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SDG #1

A Global Commitment to Eradicating Poverty

Poverty is a persistent global challenge that affects millions of people around the world. It not only deprives individuals of their basic needs but also hampers their access to education, healthcare, and opportunities for a better life. Acknowledging the urgency of addressing this issue, the United Nations has included "No Poverty" as the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this blog, as part of an upcoming series on the SDGs, we will explore SDG goal 1 and delve into the importance of eradicating poverty to build a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

Let’s start by understanding SDG 1: No Poverty

Poverty has gained significant attention on the global development agenda ever since its inclusion in the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. It has consistently been recognised as a priority in various high-level stakeholder engagements and discussions, including the 2017 High-Level Political Forum and the Rio+20 outcome document "The Future We Want." These engagements aim to tackle the underlying causes and obstacles of poverty through comprehensive and unified strategies at all levels. The primary objective of the initial Sustainable Development Goal is to eradicate poverty in all its manifestations globally. However, the goal goes beyond merely lifting people out of extreme poverty; it also seeks to ensure everyone has access to basic services, social protection systems, and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. This goal encompasses seven specific targets, including the significant reduction in the percentage of people of all ages living in poverty, and the implementation of suitable social protection systems and measures for everyone. By 2030, the aim is to achieve significant coverage of impoverished and vulnerable populations.

Why it Matters.

Current Issues

The global population living in extreme poverty has increased by 70 million, surpassing 700 million individuals. These people face significant challenges in meeting necessities such as healthcare, education, water, and sanitation. The global extreme poverty rate stands at 9.3 percent, up from 8.4 percent in 2019. While the majority of individuals living on less than $1.90 a day are concentrated in Subsaharan Africa and South Asia. Accounting for approximately 70% of the global total of extremely poor people. Additionally, poverty has been observed to be more prevalent in rural areas with a Poverty rate of 17.2%, which is more than three times higher than in urban areas.

Understanding Why

  • Human Dignity and Social Justice: Poverty undermines human dignity and social justice. By addressing poverty, we can empower individuals, restore their agency, and promote equal opportunities for all, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

  • Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Poverty often traps individuals and communities in a vicious cycle, where lack of access to education, healthcare, and decent jobs perpetuates their impoverished conditions. SDG goal 1 aims to break this cycle by providing the necessary tools and resources to enable individuals to escape poverty permanently.

  • Reducing Inequalities: Poverty is closely intertwined with inequality. By eradicating poverty, we can reduce disparities in income, wealth, and opportunities, fostering a more inclusive society where everyone can thrive.

  • Sustainable Development: Poverty is both a cause and consequence of unsustainable development practices. By addressing poverty, we can create more sustainable economies and societies, ensuring that no one is left behind in the journey toward a greener and more equitable future.

What Can Be Done

  • Social Protection Programs: Establishing and strengthening social protection systems, such as cash transfer programs, universal healthcare, and pension schemes, can provide a safety net for the most vulnerable populations and help lift them out of poverty. This should be centered on the principle of inclusivity.

  • Access to Basic Services: Ensuring universal access to quality education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation, and affordable housing is crucial for poverty eradication. Investments in infrastructure and service delivery are essential to bridge existing gaps.

  • Job Creation and Economic Growth: Sustainable economic growth, coupled with the promotion of decent work, entrepreneurship, and skills development, can provide opportunities for income generation and poverty reduction.

  • Targeted Interventions: Tailored interventions for specific groups, such as women, children, persons with disabilities, and marginalised communities, can address the unique challenges they face in escaping poverty and promote inclusivity.

  • Financial Inclusion: Facilitating access to financial services, such as savings accounts, credit, and insurance, enables individuals and communities to manage risks, invest in their future, and escape poverty.

  • Policy Coherence and Global Partnerships: Collaboration between governments, international organisations, civil society, and the private sector is vital to achieving SDG 1. Coordinated efforts, policy coherence, and resource mobilisation are necessary to make substantial progress in poverty eradication.

Concluding Thought: The first Sustainable Development Goal, No Poverty (SDG 1), reflects a global commitment to addressing one of the most critical challenges of our time. By adopting a comprehensive and inclusive approach to poverty eradication, we can create a world where every individual can live a life of dignity, free from the burdens of poverty. Moreover, the achievement of SDG 1 has the potential to contribute significantly to the attainment of other interconnected goals, such as quality education (SDG 4), good health and well-being (SDG 3), gender equality (SDG 5), and reduced inequalities (SDG 10). The successful realisation of SDG 1 is not only a moral imperative but also a catalyst for sustainable development, social justice, and a more prosperous future for all. Collectively, we can strive for a future where every individual is included and poverty is eradicated. In our upcoming series, we will delve into the targets and advancements made in implementing and attaining Goal 1: No Poverty.


United Nations; Poverty-eradication. SDGs Knowledge Platform., Poverty eradication | Department of Economic and Social Affairs

United Nations Sustainable Development

Why the SDGs Matter - United Nations Sustainable Development

World Bank. Overview

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1) | United Nations Western Europe. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1) | United Nations Western Europe

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