ERADICATING POVERTY

Poverty can be eradicated through short-term measures such as economic aid. But in a long term perspective it is only through economic development that poverty can be eradicated. Investments in green energy technologies and projects, and availability of energy itself for those vulnerable sections of society is a long-term measure, which contributes to economic development.

The most comprehensive poverty eradication program is the Millennium develop­ment goals adopted by UN General Assembly (2000) during the Millennium Summit 2000. World leaders issued the Millennium Declaration in which nations together agreed for the realization of some time bound targets. The targeted goals concerning development and capability enhancement of poor and vulnerable which came to be known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The declaration set 2015 as tar­get date for achieving most of the development goals. The MDGs aims to achieve a comprehensive development objective which includes, 1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, 2) Achieve universal primary education, 3) Promote gender equality and empower women, 4) Reduce child mortality, 5) Improve maternal health, 6) Com­bat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, 7) Ensure environmental sustainability, 8) Develop a global partnership for development. These eight goals are with 18 tar­gets and a series of 48 measurable indicators. Progress of the MDGs are constantly measured and is evaluated, latest one being the MDG report 2009.

According the MDG report (2009) which evaluate progress of the set goals, due to economic crises, there has been a slow down in progress of the goal aimed to reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty. An estimated 55 million to 90 million more people will be living in extreme poverty than anticipated before crises. Likewise, the prevalence of hunger is also on the rise, from 16 percent in 2006 to 17 percent in 2008. The ongoing economic crises may lead to higher global unemployment; rates and could reach 6.1 to 7.0 per cent for men and 6.5 to 7.4 per cent for women in 2009. The recession could prevent an increased aid flow of official development assistance from developed countries, as most of the OECD countries are undergoing economic difficulties. At the same time, during last nine years, remarkable progress has been made in many areas such as overall reduction in extreme poverty, infant mortality, protection of ozone and outstandingly, increase in the number of enrolments in primary education.

In the preface of MDG report (2009), the UN Secretary General notes,

This report shows that the right policies and actions, backed by adequate funding and strong political commitment, can yield results. Fewer people today are dying of AIDS, and many countries are implementing proven strategies to combat malaria and measles, two major killers of children. The world is edging closer to universal primary education, and we are well on our way to meeting the target for safe drinking water.

Though necessary, successful completion of MDGs depends on many factors. Nine years passed and five more years left for the world to achieve MDGs in the stipulated time frame. Two significant developments wield considerable impact on the develop­ment planned in the millennium declaration. The ongoing economic crises and climate change could affect the success in achieving MDGs. As it is clear from MDG report 2009, decrease in flow of ODA (Official development assistance) could affect fund­ing of many development and assistance programmes. Another related aspect is the diversion of funds towards climate change mitigation efforts. The fund diversion, cli­mate change and its related consequences itself could roll back the already achieved standards in poverty eradication and the related development. As mentioned earlier, climate change will impact tropical regions of world, which is also the home for poor and vulnerable.

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