Currently, ten percent of the world’s people live in extreme poverty. In 2010 it was 16 per cent and 36 per cent in 1990. Things have improved, but dig a little deeper and the picture is not so positive. There is another way to understand the statistic; Firstly, there are almost one billion people who cannot earn enough to look after themselves and their families. That is as much as all the people in China or India, or that live on the African continent.
Secondly, the pace of reducing poverty is getting slower. In 2018, only 8.6% more people were predicted to be out of poverty. Thirdly, it has been suggested that six per cent of the world population will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030. This means we will miss the target of SDG 1, ending poverty, if that prediction comes true. Sure, the decline of global extreme poverty continues, but it isn’t happening fast enough.
Social protection systems help prevent and reduce poverty and provide a safety net for the vulnerable. But social protection is not a reality for many of the world’s population, especially those who live in African countries. Governments aren’t able or willing to help their citizens to live in the most basic way. When there are events like natural disasters governments can’t or wont be able to help their citizens recover. Almost all of the deaths reported internationally were due to disaster events in poorer countries.
From 1998 to 2017, direct economic losses from disasters claimed an estimated 1.3 million lives. Only one out of every three countries spends between more than enough on education, as recommended in the Education 2030 Framework for Action.
Countries have reported progress in the development and implementation of national and local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. In March 2019, 67 countries reported progress in such alignment and 24 countries reported that their respective local governments had developed local strategies consistent with national strategies and plans.
Strong social protection systems and government spending on key services often help those left behind get back on their feet and escape poverty, but these services need to be improved.
What will it take for leaders and their governments to realise how valuable people are in their countries and take action to make their lives better?