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How to end extreme poverty in 15 years

25 September 2015

A Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteer warns people of a coming cyclone

A historic plan to end extreme poverty everywhere has been welcomed by the Red Cross.

The UN’s sustainable development goals,  adopted in New York this week, will help governments and other organisations build a better world.

After pressure from the Red Cross and others, the goals include targets for making communities and people more resilient to disasters – ready to recover from floods, crop failures and other emergencies.

There are 17 goals, which countries will try and meet by 2030. Parts of the plan welcomed by the Red Cross include:

  • Focusing on the world’s most vulnerable people
  • Ending extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition, epidemics including HIV/AIDs and malaria, preventable child deaths, and all violence against women and girls.
  • Giving everyone basic services such as health care, safe drinking water, sanitation and education.

Preparing for the worst is common sense

Samuel Carpenter, Humanitarian Policy Adviser at British Red Cross  said: “Over the weekend, world leaders will adopt a series of goals that will guide investments in global development over the next 15 years. The main goal is to end extreme poverty by 2030.

“But with the increasing effects of climate change and urbanisation, such an ambitious target can only be achieved if we focus our collective efforts on managing the risk of disasters, and not just their impact on poor communities.

 “We therefore welcome the focus of the goals on strengthening the resilience of vulnerable countries, cities and communities to disasters, health emergencies and other crises.

“In the next few years, strengthening resilience will play a huge part in lifting millions of people out of poverty. It’s so much more effective to prepare for an emergency than react after it has happened.

“The UN has agreed an ambitious, comprehensive set of goals. Now it’s up to all of us to make them a reality. Only by investing in the poorest and most vulnerable can we ensure no one is left behind.”

Building on earlier success

The new plan follows the UN Millennium Development Goals, which were drawn up in the year 2000.

In the last 25 years, the global death rate for children under five has fallen by more than 50 per cent. The proportion of undernourished people has fallen by more than 40 per cent.

But to make sustainable progress in the next 15 years, these gains need to be protected against the increasing impacts of climate change and disasters.

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