Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development No. 1 Poverty – End Poverty in All its Forms Everywhere


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 1: Beëindig armoede overal en in al haar vormen

The wealth of the eight richest men on earth equals that of the poorest half of the world population, according to a report of Oxfam Novib (Oxfam Novib, 2017). Compared to 2011, this group has become even more exclusive with a drop from 388 people to just eight. This shocking conclusion of Oxfam Novib’s research indicates an ever-increasing gap between the richest and the poorest in the world. In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set in order to tackle the greatest problems in development countries. To many, these targets seemed impossible to realise or too positively formulated. The same was said about MDGs goal number one, i.e. to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. However, the first target to halve the amount of those with an income of less than $1.25 a day was accomplished. The number of people suffering from extreme poverty fell from 1.75 billion in 1999 to 836 million in 2015 (United Nations, 2015). This accomplishment falls flat when compared to the group of richest men on earth, which has become smaller. This calls for a more sustainable and long-term approach that will not only eradicate extreme poverty, but also creates a more balanced gap between them and the richest. However, the conclusion of Oxfam Novib should not demotivate people. As the above MDG results showed, change can still be made. Different from the MDG on eradicating poverty, the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) on poverty aims to tackle it from two perspectives. Not only should extreme poverty be eradicated for all people everywhere by 2030, the number of people living in poverty according to national definitions should be at least cut in half as well. Poverty constitutes an important factor in the creation of inequality. Hence, the focus should not only be set upon income inequality, in addition there should be an inclusive development upon gender, racism and climate change. To achieve such a change, cooperation between diverse sectors is very important. Organisations from both the public and private sector should enter into profound cooperation. The established system on which the current world economy is based has led to an elite group that today is becoming wealthier and wealthier. Therefore, new forms of entrepreneurship should be developed. The focus should be set upon the existing booming businesses, the revenues of which are higher than the GDP of some countries. Current businesses should develop and implement a strategy that is in line with the SDG agenda. Only then an all comprising result may be achieved. Social enterprises, for example, who are not only focussed on earning revenue, should be the new norm as they aim to achieve outcomes that benefit society. Existing giants should invest in local enterprises or projects in developing countries but should leave further development of those projects to locals. Those aiming to pay as little tax and to earn as much revenue as possible should be tackled. Only then will enterprises be able to contribute to the SDGs. Inequality in the world is tearing societies apart. Believing in accomplishment of the elimination of poverty is one step. Standing up for it is another. As First Vice-President Timmermans of the European Commission said during a debate on the SDGs: “If we are serious about the SDGs, we need to understand the philosophy behind them; namely that it is an integrated and universal agenda, and no longer the ‘developed world’ telling the rest of the world what they need to do. It is also us telling ourselves what we need to do.” (Timmermans, 2016).
Olivia Lin

Olivia Lin

BSc international relations and BA International Studies at Leiden University
Voorzitter Jonge Socialisten Den Haag – Leiden


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