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1.45 billion people from 103 countries are multi-dimensionally poor
by UN News, Together 2030, OPHI, NGO Group, agencies
1:32pm 19th Jul, 2017
17 July 2017
UN report urges accelerated efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. (UN News)
If the world is to eradicate poverty, address climate change and build peaceful, inclusive societies for all by 2030, greater efforts are needed to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a United Nations report presented today by Secretary-General António Guterres.
“Implementation has begun, but the clock is ticking,” stated Mr. Guterres. “This report shows that the rate of progress in many areas is far slower than needed to meet the targets by 2030.”
Using the most recent data available, the annual SDGs report provides an overview of the world''s implementation efforts to date, highlighting areas of progress and areas where more action needs to be taken to ensure no one is left behind.
Despite advances, accelerated efforts needed
While nearly a billion people have escaped extreme poverty since 1999, about 767 million people remained destitute in 2013, most of whom live in fragile situations.
Despite major advances, an alarmingly high number of children under age five are still affected by malnutrition. In 2016, an estimated 155 million children under five years of age were stunted.
Between 2000 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 37 per cent and the under-five mortality rate fell by 44 per cent. However, 303,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth and 5.9 million children under age five died worldwide in 2015.
In the area of sustainable energy, while access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking climbed to 57 per cent in 2014, up from 50 per cent in 2000, more than 3 billion people, lacked access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, which led to an estimated 4.3 million deaths in 2012.
From 2015 to 2016, official development assistance rose by 8.9 per cent in real terms to $142.6 billion, reaching a new peak. But bilateral aid to the least developing countries fell by 3.9 per cent in real terms.
Progress is uneven
The benefits of development are not equally shared. On average, women spent almost triple the amount of time on unpaid domestic and care work as men, based on data from 2010 to 2016.
Economic losses from natural hazards are now reaching an average of $250 billion to $300 billion a year, with a disproportionate impact on small and vulnerable countries.
Despite the global unemployment rate falling from 6.1 per cent in 2010 to 5.7 per cent in 2016, youth were nearly three times more likely than adults to be without a job. In 2015, 85 per cent of the urban population used safely managed drinking water services, compared to only 55 per cent of rural population.
“Empowering vulnerable groups is critical to ending poverty and promoting prosperity for everyone, everywhere,” stated Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
Harnessing the power of data
Effectively tracking progress on the SDGs requires accessible, reliable, timely and disaggregated data at all levels, which poses a major challenge to national and international statistical systems.
While data availability and quality have steadily improved over the years, statistical capacity still needs strengthening worldwide. The global statistical community is working to modernize and strengthen systems to address all aspects of production and use of data for the SDGs.
The SDGs Report 2017 is based on the latest available data on selected indicators of the global SDG indicator framework, prepared by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) with inputs from a large number of international and regional organizations.
* The Sustainabale Development Goals Report 2017:
* 2017 HLPF Thematic Review of SDG 1: End Poverty in All its Forms Everywhere:
10 July 2017
The SDG Index and Dashboards Report, by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, among others, presents a report card of country performance on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, which aims to help countries identify priority areas for action to achieve all 17 SDGs.
The Index finds that every country faces “major challenges” in achieving the SDGs, with the top five performing countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and the Czech Republic) scoring “red” on at least one SDG, particularly environmental SDGs. Additional findings include: poor countries face challenges on SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) and environmental SDGs (SDGs 13, 14, 15); and rich countries face particular challenges on SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 10, SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals).
The Index highlights “spillover effects” on the SDGs, stating that rich countries’ actions affect other countries’ ability to achieve the SDGs, such as environmental spillovers from the use of global commons like the oceans or unfair tax competition by tax havens. The Index calls for investments in strengthening data collection and statistical capacity in all countries, including to improve the measurement of international spillover effects.
* NB: This report is 490 pages in length:
July 2017
Poverty Eradication Cluster – Position paper for HLPF 2017. (Together 2030)
Poverty is a state that should not only be defined by a lack of income but also as a set of multiple and cumulative deprivations in the access of fundamental human rights and dignity such as the right to food and nutrition, access to education, health, housing, decent work, lack of political voice and power.
Multi-dimensionality of poverty and interconnectedness of dimensions need to be recognized to design policies and programs that tackle poverty in a comprehensive and holistic way. Poverty has strong structural causes and governments, in this regard, have a crucial role to play in addressing these root causes and creating an enabling environment for each segment of the population to be able to enjoy their rights and have their dignity respected.
Member States ought to start with the political reforms to make the ‘Right to live in dignity’ a fundamental right in their constitution – without which ending poverty will remain as a slogan. Addressing poverty has to be essentially linked to reducing inequalities.
Clear identification of the vulnerable and marginalized groups is needed such as women, children, persons with disabilities, the elderly, victims of sexual orientation discriminations, Indigenous communities, members of castes and outcasts (Dalits), (un)documented migrants, refugees etc.
For many of these groups or individuals, constant stigmatization and discriminations push them into a vicious circle of poverty, powerlessness and exclusion.
