The UN looks to end poverty – but not yet

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The outcomes of the UN General Assembly Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is now available.  There are 17 SDGs and 169 targets, including 62 targets in relation to implementation.  These proposals will now be submitted to the UN General Assembly for consideration. The 17 goals are:

1   End poverty in all its forms everywhere

2   End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

3   Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

4   Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

5   Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

6   Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

7   Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all

8   Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

9   Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

10   Reduce inequality within and among countries

11   Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable .

12   Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13   Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

14   Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

15   Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

16   Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

17   Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

It’s easy to be cynical about some of these glib-sounding aspirations; for example, End poverty in all its forms everywhere.  However, if you look at the proposed targets, things get more detailed, and in many instances, more meaningful.  For example,

1.1. by 2030 eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day

1.2. 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

1.3 implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable

1.4 by 2030 ensure that all men and women, particularly 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 microfinance

1.5. 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

1.a. ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular LDCs, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions

1.b. create sound policy frameworks, at national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investments in poverty eradication actions

All this sounds absolutely worthwhile, unless you're misguided enough to think that poverty's necessary to help keep the global population down.  But note the switch here from absolute to poverty to relative poverty.  Realistic, I thought, given that the poor have always been with us, and. relatively speaking, likely always will no matter what the UN does.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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