The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945. UN currently has 193 Member Countries. The purposes and principles while founding the UN drive its work and vision now. The main goal of the UN is to maintain international peace and security, form friendly relations among nations, reach international associations, and be a center for coordinating the activities of countries.
The UN can be known as one place where the world's nations can assemble, consult common concerns, and find shared solutions. United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, in 2015. It acts as a versatile call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The UN developed 17 Sustainable Development Goals and aims to achieve them by 2030. Each goal has 8–12 targets, and each target has between one and four indicators used to measure progress toward attaining the end goal. The 17 goals are combined—they realize that activity in one area will affect outcomes in others and that growth must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Countries have dedicated to prioritizing progress for those who are furthest behind. The SDGs aim to end poverty, hunger, AIDS, and discrimination against women and girls. The creativity, know-how, technology, and financial resources from humankind are essential to achieve the SDGs in every context. The 17 goals include poverty, education, health, hunger, clean energy, equality, and more.
You may hear the word sustainability everywhere now. But what does that even mean?
Sustainability means fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations while guaranteeing harmony between economic growth, environmental care, and social well-being. Having noted this factor, the UN framed the sustainability goals to enhance this earth for a better future.
The UN has formed 17 Sustainability Development Goals, and the 1st goal is No Poverty. The main target of this goal is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030.
The greatest challenge of humanity is eradicating poverty in all its forms. The number of people living in severe poverty reduces by more than half between 1990 and 2015. But still, many are struggling with the most fundamental human necessities.
In 2015, more than 700 million people, or 10 percent of the world's population lived in extreme poverty. Meeting basic needs such as healthcare, education, and access to water and sanitation was a constant struggle for them.
The rapid growth in countries like China and India has lifted millions of people out of poverty, but the progress has yet to be consistent across all regions. In addition, it is a fact that women have a higher likelihood of being poor than men. This is primarily due to the lack of paid work opportunities and education and the ownership of less property.
Other regions, such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, account for 80 percent of those living in extreme poverty. Progress to eradicate poverty in these regions is also restricted. New threats arise on climate change, conflict, and food insecurity. It means even more effort is needed to bring people out of poverty. Between 2015 and 2018, global poverty continued to decline, with the poverty rate falling from 10.1 percent in 2015 to 8.6 percent in 2018.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a reversal in the trend of poverty decline. This puts tens of millions of people in danger of falling into extreme poverty. - people living on less than $1.90/day. The global poverty rate increased sharply from 8.3 percent in 2019 to 9.2 percent in 2020, denoting the first increase in extreme poverty since 1998 and the most significant increase since 1990. It sets back poverty reduction by about three years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a setback in the steady progress made towards poverty reduction over the last 25 years. This unfortunate reversal is worsened by increasing inflation and the effects of the conflict in Ukraine. These crises combined are projected to result in an additional 75-95 million people living in extreme poverty in 2021.
Even without considering the impact of COVID-19, it was forecasted that 6% of the world's population would still be living in extreme poverty by the year 2030, which means that the goal of eradicating poverty would not be achieved.
The upcoming months and years will bring about a severe social and economic crisis for developing countries, with the pandemic pushing millions of workers into unemployment, underemployment, and working poverty.
Having a job also does not ensure a worthy living. 7.1 percent of workers and their families worldwide lived in extreme poverty in 2019, a positive decline compared to 2010, but the number will rise in light of the long-term consequences of the pandemic.
SDG 1 is a pledge to eradicate poverty in all its forms and aspects by the year 2030. This requires focusing on those who are most at risk, enhancing fundamental resources and services, and aiding communities impacted by conflict and natural disasters caused by climate change.
UN has set targets to achieve this goal by 2030. The targets include,
The pace of reducing extreme poverty started well in 2010 (15.7 percent), 2015 (10 percent), and 2019 (8.2 percent) and increases to 2020 at (8.4 to 8.8 percent). It is because the COVID-19 pandemic is flipping the poverty reduction cycle. The world's workers in extreme poverty declined from 14.3 to 8.3 to 7.1 percent in 2010, 2015, and 2019, respectively.
According to a 2018 report, China has contributed more than 70 percent of the world's poverty reduction. Over the past four decades, China has reduced the rural poor by 739.9 million through a series of policy and institutional reforms. China's poverty reduction methods include development-oriented poverty alleviation, improving the self-development capacity of the poor, and poverty alleviation methods. These can be a reference for other developing countries to reduce poverty.
2016 data states that about 4 billion people did not benefit from any form of social protection, which is critical to help the most vulnerable. Half of the world's population still lacks full coverage of essential health services. Only 22 percent of unemployed workers come under unemployment benefits.
A total of 80 countries reported disaster-related losses for 2018, including 23,458 deaths and 2,164 persons missing. More than 39 million persons were affected, and the livelihoods of 29 million were destroyed. In terms of direct economic losses, countries report $23.6 billion, 73 percent of which is in the agricultural sector
The UN has several indicators to measure the above-said targets. Based on these indicators, the progress of the goal is determined.
Poverty has many dimensions, but its reasons include unemployment, social exclusion, and the high vulnerability of certain populations to disasters, diseases, and other phenomena which prevent them from being productive.
The COVID-19 pandemic will have both immediate and long-term economic impacts on people worldwide. To minimize the effects and prevent poverty, it is crucial to have robust social protection systems in place. However, 55 percent of the world’s population – about 4 billion people – did not benefit from any form of social protection in 2016. Moreover, only 22% of unemployed workers were eligible for unemployment benefits.
There are many reasons, but in short, as human beings, our well-being is linked to each other. Increasing inequality can have negative impacts on economic growth and social harmony. It can lead to political and social tensions, resulting in instability and conflicts in extreme cases.
By acting on the above points, you can bring your commitment to achieving the goal by 2030.