For children, poverty has devastating effects due to their particular life stage that lead to lifelong consequences. To be able to break this negative circle, approaches to end poverty should be based on the values of human and environmental rights, democracy and justice (goal 16). People living in poverty should be seen as rights-holders and recognized as active agents in the fight against poverty.
Institutionalizing participatory decision-making and implementation processes in a decentralized and inclusive manner are fundamental in order to leave no one behind.
Fostering a new model of development that is inclusive and sustainable for all is vital for poverty reduction. In accordance with ILO Recommendation n°202, the multi-pronged approach to address poverty should start with creating or strengthening national mechanisms of Social Protection which includes – in unambiguous terms – ending hunger by adequate provisions of food and nutrition for all (goal 2), provisions of free basic health facilities for the poor and affordable other health facilities (goal 3), safe and affordable housing (goal 11), free and compulsory universal elementary education (Goal 4) and water and sanitation (goal 6), access to full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value (goal 8).
In connection with goal 2 on sustainable production and consumption, agriculture plays a major role for the poorest communities in LDCs and middle-income countries and as such, needs promotion, product storage facilities, processing and marketing, insurance against loss etc.
The informal sector gives employment to the poorest. Here, legal protection needs to be developed to promote decent work and cover not only informal workers but also give protection to migrant labors. In addition, sustainable models of agriculture that promote alternative systems that respect local indigenous practices should be encouraged as well as the establishment of cooperative means of ownership and production.
Gradual switching over to green development model, extensive measures for resilience against climate change and disaster are key. Innovative solutions towards technology transfer and increase of the quantum of development cooperation associated with adequate financing need urgent attention, if we want to fully achieve the Goals by 2030.
July 2017
1.45 billion people from 103 countries are multi-dimensionally poor. Half the World’s Poor are Children. Report from the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI)
New Oxford University research on global poverty exposes disturbing extent of the challenges facing UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals over the eradication of child poverty.
Across the 103 low and middle income countries surveyed, children are found to constitute 34% of the total population – but 48% of the poor, based on a measure that assesses a range of deprivations in health, education and living standards.
According to the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), nearly two out of every five children – 37%, forming a total of 689 million children – are multi-dimensionally poor. Some 87% of these 689 million poor children are growing up in South Asia and in Sub-Saharan Africa – 300 million in each region. Half of South Asia’s children and two thirds of Sub-Saharan children are multi-dimensionally poor. These numbers are truly staggering.
The child poverty report finds that half of multi-dimensionally poor children live in ‘alert’ level fragile states, and child poverty levels are highest in the fragile states.
The report disaggregates the latest figures for the 2017 Global Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) by age group to analyse the particular situation of 1.8 billion children who live in 103 countries. The international definition of a child, used here, is anyone less than 18 years of age.
Global MPI estimates are higher for children than for adults in all 103 countries. Children are also deprived in more indicators at the same time. In 36 countries, including India, at least half of all children are MPI poor. In Ethiopia, Niger and South Sudan over 90% of all children are MPI poor.
Sabina Alkire, director of OPHI at the University of Oxford, says: “These new results are deeply disturbing as they show that children are disproportionately poor when the different dimensions of poverty are measured. This is a wake-up call to the international community which has adopted the global Sustainable Development Goals and takes seriously Goal 1, the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions. Children are our future workers, parents and citizen/voters. Investing in them brings benefits now and also into the future.”
The new report investigates poverty across 5.4 billion people. Of these, 1.45 billion people are MPI poor, some 26.5% of the people living in 103 countries. Some 48% of these poor people live in South Asia, and 36% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over one billion MPI poor people live in middle income countries.
Fulfilling the SDG’s aim to end poverty in all its forms and dimensions, the Global MPI complements measures based on income and directly measures 10 indicators reflecting poor health, a lack of education and low living standards. In 2017, MPI estimations for Algeria and El Salvador were added, and MPI statistics were updated for 23 other countries including China, India, Mexico, and South Africa.
Turning to the poorest of the poor, OPHI found that nearly half of all MPI poor people are destitute - 706 million - so experience extreme deprivations such as severe malnutrition.
Destitution rates are the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, where in six countries and 117 subnational regions, more than half of citizens live in destitution. But India alone is home to more destitute people than Sub-Saharan Africa (295 million vs 282 million), and Pakistan is home to more destitute people (37 million) than either East Asia and Pacific (26 million) or the Arab States (26 million).
The global MPI can also be disaggregated by disability status. In Uganda, 22% of people live in a household where one member experiences severe disability, and MPI in these households is higher (76% vs 69%). As disability data improve, disability disaggregation for the global MPI will become standard.
Disaggregated analysis of the MPI is also available for 988 subnational regions. The poorest regions in the world are in Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, and Afghanistan.
Inside Afghanistan poverty rates vary from 25% in Kabul to 95% in Urozgan. Within Myanmar, where 30% of people are poor on average, poverty rates rise to 51% in Rakhine State.
And in two of Chad’s regions Lac and Wadi Fira, 98-99% of people are poor. But how people are poor, differs. In Lac, 34% of people are poor and have experienced a child death, in Wadi Fira it’s 20%. But in Wadi Fira, 97% of people lack clean drinking water, whereas in Lac it’s 64%. So even between two extremely poor regions, policy responses need to differ.
