few decades, and poor and vulnerable populations are more at risk for experiencing the negative physical and economic effects of these disasters.
Various activists are fighting to address the effects of poverty and the systemic issues behind it. Andrew Mwenda is a Ugandan journalist who founded a news magazine, The Independent. He has also spoken widely about global politics, been involved in community activism, and been arrested several times for his controversial politics. To combat poverty, Mwenda advocates for free speech and ways to empower African community members rather than depend on foreign aid.
Applying It: How Everyone Can Help
How can we help make sure we meet SDG 1? Stay informed about poverty in your community, support leaders fighting for the needs of impoverished people, and contact your local politicians and tell them how you feel about certain policies. Talk to your friends and family and make sure they’re aware of the issues. Donate money to local organizations helping the poor or organize a fundraiser at your school.
National governments and international organizations need to step up and do their duty in eradicating poverty in all forms. However, though small, these steps of advocating for vulnerable communities can help the world meet SDG 1!