Eradicating Poverty Essays

Goal 1 aims to "End poverty in all its forms everywhere" and its targets aim to:

1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day

1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

1.3 Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable

1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance

1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters

1.a Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions

1.b Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication action More
Future We Want recognizes that, while there has been progress in reducing poverty in some regions, this progress has been uneven and the number of people living in poverty in some countries continues to increase, with women and children constituting the majority of the most affected groups, especially in the least developed countries and particularly in Africa.

Sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth in developing countries is identified as a key requirement for eradicating poverty and hunger and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Therefore, Future We Want highlights the importance to complement national efforts of developing countries by an enabling environment aimed at expanding the development opportunities of developing countries.

In paragraph 107, Member States recognize the important contribution that promoting universal access to social services can make to consolidating and achieving development gains.

Social protection systems that address and reduce inequality and social exclusion are essential for eradicating poverty and advancing the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. More
The General Assembly declared the Second UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) in December 2007 and selected as theme �Full Employment and Decent Work for All�.

This Second Decade was proclaimed to support the internationally agreed development goals related to poverty eradication, including the Millennium Development Goals. It has stressed the importance of reinforcing the positive trends in poverty reduction, experienced by some countries as well as the need of extending such trends to benefit people worldwide.

This Second Decade recognizes as well the importance of mobilizing financial resources for development at national and international levels and acknowledges that sustained economic growth, supported by rising productivity and a favourable environment, including private investment and entrepreneurship is vital for rising living standards More
Chapter 2 identifies eradication of poverty as the greatest global challenge facing the world today and as an
indispensable requirement for sustainable development, particularly for developing countries. JPOI recognizes the primary responsibility and role national governments and policies have for ensuring their own sustainable development and poverty eradication strategies.

The JPOI at the same time highlights the importance of concerted and concrete measures at all levels to enable developing countries to achieve their sustainable development goals as related to the internationally agreed poverty-related targets and goals, including those contained in Agenda 21, the relevant outcomes of other United Nations conferences and the United Nations Millennium Declaration. More
As recommended by the World Summit for Social Development, the General Assembly convened a special session in 2000 to revise and assess the implementation of the outcome of the Social Summit and to identify new and further initiatives for social development.

The GA held its twenty-fourth special session, entitled �World Summit for Social Development and beyond: achieving social development for all in a globalizing world�, in Geneva from 26 to 30 June 2000.

Agreement was reached on a wide array of initiatives to reduce poverty and spur job growth in the global economy.

Reducing poverty, promoting job growth, and ensuring the participation of all people in the decision-making process were the main objectives of the agreement.

To achieve these goals, countries endorsed actions to ensure improved education and health, including in times of financial crisis.

The General Assembly adopted an outcome document entitled �Further initiatives for social development� consisting of a political declaration reaffirming the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development; a review and assessment of the implementation of the outcome of the Summit; and proposals for further initiatives for social development. More
MDG 1 aims at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

Its three targets respectively read:

halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day (1.A),

achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people (1.B),

halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger (1.C). More
The First United Nations Decade for Eradication of Poverty was declared for the period 1997-2006 by the UN General Assembly at the end of 1995.

As theme for the Decade, the GA established at the end of 1996 the following: "Eradicating poverty is an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of humankind." More
A GA Special Session (UNGASS-19) was held in June 1997 in order to review and assess progress undergone on Agenda 21. With Resolution A/RES/S-19/2 delegates agreed on the adoption of the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21.

The Programme appraised progress since the UNCED, examined implementation and defined the CSD�s work programme for the period 1998-2002.

For the CSD�s subsequent four sessions, poverty and consumption and production patterns were identified as dominant issues for each year by the work programme.

Delegates also agreed on the sectoral, cross-sectoral and economic sector/major group themes, endorsed the IPF�s outcome and recommended a continuation of the intergovernmental policy dialogue on forests.

Subsequently, the Intergovernmental Forum on Forest (IFF) was established by ECOSOC under the CSD. More
The Copenhagen Declaration was adopted at the end of the World Summit for Social Development (WSSD), held in March 1995 in Copenhagen.

Being the largest gathering of world leaders at that time, this event represented a crucial milestone and pledged to make the conquest of poverty, the goal of full employment and the fostering of stable, safe and just societies overriding objectives of development.

Chapter 2 is entirely devoted to eradication of poverty with a particular attention to the strategies to be adopted to achieve concrete results in this matter, to improve access to productive resources and infrastructure, meet the basic human needs of all and to enhance social protection and reduce vulnerability. More
Chapter 3 of the Agenda describes poverty as "a complex multidimensional problem with origins in both the national and international domains".

