Goal 1 aims to end all forms of poverty, including extreme poverty (those living under $1.25 per day) and relative poverty (defined at a national level). Poverty is inextricably linked to a number of other Goals – hunger, health, education, gender equality, etc. – and addressing it requires systemic solutions that cut across Goals. There is a particular connection between poverty and areas of conflict and disaster. At the end of 2016, a record 65 million people were displaced, with 20 new displacements every minute.
Although the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day halved between 2002 and 2012, 1 in 8 people worldwide remain in extreme poverty. This continues to be a regional challenge, with 1 in 5 people in developing markets living below the threshold. According to the World Bank, 78% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and are poorly educated.
Opportunities & Challenges
Central to achieving the goal of poverty alleviation is the provision of social assistance and protection systems, as well as the rights to economic resources and basic services.
Access to information: Accessing relevant information on employment, health, education and social services can have a significant impact on poverty alleviation. Rural areas are particularly impacted by lack of access to information. Exchange of information can drive innovation and productivity, and enable inclusive economic development through finding employment or improving of livelihoods (e.g. access to markets for small-scale food producers).
Unregistered people: For the world’s poor, a lack of identification is a barrier to accessing services and legal ownership. Unregistered people face challenges accessing healthcare, social services, education and housing. Globally, 1.1 billion people are without proper identification and one in three children under the age of five does not officially exist because their birth has not been recorded.
Access to social protection: Benefits and support for children, mothers of newborns, the disabled, the aged, the poor and the unemployed are essential for reducing poverty across peoples’ lives. While social protections have expanded globally since 2000, only 1 out of 5 people received any form of social protection in low-income countries (compared with 2 out of 3 in upper-middle income countries).
Resilience to shocks and disasters: Given the connection between poverty and conflict and disaster, building resilient communities will be critical to reducing poverty. Climate change is expected to increase the number of displaced people over the next 30 years, with estimates of ‘climate refugees’ ranging from 200 million to 750 million. Predicting crises and optimizing response and recovery tactics will be key to managing shocks and disasters.
Monitoring and measurement: Governments need to develop effective approaches for monitoring and measuring poverty rates in order to define poverty and focus policies and programs for poverty reduction. This requires tools for reaching broad samples of people to understand their experiences as well as for analysis and insights.
I see smartphones in developing countries as really key to creating and leveraging opportunities for us to create a meaningful life at the individual level.Sherman Indhul, Transnet
Digital technologies represent a significant opportunity to increase global economic inclusion. but we will only get there by adopting – and putting resources behind – business models which are equitable and empowering for marginalized communities.Mark Rose, Fauna & Flora International
Technology in action
Digital identification: A lack of identification and records can be a barrier to accessing financial services which can provide secure, accessible and authentic registration. In Uganda, the National Identification and Registration Authority in partnership with Uganda Telecom is implementing a mobile vital records system whereby webbased applications and mobile phones are used to register births and deaths. Advances in computing can provide digital identities through open source software installed as standard into every smartphone or wearable. Mobile network operators can offer digital identity servers which unlock access to e-government services, such as Mobile Connect.
Data Collection: Digital technology enables innovative data collection methods to measure and monitor poverty and living conditions to inform planning and policymaking. The World Bank’s ‘Pulse of South Sudan’ initiative aims to fill the data gap in Sudan by using tablets to document the livelihoods, consumption patterns and perceptions of South Sudanese citizens. Orbital provides satellite imagery to estimate numbers of people living below the poverty line. Expanded technologies in this space can help governments strategically provision social services.Get Involved