There are plenty of statistics and data about global poverty--these are just a few:
- Each year, more than 8 million people around the world die because they are too poor to stay alive.
- Over 1 billion people—1 in 6 people around the world—live in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1 a day.
- More than 800 million go hungry each day.
- Over 100 million primary school-age children cannot go to school.
Over three million people around the world are considered poor. Lots of men, women and children endure unimaginable obstacles that prevent them from receiving their basic human rights.
When the UN created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the signers proclaimed that all people have the right to education, work, health and well-being. Today, however, millions around the world are too crippled by poverty to fulfill these basic rights. Millions continue to go hungry. Scores of children never step inside a classroom. Families watch their loved ones die from largely preventable causes because they do not have access to adequate medical care. In essence, poverty is a denial of human rights.
A Global Partnership to Fight Poverty
It may sound like an unattainable dream, but according to the UN, we actually can put an end to global poverty. Effectively tackling the problem demands a multi-pronged approach because there is no single cure. Initiatives must address interwoven but distinct issues such as children's rights, women's rights, epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, access to clean water and sanitation, and preservation of the world's natural resources—just to name a few.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), created by the international community in 2000, represent an unprecedented opportunity for the world to usher in a new era of collaboration in fighting poverty, by setting concrete targets to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. We are now only four years away from the deadline, and we have a lot of work ahead of us.
Based on current trends, many developing countries will fail to meet the majority of the MDG's by 2015. Many believe that we must focus on Goal 8: Partnerships for Development to achieve the MDGs. Goal 8 says that governments need to work together with civil society, multilateral institutions and private sector entities to:
- Further develop an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory, and includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction— nationally and internationally
- Address the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction
- Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing states
- Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term
- Cooperate with the developing countries to develop decent and productive work for youth
- Provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
- Make the benefits of new technologies available— especially information and communications technologies
These are just a few of the ways outlined in the MDGs but they may be able to make a large impact on the state of poverty around the world.
United Nations Millennium Development Goals
Universal Declaration of Human Rights