The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) celebrated its 50th birthday at the end of February and has pledged to try to eliminate extreme poverty as well as world hunger by 2030. The UNDP works in almost 170 different countries around the world. The UNDP is the primary UN agency focused on economic and sustainable development and has created great change in the past 50 years. When UNDP first started in 1966, about one in every three people were living in poverty. Now, in 2016, there are one in every eight people living in poverty.
Since its inception, many members of the European confederation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are allocating more money to addressing the social costs of refugee and asylum seekers. For example, the Netherlands has increased its budget 145%, Italy has raised theirs by 107%, Cyprus increased its by 65%, and Portugal has gone up 38%.
Another component of the UNDP’s work is social programs to raise people out of extreme poverty. The UNDP has worked hard to boost food security, to advance universal primary education and adult literacy, to promote empowerment of women, and to reduce maternal and child mortality. From 1990 to 2015, the statistics reflect the positive changes of these efforts. For example, the child mortality rate was cut by more than half, over 2.6 billion people have obtained better access to a better source of drinking water, and 2.1 billion live with sanitation facilities that have improved drastically.
As much as the UNDP has accomplished, they need to act faster to reach their goal of ending extreme poverty and hunger in 14 years. On a global scale, more than 800 million people live on less than $1.25 a day. Many of those people do not have proper access to adequate food, clean water, and sanitation. In the European Union (EU), only four out of 28 countries have increased their budgets for refugees and asylum seekers. Unfortunately, due to the small number of participating countries, the EU has failed to reach its goal of spending 0.7% of its Gross National Income (GNI) on relief for refugees and asylum seekers. Around the world, there are almost a billion people who still live in poverty, and about 800 million suffer from chronic hunger. With every minute that passes, almost a dozen children under the age of five die, and every hour that goes by the world loses 33 mothers giving birth. Over 90 million children under the age of five have reached dangerously low weights, and in Africa one in every four people go hungry. Billions of people are unable to get safe water and basic sanitation, and nearly 800 million adults are still illiterate.
Thalif Deen, “UNDP Pledges to Help Eradicate Poverty, Hunger By 2030,” Inter Press Service, March 8, 2016, http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/02/undp-pledges-to-help-eradicate-poverty-hunger-by-2030/.
“Kenya: UN Development Programme Celebrates 50 Years of Work to End Poverty” All Africa, March 8, 2016, http://allafrica.com/stories/201602250446.html.
“Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” UNDP, March 8, 2016, http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sdgoverview/post-2015-development-agenda.html.
Student Researcher: Stephanie Lee (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)