The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes ending poverty as “the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development” (UN, 2015). The validity of this statement is clear if one takes into account the 836 million people living in extreme poverty today and the many more who make just enough money to escape a critical situation but who have no quality of life to speak of. To end poverty is a tremendous task, indeed.
The people living in extreme poverty lack any semblance of food security. They do not have access to basic services, to health-care and education, and oftentimes they lack even a roof over their heads. Children are the most affected by this situation. Undernourishment, as a consequence of poverty is a key factor in neonatal deaths, and deaths of children under the age of five. It also stunts growth and mental faculties, with 1 in 7 children under the age of five having inadequate height for their age. These children are being born and raised at a disadvantage, which is a tremendous loss of potentially brilliant minds. Mankind must end poverty because everyone has the right to live beyond just existing. Moreover, the human race is currently wasting 836 million people who could be a part of a joint effort towards a sustainable future, where prosperity and peace are commonplace and no one is left behind.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development does not only seek to minimize extreme poverty, it seeks to end poverty altogether. This is contemplated in Global Goal 1, which is stated on the Agenda as follows:
GLOBAL GOAL 1: END POVERTY IN ALL ITS FORMS EVERYWHERE
- 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 microfinance.
- 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.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development also contemplated general guidelines to end poverty by 2030. These guidelines are meant to be adapted to the reality of each nation, all of which are expected to cooperate at the regional and global level to solve this issue. These guidelines are:
- 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 actions.
It is of the utmost importance that all nations develop and implement plans regarding to end poverty as soon as possible. All of the SDGs are necessary for designing and reaching a sustainable future for the global community and as such, they cannot be divided or neglected in favor of others. Poverty is a crippling illness in the current day global community, and hence must be eliminated by ensuring that nobody will be left behind.