The global MPI provides a headline figure showcasing poverty in all its forms and dimensions. Yet it is also broken down to show in detail the steps needed to change the poverty story – particularly and urgently for the rising generation of younger people.
July 2017
Non-­Governmental Organizations (NGO) Major Group Official Position Paper for the UN 2017 High-­Level Political Forum. (Summary)
The 2017 High Level Political Forum addresses the theme “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world,” an imperative that is also a prerequisite for sustainable peace.
Achieving these aims will not be possible unless the structural and systemic barriers to achievement -­ and root causes of exploitation and degradation of the environment -­ are addressed. Current neoliberal macroeconomic policy is a major driver of unequal distribution of wealth and power and the destruction of natural resources, and must be reconsidered and replaced.
Notions of development based entirely on economic growth present a myopic view of progress and must be discarded, and corporations must be held to account for their social and environmental records.
We call for a new development paradigm which furthers the well-­being of humans, nature and animals, and which sees as its ultimate aim the achievement of equity and justice, to “leave no one behind.”
The practical contributions of civil society are a distinct and important element of this process. The NGO Major Group therefore calls on the United Nations and its Member States to increase the engagement of civil society, by soliciting more extensive inputs from Major Groups and other Stakeholders, and providing their translation into the six UN languages.
Allowing ample time for meaningful engagement of civil society in SDG implementation and review processes is essential at global, regional and national levels.
Each country is responsible for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in consultation with its people, to address collective challengesfrom a place of shared endeavour.
From individuals to local authorities to national ministries to UN agencies, each must take ownership of the Goals in their particular contexts – acknowledging that all Goals are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.
The NGO Major Group recommends the following regarding the SDGs under review in 2017:
Goal 1: Addressing the causes and manifestations of structural poverty requires holistic, context-­specific solutions interlinked with all other goals. Governments should report on their efforts to increase opportunities, wellbeing, and resilience among all sectors of society.
Goal 2: To end hunger and all forms of malnutrition, we must change our agricultural production from high-­input, industrial exploitation towards systems that support smallholders’ livelihoods and preserve cultures and biodiversity.
Goal 3: Efforts to achieve health-­related targets should prioritize the full spectrum of services from promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliation. Governments must endeavour to remove social, cultural, and economic barriers to ensure full access to affordable, quality physical and mental health services for all.
Goal 5: Obstacles to the actualization of gender equality and the fundamental rights of women and girls should be overcome through implementing laws and policies that prohibit discrimination, redistribute unpaid care work, promote equality in access to resources, education, and decision-­making, in alignment with internationally agreed conventions and standards..
In keeping with the commitment to “Leave No One Behind,” the full position paper of the Non-Governmental Organizations Group (150 members) details the ways in which the SDGs are interconnected, locally applicable yet requiring universal commitment, and essential for the eradication of poverty and promotion of prosperity for all.
* NGO Major Group Position Paper (14 Page):
July 2017
Spotlight on Sustainable Development (Reflections Group)
The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted unanimously by UN Member States in September 2015 comprehensively address major global problems, such as accelerating global warming, growing inequalities, poverty, gender-based discrimination, violence and conflict, and the structural flaws of the global economic and financial systems. The 2030 Agenda is universal. No country can deem itself to be sustainably developed and having already done its part to meet the SDGs.
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and social movements, while continuing to advance transformative agendas far more ambitious than the 2030 Agenda, play a key role as independent watchdogs in holding governments, international organizations, International Financial Institutions, and Multilateral Development Banks as well as transnational corporations accountable for their contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
This is particularly relevant with regard to the rich and powerful actors in the global system, given their economic influence and political weight in international decision making.
Severe obstacles to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda have already been identified by these watchdogs. For too long, economic development has been shaped by a widespread acceptance of neoliberal policies pushed by the international financial institutions and corporate think tanks as the ‘only alternative’.
Too often, inequitable trade, investment, and monetary rules and policies have exacerbated poverty and inequalities between and within countries. Economic policies oriented to growth at all costs provide the drive to exploit nature, rely on fossil fuels and deplete biodiversity.
Countries compete in a race to the bottom, offering lower taxes and diluted labour rights to attract investment with no corresponding obligation to provide decent work. The power of investors and big corporations is continually strengthened through deregulation, trade and financial liberalization, tax cuts and exemptions, reduced labour standards, and the privatization of public goods.
These policies have weakened the role of the State and its ability to fulfill its human rights and sustainable development commitments.
The Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, created in 2011 to offer independent analysis and suggestions to the international debate, decided in 2015 to regularly watch and assess the implementation of the new Agenda and the structural obstacles in its realization, and to present its findings in an annual “Spotlight Report”. The report is supported by a range of CSOs and trade unions, and based on the experiences and reports by national and regional groups and coalitions from all parts of the world.
After the successful launch of the pilot report 2016, this 2017 edition focuses on privatization, partnerships, corporate capture and their impact on sustainability and inequality.

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