Tag: Millennium Development Goals

In the developed countries of 2015, extreme poverty is (or should be) a thing of the past. With well-developed welfare states and hence safety nets, no-one should be living in deep poverty. However, that is not the case across the rest of the world, where extreme poverty is still a common thing – though much reduced compared to a decade ago.

In the article linked below, Linda Yueh of the BBC asks whether it is possible to end global poverty. Looking at some of the key data, we are certainly moving in the right direction, with the poverty rate in the developing world halving since 1981. Projections suggest that ending global poverty by 2030 is possible, though it will require significant investment and commitment. The World Bank data indicates that 50 million people would need to be brought out of poverty every year. Economists, on the other hand, suggest that the poverty rate may have fallen to around 8% – still progress, but perhaps a more realistic target?

How we measure poverty is clearly important here, as the higher the threshold income required to be ‘out of poverty’, the longer it will take and the more people will currently be in poverty. It is also important to consider things like changes in the population as although more people may be brought out of poverty, if an even greater number of people are being born in a country, then it is entirely possible that poverty actually increases in absolute terms.

A key thing to bear in mind when it comes to reducing poverty is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ policy. What works in one country is not necessarily going to work in another country. Policies will have to be targeted to the needs of the population and this means more time and resources. The numbers are definitely moving in the right direction, but whether they are going quickly enough to meet the 2030 target is another story. The BBC News article is linked below, as are some interesting documents and items from the World Bank and United Nations.

Is it possible to end global poverty? BBC News, Linda Yueh (27/3/15)
Poverty will only end by 2030 if growth is shared World Bank, Espen Beer Prydz (19/11/14)
Far greater effort needed to eradicate extreme poverty in world’s poorest nations United Nations News Centre (23/10/14)
Ending Poverty and Sharing Prosperity World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund, Global Monitoring Report 2014/2015 2015


  1. What is poverty and how to we measure it?
  2. If the growth rate of the world is high, does this mean that poverty is falling?
  3. What factors have explained the success of China in reducing poverty? Why might similar policies be ineffective in Africa? What types of policies would you recommend to reduce global poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa?
  4. Does Aid or Debt Forgiveness from developed countries help poorer nations or could it create a moral hazard?
  5. How important is economic growth in eliminating global poverty?
  6. How important are the Millennium Development Goals in driving efforts to eradicate global poverty?
  7. What are the 3 elements that the Global Monitoring Report focuses on to make growth inclusive and sustainable? In each case, explain how the elements would contribute towards global efforts to end poverty.

“10 million children die each year from preventable, poverty-related diseases; there are 1.4 billion people in the world surviving on less than $1.25 a day; and more than 70 million primary school-age children are out of school”. The Millennium Development Goals were targets set by the developed world to try to improve this situation by 2015. However, although world leaders met in September 2008 to renew their commitments to meeting these goals, the financial crisis has drawn attention away from these issues and focused most governments on narrower, domestic goals.

Women are key to fighting poverty BBC News Online (23/9/08)
A stagnant promise Guardian (24/9/08)


  1. Summarise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the progress that has been achieved towards meeting them.
  2. Assess the policies that have been adopted by developed countries to try to achieve the MDGs. Are they the most appropriate way to achieve these ends?
  3. Discuss whether the financial crisis has made it more difficult to achieve the targets set out by the MDGs.

At the turn of the century, the UN Development Programme identified a series of seven Millennium Development Goals (http://www.undp.org/mdg/). The article linked to below from the Guardian, considers the progress that has been made towards these goals. Urgent progress is required if the goals are to be met by the target date of 2015.

Poverty, hunger and disease: so much done yet so much left to do Guardian (10/12/07)


1. What are the seven Millennium Development Goals.
2. Discuss the action that is required if the goals are to be met by the target date of 2015.
3. Analyse the extent to which an increase in overseas aid will help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.