SDG no. 1 - No poverty
“My children’s cry is my enemy”. Those where the words of a mother of five living in poverty in the capital of Malawi. Her children were crying from hunger as she carefully divided the little porridge for the family’s one daily meal between the children.
Poverty has many cruel faces and consequences including starvation and untreated sickness. In Sub-Saharan countries up to 45% of the population lives below the poverty line. This makes Sub-Saharan Africa, by far, the region in the world with the highest degree of poverty.
Quoting the UN on its description of the number one goal of the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
While global poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 2000, one in ten people in developing regions are still living with their families on less than the international poverty line of US$1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount. Significant progress has been made in many countries within Eastern and Southeastern Asia, but up to 42% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to live below the poverty line.
Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education, medical and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making.
Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality. Social protection systems need to be implemented to help alleviate the suffering of disaster-prone countries and provide support in the face of great economic risks. These systems will help strengthen responses by afflicted populations to unexpected economic losses during disasters and will eventually help to end extreme poverty in the most impoverished areas.*
A matter that affects all of us
But poverty doesn't only affect those faced by poverty. Poverty has negative impacts on the climate e.g. through the use of kerosene lamps and from deforestation to head wood burning stoves to cook and create clean water for drinking. Poverty is a major driver for terrorism and war. Poverty prevents people from fully contributing to economic growth. And maybe, it is even preventing us from meeting the talent we need to solve the rest of the world’s biggest problems.