SDG 1: No Poverty highlights the manifestations of poverty: hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making.1 While global poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 2000, one in ten people in developing regions are still living on less than the international poverty line of US$1.90 a day, and millions more make little more than this daily amount. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality. Social protection systems need to be implemented to help alleviate suffering and provide support in the face of economic disruption. These systems will help to end extreme poverty.2 SDG 1 is further refined by targets that can be more readily translated into actions. These targets highlight the interconnected nature of the goals: For example, strategies to achieve No Poverty are intertwined with those that address SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). Below are a series of synergies that can come from providing access to products, services and systems that work toward No Poverty.
Access to Fair Treatment and Equal Opportunity
Global economic relationships keep power and influence in the hands of the few rather than the many.3 For the global economy to serve the greatest number of people, nations must prioritize reducing economic inequality.4 Similarly, corporations and small businesses that do not value and treat everyone fairly perpetuate inequality and poverty. The inequality that is often built into government and corporate systems and structures creates systemic barriers to opportunity that keep families and communities trapped in a perpetual and often inter-generational cycle of poverty.5
Access to Financial Services
Those in poverty often lack the funds to warrant a traditional account, transportation to a physical bank, the right personal documentation, or trust in financial institutions. To combat poverty, unbanked and underbanked people must have access to tools including consumer protections; financial literacy training; and basic access to technology.6 Such tools must be accessible, reliable, and superior to cash. Further, increased access to financial services by women boosts their labor force participation, promoting independence, self-sufficiency, and economic stability.7 The same is true regarding greater access to capital for previously unbanked entrepreneurs.8
Access to Healthcare Services
Communities that experience a health-poverty gap have higher levels of disease and infections.9 The inability to access health care services deeply affects human productivity and perpetuates the cycle of poverty. Diseases can arise from poor nutrition, overcrowding and lack of clean water, as well as other environmental issues. Overall health is helped or hindered depending on four major factors: geographic accessibility, availability, acceptance by the given society an individual lives in, and cost of healthcare services.10 These four factors contribute to the cycle of poverty and illness.
Access to Telecommunication Systems
Improving access to technology increases economic growth by improving human capital, facilitating entrepreneurship, increasing information flow, and encouraging innovative business practices.11 People in poverty are more likely to experience hurdles in accessing technology, which exacerbates opportunity gaps and lowers chances for economic gains. For example, for students to tap into the future job market, they must have access to technology, yet in many rural and low-income communities access to the internet is limited.12 Moreover, expensive data plans are an additional barrier to entry for low-income individuals.13
Access to Education
Communities, societies, and governments that receive quality education benefit from increased economic growth and prosperity.14,15 Geography and proximity are barriers that prevent access to education; also, access to quality education can be overlooked when there are materials or programs missing in the educational process.16 Moreover, impoverished young people may have to drop out of school to provide additional financial support to their families.17
Access to Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Water is not just needed for sustenance, it is vital to the growth of food, the development of infrastructure and to personal health.18 Water is also used in manufacturing, including many water-intensive agricultural products such as cotton and coffee.19 Improved water management services can have a positive effect on economies in various ways including reducing healthcare costs that can result from unsanitary practices.20 As water grows scarcer in areas where it is needed most, it will become more expensive and more difficult to procure. Not only will the price of water be affected but also prices for products that use water in production. This will inevitably increase the cost of living for those who are already struggling.21
Access to Adequate Housing and Living Conditions
If housing is unaffordable, priority is given to other necessities such as food and education,22 further worsening living conditions. Those enduring poor living conditions are trapped in communities where there is little economic stimulation or production.23 Inadequate housing can lead to illness and the inability to contribute to society.
SDG 1: References