World Bank Report 1999 & World Development Report 2000/2001

Topics: Poverty, Millennium Development Goals, International development Pages: 7 (2350 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Starting from the year 1990, the international community has set up plans to eliminate poverty in the world by the year 2015 with a set of specific goals to be achieved by that date. These goals were set up according to the studies done beforehand, that showed where and what the major poverty areas and problems in the world were. These studies explained that although the poverty problem was extensive, there were several factors of which the crisis was mainly constituted.

The first problem was extreme income poverty, with almost half the world's population living on less than $2 a day, and a fifth living on less than $1 daily. Another major problem was education, which encompassed many aspects. Not only wasn't primary education compulsory in many regions, but there were also problems regarding women getting equal education to men, due to cultural, social and economic barriers. The third main problem area was health, where child mortality rates, for example, were alarming; 'in rich countries fewer than 1 child in 100 does not reach its fifth birthday, while in the poorest countries as many as a fifth of the children do not'.

After getting these goals in focus and setting these plans in motion, it was discovered that they weren't going as well as planned. It was found that the goals were pretty unrealistic compared to the conditions and the time period. For example, one of the goals was 'cutting income poverty by half'. This could only be achieved, if income poverty decreased by 2.7% annually between 1990 and 2015, which didn't happen, because studies showed that between 1990 and 1998, it decreased by only 1.7% annually. This failure to achieve the objectives was mainly because of the inequality of the world; inequality in distribution of income, inequality in cultural and religious conditions, inequality in practically too many facets of life to be able to control or conform to a generalized plan.

So, from the outcome of this attempt and from going back to the reports of previous decades, a new strategy to eliminate poverty was laid out, based on three fundamental interrelated concepts that could be adapted to each community differently according to its individual conditions. These concepts are promoting opportunity, facilitating empowerment, and enhancing security.

In promoting opportunity, the government plays an important role, in making it easy for poor people to start their own small businesses by making the market investor-friendly. It also has to put controls over the expanding of international trade, so as not to harm people, only to benefit them. For poor people to have equal opportunities in education, health and other services, the government has to improve the quality and scope of these services and increase the active participation of the poor in them, keeping in mind social, ethnic racial and gender equality.

Also in facilitating empowerment, the government has the important role of making all the state institutions available both physically and mentally to everybody equally. It also needs to make all its actions and plans available for everybody's scrutiny; aboveboard, so to speak, so as to make the poor people feel like state monitors and more involved with their daily aspects of life. A special emphasis needs to be made here to gender inequality; since women have less rights than men, then poor women are 'doubly disadvantaged' and face many perils in life, so a special effort needs to be made to eliminate this discrimination by, for example, allowing women to hold representative positions in state institutions. In the same vein, discrimination against all minorities should be abolished in all state organizations and public posts should include members from disadvantaged ethnic and racial groups, which could only be achieved by the interested help of the government.

Enhancing security for poor people is very vital, if any semblance of order is to...
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