New research warns of extreme poverty if leaders don’t act

January 17, 2015 8:40 am
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 The campaign that was officially launched in Kenya and globally released  statistics indicating that, even using relatively conservative scenarios,  the number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than Sh 114 ($1.25)a day – could be reduced from over a billion to 360 million by 2030. Photo/FILE.

The campaign that was officially launched in Kenya and globally released statistics indicating that, even using relatively conservative scenarios, the number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than Sh 114 ($1.25)a day – could be reduced from over a billion to 360 million by 2030. Photo/FILE.
NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 17 – Almost a billion extra people face a life of extreme poverty if leaders avoid key decisions on poverty, inequality and climate change due to be taken at two crucial summits in New York and Paris later this year, with billions more continuing to face a life of hardship, according to new research.

That’s the warning by more than a thousand organisations around the world which are launching a new campaign called action/2015 which is calling on local and world leaders to take urgent action to halt man-made climate change, eradicate poverty and address inequality.

The campaign that was officially launched in Kenya and globally released statistics indicating that, even using relatively conservative scenarios, the number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than Sh 114 ($1.25)a day – could be reduced from over a billion to 360 million by 2030.

Speaking during the launch, Action/2015 Kenya partners and other stakeholders called on citizens to mount pressure on leaders and own local initiatives that can combat poverty, inequalities, issues of climate change, (focusing on renewable energy transition) and other pressing issues of concern to communities.

Based on work by the University of Denver, in the year 2030, about 4 % of the global population would live in extreme poverty, (compared to 17% today) if critical policy choices on inequality, poverty investment and climate change are made this year and implemented thereafter. Estimates of other researchers, looking at a longer list of variables, show that the eradication of extreme poverty is achievable for the first time in history – a key objective of the campaign.

However, if leaders fail to deliver and build on the growing momentum for ambitious deals at the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September and the UN Climate talks in Paris in December, and scale back their efforts, the number of people living in extreme poverty could actually increase to 1.2 billion by 2030. This increase would be the first in a generation (since 1993) and almost a billion higher (886million) than if resolute action is taken. Under this scenario 1 in 3 of the world’s population would live under $2 a day.

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Malala Fund co-founder, who put her life on the line for the right to education said;

‘People globally want an end to injustice, poverty and illiteracy. Our world is interconnected and youth are ready and mobilised more than ever to see real change take place. Together, we are demanding our
leaders take action in 2015 and we must all do our part. I will continue to work tirelessly to call on world leaders to seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality primary and secondary education for every child. That is my goal and I hope that my voice will be heard as it is the voice of millions of children who want to go to school.’

Alongside Malala, dozens of high profile activists from Queen Rania of Jordan and Bono to Ben Affleck, Bill and Melinda Gates and Mo Ibrahim have backed the coalition of over a thousand organisations in more than 120 countries around the world. The campaign is calling on world leaders to agree plans to eradicate poverty, prevent dangerous climate change and tackle inequality at these summits.

Action/2015 – announced by Malala when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize – is one of the biggest campaigns ever to launch – combining environmental, human rights, development organisations and faith networks. From household names like Amnesty International and Save the Children to grassroots NGOs working with local communities, the movement aims to make sure the agreements of 2015 are shaped by the people.

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