Thursday, September 26, 2013
debates about poverty often focus on raising people above an income
poverty line such as US$1.25 a day, we all know that poverty is much
more than this.
It is the suffering of hunger and poor
health, the experience of violence and discrimination, and a lack of
education, employment and healthcare. Could we be the generation to end
all of this?
Progress has already been achieved across a
range of dimensions of poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. The rate of child
deaths has fallen by 40% from 177 per 1,000 births in 1990 to 98 per
1,000 in 2012.
The percentage of children enrolled in
primary school increase from 53% to 77% in a similar time frame. In the
last decade, 185 million people have gained access to safe drinking
But that still means more than 3.2 million children die every year in Sub-Saharan Africa.
of children remain out of school and lack basic health, water and
sanitation and hundreds of millions of people continue to live below the
extreme poverty line.
The job the Millennium Development Goals – the current set of global development goals - started is not finished.
we can finish that job is a question that Save the Children and others
have been considering in the context of a global process now underway to
develop a set of global development goals to replace the MDGs when they
expire in 2015.
In a new report released on September
25, 2013, Getting to Zero, Save the Children finds we can indeed be the
generation that ends extreme poverty.
examines the prospects for ending different dimensions of poverty – or
to put it another way, getting to zero. This is the point where no one
is left behind on key development goals. The report considers the extent
to which tackling inequality and governance could accelerate progress
in those areas, namely ending preventable child deaths, ensuring
children don’t drop out of school, and achieving universal access to
water and sanitation.
The findings are clear – under
business as usual, globally, as a continent, or as a region we will not
eliminate these dimensions of poverty by 2030.
focus in on rates of child mortality in East Africa – only Malawi,
Rwanda and Tanzania will be able to end preventable child mortality by
2030 if they progress at their current pace.
will come close. Other countries will need to make a step-change in
their rates of progress – if current trends continue by 2030 Kenya will
still have a child mortality rate of 32 per 1,000, Uganda would be at 40
per 1,000, Sudan at 61 and South Sudan at 71.
greater concern in the region are Burundi, which is predicted to still
see one in ten of its children die before their fifth birthday and
Somalia, where progress has stalled since 1990 with one in six children
dying from preventable causes.
However, our analysis
shows that reducing income inequality and improving governance
accelerates rates of change considerably, bringing us much closer to our
zero goals in the region.
For child mortality,
tackling income inequality and governance could mean saving an
additional 850,000 lives a year in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 and ending
most preventable child deaths.
And by taking extra
steps to provide assistance to reach the poorest and most marginalised
people and invest in proven solutions for service delivery, we could
achieve zero goals in all of these areas.
We could be the generation that ends extreme poverty.
findings are remarkable. They remind us how far we’ve come since the
MDGs were agreed in 2002 and set out some of the key steps needed to
finally eliminate extreme poverty from the planet.
will be harder in some countries and regions to achieve these goals,
either because they are starting from a more challenging position or a
struggling with conflict and fragility.
Africa, if successful in making the necessary changes in inequality and
governance that our analysis suggests, the region would need to
accelerate child mortality reduction by a further 4% a year to end
preventable child deaths and accelerate access to water by just 1% a
year to achieve universal access.
While this will of
course be challenging, similar dramatic improvements have been achieved
in the region in short periods of time. For example, Rwanda achieved an
average reduction in child mortality of over 10% a year between 2000
and 2011, and Liberia and Malawi of over 6%.
need now is a strong and ambitious global development framework that is
capable of translating the lessons of such positive experiences and our
analysis on what is in theory possible by 2030 into reality.
leaders are gathering in New York this week to discuss exactly this.
They must work toward a new framework with zero goals and concrete
targets to spur the action that we know will be needed to achieve them
–to tackle inequality, improve governance and strengthen development
partnerships so that all countries and socioeconomic groups can get to