News Selection – Global Poverty
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Global 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 The root of the problem is that official World Bank figures are based on out of date household surveys, provoking a variety of methods to bring them up to date.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
Financing the end of extreme poverty
14/9/2018: New ODI research identifies a funding gap of $125 billion per annum for eradicating poverty in the world's poorest countries. Foreign aid for health, education and social protection will remain essential. Source: ODI
Tread Softly Comment: This report approaches the financial mathematics of ending extreme poverty through the single dimension of providing essential social services. There's no reference to the dependence on conflict resolution, nor to the politics of aid which is currently veering away from poverty reduction towards economic stimulus, job centres and border control. Relevant Briefing: Aid Politics
12 Things We Can Agree On about Global Poverty
27/8/2018: There's a lot of heat on the topic of global poverty, but fundamentally a lot of agreement, too. Here's an attempt at a consensus position from experts on poverty data. Source: Center for Global Development
Tread Softly Comment: A series of helpful concise statements which focus on monetary poverty lines, rightly qualified by references to data shortcomings. However, not one statement refers specifically to inequality, surely an oversight, now that poverty and inequality have become inseparable in economic analysis. Strangely, the tag for the blog remedies the omission. Relevant Briefing: Global Poverty Statistics
No time to slow down while HIV/AIDS is threatening a new generation
27/7/2018: UNICEF's senior HIV/AIDS executive identifies heroes in the 30-year fight against the epidemic, whilst predicting that West and Central Africa will become the region with the highest number of new HIV infections by 2050. Source: Inter Press Service.
Tread Softly Comment: It's worrying that Dr Chewe Luo is writing about projections of HIV infection in 2050 when the Sustainable Development Goals include a target to end the epidemic of AIDS by 2030. Also alarming is her statement that "HIV/AIDS is not under control in West and Central Africa," with the unstated inference that this region has not replicated the leadership on HIV seen in Southern Africa, essential to inspire behaviour change. Relevant Briefing: Should We Care About Poverty?