Trends in Global Poverty
The formulation of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) marked a broad international consensus on the need to tackle poverty on a global basis. Considerable progress has been made on achieving some of these goals, although it is widely recognised that they will not all be met by the target year of 2015. In particular, progress has been slow on goals 3 and 5 relating to gender equality and maternal mortality, and on goal 7 relating to the climate change aspects of environmental sustainability. Discussions are already underway with regard to the “post MDG” period, and the formulation of new Sustainable Development Goals.
Many of the world’s poorest people do not live in the world’s poorest countries. Rather, current trends point to growing social inequalities within many countries, with a widening gap between rich and poor people fuelling social tensions and calls for social justice.
The World Bank has recently announced that it intends to adjust its focus of interventions towards the poorest in society, mainly through boosting economic growth and increasing the income of the “bottom 40%”. Now that is certainly a laudable intention, yet the Bank may encounter some problems on the way. In fact, reaching out to the poorest people can be – in many respects – a difficult endeavour, not only for donors and development practitioners, but also for statisticians. Read more »
"How many poor people are there in the world, based on how poverty is defined where those people live?" Starting from this simple question, Andy Sumner and Ugo Gentilini of IDS have set out to revisit global geographies of poverty and aid. Challenging some fundamental assumptions of the global aid industry, their working paper and a related policy brief have stirred an intriguing and still ongoing debate. Read more »