16 October, 2015
Elle Spring is an Advocacy Support Officer at CBM Australia. For International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Elle reflects on the achievements of global efforts to resolve poverty and what is possible by 2030.
Today, we celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Last month, world leaders met in New York to adopt the Global Goals – 17 goals for global development that will transform our world over the next 15 years. Ending poverty – in all its forms, everywhere – is goal number one.
Eradicating global poverty in 15 years sounds like an impossible task. An ambitious vision with all of the right intentions, but surely it’s just a vision? Not necessarily.
In 2000, in what was the largest gathering of world leaders in history, a commitment to resolve poverty and its causes was pledged.
And now, 15 years on, we live in a world where global poverty has been halved; where 43 million more children of primary school age attend school; and where the number of undernourished people in developing regions has dropped by almost half.
But to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, the efforts must be inclusive of all people. Globally, there are one billion people with disability, and they were left behind in the previous pledge to resolve poverty and its causes.
Poverty and disability often interact to create a cycle. Poverty can cause disability through many factors, such as inadequate nutrition, lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and unsafe working conditions.
In turn, disability can contribute to and deepen poverty, as a person with disability is less likely to have access to rehabilitation, health care, education and employment opportunities.
Therefore, to achieve a world free from all forms of poverty everywhere, people with disability – who make up 15 per cent of the global population – must be included in, benefit from and contribute to poverty eradication efforts.
As the great Nelson Mandela said in his 2005 speech for the Campaign to Make Poverty History:
“Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere is upholding a fundamental human right for all people of all abilities. Leaving no one behind is a theme of the Global Goals, which reference the inclusion of people with disability.
By 2030, we could live in a world where the eradication of poverty has been achieved. The previous pledge of resolving poverty and its causes shows us that no matter how ambitious the vision, if there is concentrated and collaborative action, it is possible.