18 May

UNSDG Goal 1: No Poverty

Welcome to the 2nd episode in the series Sustainable Development and 17 UN SDGs. 

 The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries. These 17 sustainable development goals are not linear, rather they are deeply interconnected – action taken on one goal can have a positive impact or a negative impact on the progress of other goals. Identifying, understanding and acknowledging this interconnectivity will help business leaders and individuals to think, plan and build a holistic solution while addressing an SDG so as to  maximise progress and minimise negative impacts on other  SDGs.

 In a world of increasing inequality, environmental unpleasantness and civil unrest,  any business can only thrive if it is done in the sustainable way. Let us look at the SDGs one by one.

Goal 1: No poverty

This ambitious goal has 5 targets or KPIs like eradicating extreme poverty for all people, reducing the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty according to national definitions,  implementing social protection systems and measures relevant for nations, ensure everybody has equal right to economic resources as well as access to basic services..
There is a reason why “no poverty” is marked as goal number 1.

Why is this SDG important?

Eradicating poverty remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. While the number of people living in extreme poverty dropped by more than half, between 1990 and 2015, too many are still struggling for the most basic human needs. 

  • As of 2015, about 736 million people still live on extreme poverty (i.e less than US$1.90 a day); . 10% of world population.
  • Half of people living in poverty are under 18. 
  •  80% of people in poverty are living in South Asia and Sub Saharan region. Rapid growth in countries such as China and India has lifted millions out of poverty, but progress has not been even. 
  • Women are more likely to be poor than men because they have less paid work, less education opportunities, and they own less property.
  • In 2016, 55 per cent of the world’s population – about 4 billion people – did not benefit from any form of social protection. 
  • One out of five children live in extreme poverty, and the negative effects of poverty and deprivation in the early years have ramifications that can last a lifetime. 
Before looking at how Businesses and individuals contribute towards achieving Goal 1, let us get into the right mindset first. We call this ACHIEVE mindset. 
Achieve is an acronym for:
  • Ambitious / Accountable
  • Consistent
  • Headman like
  • Intentional
  • Eager
  • Vigorous
  • Energetic

With this mindset, it is a matter of getting things done. 

Role of Businesses and Individuals

There are quite a few things businesses and individuals can do to move our planet towards zero poverty. 

  • Businesses should focus on creating secure and decent jobs especially in the least developed countries where the vulnerable population is most.
  • Sponsor, drive and run projects and programs  to economically empower the downtrodden, underprivileged and the unprivileged groups. Companies can very well commit to sourcing a significant percentage of raw materials from small-holder farmers in a developing country to boost local employment and empowerment
  • Ensure decent working conditions for all employees across your business and supply chain. The term decent working condition could mean different things to different people. If we put ourselves in the shoes of a worker, judge the working condition and if we feel, it is a good enough environment, then we can call it a decent working condition. One broad example for bad working condition across the world is hiring under aged workers. We can ensure not to hire under aged workers in the entire supply chain and not do business with those who hire child workers.
  • Ensure the lowest paid employees get fair and “living wage” and compensations are not based on market alone.
  • Use your business and personal network, create a marketplace and market goods and services that cater to, and aim to improving the lives of underprivileged groups. For ex. a start-up in India develops quality textiles and garments that are created by poor, destitute, marginalised women and markets them at a reasonable price.

Closing thoughts

We should be mindful of positive and negative impacts while working on sustainable development and SDGs. Let us look at the relation between Goal 1 and other goals and the impact we could create.

When we contribute to Goal 1 – No poverty, we can also maximise the positive impact on other goals. For ex. Reducing poverty can help address issues around nutrition (Goal 2 – zero hunger), (Goal 3 – good health and well being), (Goal 4 – quality education), (Goal 6 – clean water and sanitation) 

On the contrary, we should be careful to minimise the negative impact. For ex. if we create more jobs in an effort to reduce poverty and totally neglect the environmental hazards resulting thru such job creations, it may very well have a negative impact on  goals 13, 14 and 15 which are climate and environment specific goals.

Key is to have an ACHIEVE mindset, undeterred vision and a clear understanding of the Power of One.

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