Goal 1: End Poverty in all its Forms Everywhere
One of the main goals of development is to end poverty and to relieve the vulnerabilities that often accompany it, so it is no surprise that the first goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is that of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Poverty has long been an issue that affects people worldwide, regardless of country of origin or nationality. Under the Millennium Development Goals, which were in effect from 2000-2015, the goal to eradicate poverty was also addressed, though not achieved despite great leaps forward made on the issue. Between 1990 and 2015, the number of people living in poverty dropped by over half, which is a staggering accomplishment, but there still remains a lot to be done.
Current data has found that there are approximately 836 million people in the world still struggling under extreme poverty, unable to meet their most basic human needs. Extreme poverty means living on less than $1.25 (USD) per day and often intersects with other needs of lacking access to basic needs such as food, clean water, and sanitation. Poverty is more pervasive than just lack of resources or opportunity, it is a denial of the basic right to survival, a denial to life itself.
While poverty exists worldwide, it disparately affects countries in the Global South, with one in five persons living in extreme poverty. High poverty rates are also often found in small countries with fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Poverty is also more likely to affect women and children due to social and structural inequalities that prevent them from accessing opportunities for paid work, education, and property. Setting the goal to relieve and end poverty and its affects worldwide requires a global effort, and its pervasiveness in intersecting with other vulnerabilities makes it an excellent choice to be the foremost goal of the SDGs.
As with all the goals, in order to achieve measurable results and a guided vision towards accomplishing the SDGs, targets and indicators have been set for each goal. For Goal 1, the targets are:
- 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 property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including micro-finance
- 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 through 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 action
As the first goal of the SDGs, the global community has emphasized the importance of addressing poverty around the world. It calls for the end of suffering of millions of people, for increased livelihoods, social protection, and access to the necessities of life. It addresses the needs of those in vulnerable contexts such as conflict, fragility, and in disaster. Through the SDGs we can see the importance of collaborating and focusing on resolving poverty in the world, and to achieve this goal as part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, it is vital to work on creating inclusive economic growth, especially for the vulnerable and impoverished. Goal 1 is an essential part of this, and will provide a better future for millions of people when achieved.