News Selection – Global Poverty
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Global Poverty.
Redefining poverty in its many dimensions
29/11/2018: Poverty has many dimensions beyond a lack of money. The need for a better understanding of the multiple ways people experience poverty is gaining momentum, as is the importance of measuring them.
Source: Inter Press Service
Why is it so hard to understand fragile states?
6/11/2018: Foreign aid ministries traditionally channel their funds through state institutions. Chronic governance shortcomings typical of fragile and conflict-affected states impede the flow of aid, just where it is most needed.
Source: From Poverty to Power
As Ebola has shown, the global health system is as strong as its weakest link
25/10/2018: The West African ebola outbreak started in a small village in Guinea. It shows the value of investing in grassroots healthcare, says Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia. Source: The Guardian
Tread Softly Comment: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is arguing the case for universal access to primary healthcare, in support of the Global Conference on that topic currently under way. As the headline implies, her experience of the 2014 ebola outbreak centred in Liberia informs broader political concerns. Managing the risk of global pandemics originating in very low income countries is a key justification for international cooperation and foreign aid. Relevant Briefing: Should We Care About Poverty?
True Cost of a Plate of Food Around the World
15/10/2018: In the world's richest countries, a simple meal would cost almost nothing to cook, perhaps less than 1% of average daily income. In a conflict zone such as South Sudan, this ratio jumps to more than 100%. Source: Inter Press Service
World Bank human capital index — just another ranking?
12/10/2018: The World Bank’s new human capital index ranks 157 countries according to outcomes they achieve on health and education. The Bank hopes that the tool will enable civil society to hold governments to account. Source: Devex
India counts down to its open defecation elimination goal
4/10/2018: In 2014 India’s Prime Minister launched the $31 billion Swachh Bharat, or “Clean India” Mission, promising that the country will be 100% free of open defecation by 2019. A sanitation convention in New Delhi takes stock of progress. Source: Devex
Tread Softly Comment: Such an ambitious goal fits the mould of Narendra Modi's track record of taking big risks in hauling India into the 21st century (demonetisation, Aadhaar biometric id, healthcare). Sanitation is arguably the hardest nut to crack in light of 70 years of similar endeavour, consistently failing. But the boss of WaterAid India says that "there has been dramatic progress.....since 2014" so maybe India's stubbornly awful poverty indicators are about to budge. Relevant Briefing: Global Poverty Statistics
New projections show extreme poverty is falling – but not fast enough
25/9/2018: New global poverty statistics have been published to coincide with the 2018 UN General Assembly. The estimates broadly agree that extreme poverty is declining. But that decline is slowing, and many vulnerable people risk being left behind. Source: ODI
Tread Softly Comment: Getting to grips with global poverty statistics is confusing, with 5 separate reputable sources, plus reinterpretation of the target of "eradication" as not zero but 3%. The root of the problem is that official World Bank figures are based on out of date household surveys, provoking a variety of methods to bring them up to date. Relevant Briefing: Global Poverty Statistics
India launches world’s biggest health care scheme
23/9/2018: Narendra Modi, has launched The National Health Protection Scheme which plans to provide around $7,000 of medical coverage to 100 million families or 500 million people, accounting for around 41% of people who fall below the poverty line. Source: Arab News
Tread Softly Comment: The timing of this Indian initiative may be motivated more by its election year than this week's focus on the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN General Assembly. However, commitment to health services for the poor is consistent with current moves led by the Gates Foundation to prioritise health and education as drivers of poverty reduction, rather than simplistic reliance on economic growth. Relevant Briefing: From MDGS to SDGs
Half of world’s poor are children
20/9/2018: Half of all people living in poverty are younger than 18 years old, according to estimates from the 2018 global Multidimensional Poverty Index. Source: UNDP
People across Africa have to travel far to get to a hospital
13/9/2018: Nearly half of all deaths and about a third of disabilities in low and middle-income countries could be avoided if people had access to emergency care. Most countries in Africa lack data even on the the number of their hospitals. Source: The Conversation