Successful policies to reduce poverty

One of the great challenges of humanity is to reduce poverty. The first of the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to end poverty in all its forms. Governments and multilateral organizations continually seek to implement policies that achieve a reduction in poverty worldwide.

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Poverty in numbers

How many people on the planet are mired in poverty, how do we know if they are poor? It is difficult to measure poverty because it depends on the context and reality of each country or human group, but measurement is decisive to combat it.

Among the global strategies to obtain a broad picture of poverty is the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index. It was first published in late 2018 and is produced by the United Nations and the University of Oxford.

According to this index, in 104 countries of the world there are 1,300 million people living in poverty, half are under 18 years of age. The poverty they suffer is characterized by multiple and simultaneous deprivations.

This recent measurement does not determine poverty solely because of people’s low incomes. Being poor is not having enough money, but being poor is also not having access to the basic resources and means for a sustainable life. You live in poverty when you have serious deficiencies in nutrition, health, education, housing, access to drinking water, electricity and sanitation. In short, when living conditions are so precarious that they do not allow the full development of the human being.

Regarding monetary poverty, in 2015 there were 736 million people living on less than USD 1.90 a day. This is the amount that determines the poverty line according to the World Bank. This organization qualifies as one of the greatest achievements of humanity what happened between 1990 and 2015. In that period, 1 billion people were lifted out of poverty.

Despite the successes, the World Bank has expressed concern that extreme poverty persists in some parts of the world. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, in countries with less development, with middle incomes and in conflict situations. The agency’s projections indicate that if this trend continues, the goal of totally eradicating poverty by 2030 will not be met.

What to do then? What are the policies that have so far been successful in reducing poverty and should they continue? What measures should be incorporated or reinforced to reduce poverty?

Reduce inequality to reduce poverty

For him world Bank, the policies that have been successful in reducing poverty and that must be deepened, are based on promote inclusive growth.

According to the recommendation of the organization, the focus must continue to be to reduce inequality among the inhabitants of the countries. The World Bank advises paying special attention to increasing income gaps between the rich, less rich and poor sectors of the population.

Some of the policies that have had good results in reducing income inequality address:

  • Nutrition in early childhood to prevent malnutrition from causing delays in learning and lower school and work performance in the future.
  • Health care service coverage those who are excluded from the system.
  • Quality education, prioritizing the acquisition of knowledge and development of skills.
  • Cash transfers to poor families to buy inputs and create opportunities to generate wealth. They also serve to deal with serious situations caused by natural disasters.
  • Road construction in rural areas and electrification, have been shown to increase employment and therefore income generation.

In countries where high poverty rates persist, the World Bank recommends that a multidimensional analysis be carried out to address the complexity of the problem. This premise aims to recommend that priority should be given to solving the most serious deprivations that people suffer, especially in African countries.

The 2030 Agenda
coincides with the vision of reducing inequality to reduce poverty, considers that it’s a human rights problem.

It requires countries to define forward-looking policies to achieve sustainable, inclusive, sustained and equitable economic growth. This would be the basis for fulfilling the objective of leaving no one behind, and eliminating all discrimination and exclusion, the ferment of poverty.

In summary, the 2030 Agenda proposes that policies be oriented to:

  • Inclusive economic growth as a way to create sustainable jobs and promote equality.
  • Promote the implementation of social protection systems, especially to mitigate risks in disaster-prone countries.
  • With this measure, the response to populations affected by unexpected economic losses will be faster and more efficient. They will also help eradicate extreme poverty in the poorest areas.

As a way to continue promoting the objective of reducing poverty, the United Nations General Assembly made a decision. Proclaimed the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018-2027). The idea is that the countries continue to coordinate to achieve the objectives of eliminating poverty, within the framework of the objectives of sustainable development.

Strong education and institutions

Education is one of the ways that ensure growth and the eradication of inequalities. Particularly, girls’ education is vital for their integration into the labor market and thereby advance in reducing poverty.

Fundamental to successful poverty reduction is that State institutions are strong and capable. This was determined by the International Labor Organization during the period of fulfillment of the millennium objectives (2000 – 2015). Countries with high poverty rates, but with a capable state, reduced poverty twice as fast as countries with weak institutions.

The conclusion is that to reduce poverty it is not enough to set objectives, it is necessary to invest in strengthening the States and their institutions.

Read also: Policies to combat drug trafficking

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