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No Poverty


SDG 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms worldwide. Its targets include ensuring that all people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, access to basic services, ownership and control over land, natural resources and new technologies.


Increasing poverty is not only unjust and undermines the integrity of millions of people but also generates inequality that weakens social cohesion and is detrimental to economic growth.

The root causes of poverty - unemployment, social exclusion and the high vulnerability of certain populations to natural disasters and disease - generate inequality and lead to malnutrition, lack of access to education, discrimination and exclusion. All this increases political and social crises and tensions and encourages conflict of all kinds.

Extreme poverty is gendered: globally, for every 100 men aged 25-34 living in extreme poverty, 122 women in the same age group suffer from extreme poverty[1]. In addition, two regions account for the majority of people living below the poverty line: South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of the pandemic, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are expected to experience the largest increases in extreme poverty, with 32 million and 26 million additional people, respectively, living below the international poverty line[2].

Poverty is also expected to increase among working people. The proportion of working people living in extreme poverty had fallen over the last decade (from 14.3 % in 2010 to 7.1 % in 2019). However, in April 2020, business and other workplace closures affected 81% of employers and 66% of the self-employed. In February 2020, only 87 countries had unemployment protection programs anchored in national legislation, and only 34 of these countries covered the self-employed.

Differences in coverage of cash benefits and social assistance for vulnerable groups are very pronounced across regions. Sixty-one percent of these groups (children, people of working age and older people not covered by contributory schemes) receive cash benefits in Europe and North America. However, only 4% receive them in Central and South Asia.

Therefore, ending poverty in all its forms throughout the world requires the efforts of the global community. This is why the United Nations (UN) set it as SDG 1 of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda.


Although poverty has been halved since 2000, there is still a need to intensify efforts to increase incomes and alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable. The 2030 targets are:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty worldwide.

  • Put in place appropriate social protection systems and measures.

  • Ensure that all people have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services.

  • Build the resilience of people in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure to climatic, economic, social and environmental disasters.

  • Ensure significant resource mobilization through enhanced development cooperation.

  • Create sound policy frameworks to support investment in poverty eradication measures.


The impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) led to a striking setback in the progress towards achieving the SDG "No poverty".

While before the Corona pandemic, the global population living in extreme poverty decreased from 10.1% to 9.3% between 2015 and 2017, the numbers are expected to increase more sharply again in the coming years due to pandemic, climate change and wars. This is confirmed by latest projections from 2020, which show an increase to 9.5 % extreme poverty. No figures of the impact of the current Ukraine war are available yet. However, it is expected that the consequences of current events will continue for many years to come, making the goal of a world without extreme poverty by 2030 increasingly remote.

The proportion of workers living in extreme poverty worldwide has increased more than halved between 2010 and 2019 - from 14 % to 6.6 %[3]. However, curfews due to the Corona pandemic and related health interventions have led to a growth in working poverty again.

The gender gap in in-work poverty worldwide has widened over the years particularly in the least developed countries. However, globally, young workers are twice as likely to be in poverty as adults, due to lower earnings and poorer working conditions. As the COVID-19 crisis has a disproportionate impact on the livelihoods of women and young adults, it is likely to exacerbate these long-standing inequalities.

In the last two years, COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted the decreasing number of poor people. This is mostly due to the impact of the pandemic on the informal economy where poorest people work. The importance of health, job, and income protection has never been greater.

According to the United Nations, there could be over 140 million refugees by 2050 due to climate change[4]. These are events that, among other things, have implications for the development of the progress of the SDGs. As always, the hardest hit are those who have the least means to flee.

When harvests fail due to weather changes or whole areas remain permanently flooded, people are forced to relocate.

Rising sea levels in Bangladesh or Vietnam and persistent droughts in South Asia or the southern Sahara have such extreme effects that not only the poverty line shifts upwards, but also permanently changes entire ecosystems. Where once cultivation was possible, precious resources are disappearing.

In addition to economic consequences, possible consequences of climate flight include increasing violence and hunger. In addition to the steadily increasing population, there is also less and less living space. Supply shortages and territorial takeovers lead to new conflicts that could soon mean our future.

[1] United Nations. Report 2021.

[2] Ebd.

[3] United Nations Report 2020

[4] United Nations. Report 2021


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