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ENDING POVERTY BY 2030? WHAT ABOUT MEASUREMENTS?

2014-04-11 19.46.542014-04-11 20.00.10

During the World Bank Spring Meetings 2014 it was repeatedly stamped on the floor an END POVERTY circle stating how much this was a global goal. The dream of a world free of poverty inscribed at the entrance of WB headquarters in Washington D.C. was taken to a new level in April 2013 when President Jim Yong Kim announced the twin goals to the international community: First, to end global poverty reducing the share of people living in extreme poverty to 3 % of the global population. Second to boost shared prosperity understood as increasing the average incomes of the bottom 40% of the population in each country. No doubt poverty reduction has been the overall mission of the WB but this adoption represents an unprecedented shift because for the first time the WB has endorsed specific poverty targets to guide the World Bank´s work. Reiterating these claims the international community of the post-2015 agenda gave an even bolder step endorsing the total eradication of extreme poverty by 2030. To achieve complete eradication of poverty is surely more aspirational than realistic, but no matter overoptimistic we are it clearly states how urgent this is an absolute priority.

The kind of civilization we have built depends on the way we do our national accounts and construct statistics that ultimately reflect our aspirations and the values that we assign to things. So in this case setting goals helps project a global vision but also creates a context for action and policies towards poverty reduction. But setting objectives always means to assess progress so most of the capacity to fulfill these ambitions will depend on measurements and particularly what we use as concepts, data and indicators of poverty. Disaggregating these universal statements into metric analysis will undoubtedly determine future achievements.

Please see ful article in the Research Essays page.

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