Will Poverty Be Eradicated By 2030?


More needs to be done to ensure the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved.
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

The short answer is no, probably not.


Despite the goal set out by the sustainable development agenda to eradicate poverty in all forms everywhere by 2030, there is little hope of this being the case.


What is the sustainable development agenda?

"A blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people and the world by 2030." - United Nations, 2017

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly set up 17 goals to be achieved by the year 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include the full eradication of poverty, hunger, inequality and address many other global issues, to bring peace and justice across all countries.


The 2020 SDG report, however, made it clear that the world is not on track to achieve the goals within its target time frame. Perhaps the goals were unrealistic, or the world and its people are just not doing enough to make the necessary changes.


Advances made in areas such as women's leadership, electricity access and improving maternal and child health, were overshadowed by the deterioration of the environment, food insecurity, inequalities and increasing poverty.


How has the pandemic had an impact?

The pandemic has had a disastrous impact on poverty and reaching the SDG of eradication by 2030.
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It is certain that the Covid-19 pandemic has put any progress made for the 2030 agenda at risk, especially in areas of poverty.


Before the pandemic, the world was already not on target to eradicate poverty by 2030, now this is certainly unreachable. Over the past two years, Covid-19 has led to the first rise in extreme poverty in a generation.


There was a rise in the percentage of people in poverty from 8.4 percent in 2019 to 9.5 percent in 2020, undoing the progress that had been made in recent years. Although governments across the world have put in social protection measures in response to Covid-19, the most vulnerable remain unprotected and the measures are only temporary.


Estimates suggest that the global poverty rate is expected to be around seven percent in 2030, meaning around 600 million people will still be living in poverty and, of course, missing the target of complete eradication of poverty.


The working-class disparities have also been magnified due to the pandemic. The number of workers living in extreme poverty had dropped by more than half between 2010 and 2019. Now, however, the working poor have been affected by the public health measures put in place during the pandemic.


The people most affected by this change are likely to be women and young people. It is true that the gender gap has been narrowed in recent years, however, the least developed countries have yet to see this change. Along with this, younger workers are twice as likely to be living in extreme poverty due to lower earnings, meaning both groups risk not only being affected by the pandemic but also worsening inequalities.


So, what's next?

" The Sustainable Development Goals are more important now than ever. Now is the time to secure the well-being of people, economies, societies and our planet." - Sustainable Development Goals Report, 2021

In the 2021 SDG report, governments have been advised to use their recovery from Covid-19 to make developments which will get the SDGs back on track.


Countries should be adopting low-carbon resilient and inclusive pathways that will reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, create better jobs, advance gender equality and tackle growing inequities. Such changes include, for example, the GRID approach, requiring countries to invest in all forms of capital to tackle weaknesses and promote growth after Covid-19.


The report outlines the strengths that the pandemic has demonstrated; community resilience, the rapid expansion of social protection, digital transformation and worldwide collaboration.


The United Nations believes that there are reasons for hope despite the challenges. The crisis can be used to transform the world's disasters and inequalities with full participation from all societies and an eager approach to still achieve the SDGs by 2030.