The Agenda notes that no uniform solution can be found for global application and identifies country-specific programmes to tackle poverty and international efforts supporting national efforts, as well as the parallel process of creating a supportive international environment as crucial tools for a solution to this problem. More
Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development resolves to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and to heal and secure our planet. The first Sustainable Development Goal aims to �End poverty in all its forms everywhere�. Its seven associated targets aims, among others, to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty, and implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable As recalled by the foreword of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report, at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, 189 countries unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration, pledging to �spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty�. This commitment was translated into an inspiring framework of eight goals and, then, into wide-ranging practical steps that have enabled people across the world to improve their lives and their future prospects. The MDGs helped to lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, to make inroads against hunger, to enable more girls to attend school than ever before and to protect our planet. Nevertheless, in spite of all the remarkable gains, inequalities have persisted and progress has been uneven. Therefore, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its set of Sustainable Development Goals have been committed, as stated in the Declaration of the Agenda, �to build upon the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and seek to address their unfinished business�. From Agenda 21 to Future We Want In "The Future We Want", the outcome document of Rio+20, Member States emphasized the need to accord the highest priority to poverty eradication within the United Nations development agenda, addressing the root causes and challenges of poverty through integrated, coordinated and coherent strategies at all level. In the context of the multi-year programme of work adopted by the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), poverty eradication appears as an "overriding issue" on the agenda of the CSD each year. Poverty eradication is addressed in Chapter II of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (2002), which stressed that eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, particularly for developing countries. Priority actions on poverty eradication include:
  • improving access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial opportunities and productive resources;
  • providing universal access to basic social services;
  • progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves;
  • empowering people living in poverty and their organizations;
  • addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women;
  • working with interested donors and recipients to allocate increased shares of ODA to poverty eradication; and
  • intensifying international cooperation for poverty eradication.
The General Assembly, in its 1997 Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (paragraph 27) decided that poverty eradication should be an overriding theme of sustainable development for the coming years. It is one of the fundamental goals of the international community and of the entire United Nations system. "Combating poverty" is the topic of Chapter 3 of Agenda 21. It is also in commitment 2 of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development. Agenda 21 emphasized that poverty is a complex multidimensional problem with origins in both the national and international domains. No uniform solution can be found for global application. Rather, country-specific programmes to tackle poverty and international efforts supporting national efforts, as well as the parallel process of creating a supportive international environment, are crucial for a solution to this problem. The years following the 1992 Rio Conference have witnessed an increase in the number of people living in absolute poverty, particularly in developing countries. The enormity and complexity of the poverty issue could endanger the social fabric, undermine economic development and the environment, and threaten political stability in many countries.
Division for Sustainable Development, UN-DESA

The Church tries to build healthy communities in impoverished areas, often times through hand-outs or one time gifts that do not help families out of poverty. By providing work opportunities, the Church can build communities and help eradicate poverty. Faith-based organizations (FBOs) are most often supported by the Church and its congregants in such a way that these FBOs operate as an arm of the church.

So what is the Church’s role in helping to eradicate poverty?  What are the various methods used and what are the measures taken for poverty eradication around the world?

The Efforts of the Church to Eradicate Poverty

Often times, churches will turn to short-term solutions, such as soup kitchens, in order to build healthy communities and help improve an individual’s life. Yet, despite the wonderful intentions and loving staff, these often do not come with the intended results. Short-term solutions can lead to a deeper cycle of poverty and now those receiving the products are more materially dependent on outsiders. When it comes to alleviating poverty, here’s how your Church can avoid helping that hurts explains Kristine Zambito, “When we try to help the poor, we try to make them more like us – materially rich. But giving hand-outs can be a dangerous and vicious cycle, increasing the pride of the giver and the shame of the recipient, without ever addressing the roots of poverty.”[1] We need to teach people in communities how to work or help them find work. In this way, the church can help build healthy, thriving communities that are not reliant on the donors or the givers.

Methods to Help Eradicate Poverty

In a recent article by Gospel for Asia, the author notes a report by the Who Health Organization and Geneva Global[5] that highlights the impact faith-based organizations (FBOs) are having on global poverty and how these nonprofits and organizations are helping the poverty rate decline around the world.

One of the great news notices a majority of people have missed is that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced in March 2016 that in the last 30 years, extreme poverty around the world has been reduced by half. This information was based on a United Nations assessment following its goal-setting at the dawn of the new millennium: to eradicate poverty by 2030.

Perhaps one of the scandals plaguing nonprofits and churches that deeply impact the poverty rate is the lack of recognition of their efforts.  Gospel for Asia’s legitimate efforts as a charity to serve impoverished communities has hardly been reported on or shared.

Christmas Gift Catalogs Help Provide Work for Families in Poverty

Gifts given through Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Gift Catalog,  provide a legitimate way for families to produce an income and for healthy communities to be built. The first step in determining who needs Christmas gifts is a community development survey, where the Pastor go around and ask community members what would help them the most. Then through prayer and planning, pastors and other staff determine what the greatest needs of people in the community are.[2] This helps Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries and pastors to build healthy communities. After the Gospel for Asia-supported pastors determine the needs of the community, gifts are given out. In one such community, 37 goats were given out to people in order to provide an income to help build the healthy community.[3] Churches around the world should follow the example of Gospel for Asia-supported pastors in Asia and other non-profits, by looking for the long-term needs of the communities. Phil Smith writes, “Believing that local churches are uniquely poised to help people find meaningful employment in their communities, Jobs for Life equips churches to develop mentoring relationships and provide job training to those in need of work.”[4] If the Church around the world treated the poor in this way, then our world would be different.

Other faith-based nonprofits such as Samaritan’s Purse, Hope International and World Vision provide ways for donors to contribute toward poverty eradication in other countries outside of the U.S. One of the elements that makes these gift catalogs so effective and important is the staff who serve in the foreign nations that receive the gifts. The staff has the ability to understand the needs of the local population and then help direct the giving toward those individuals and families in a way that meets the needs of the most poor. Gifts like goats or a water buffalo can help a family provide a second income so kids can go back to school instead of going to work. Fathers have received gifts as small as blankets to keep them and their family warm during the cold months of the year and mothers have received sewing machines along with training of how to use them in order that they might gain an income by selling the garments they make. To know and understand what each family needs, someone local must be in communication with the gift recipients. This knowledge is exactly what is made possible by initiatives like gift catalogs and gift distributions.

The provision of income-producing items is what helps families escape poverty or avoid poverty altogether and the gift catalogs created by faith-based nonprofits enables much of this.

Operation Christmas Child,  run by Samaritan’s Purse is another way for children in impoverished countries to receive gifts and celebrate Christmas.

Microfinance and Micro Loans Help Families Escape Poverty

Kiva, a microfinance organization, and one of the more well known micro-lending organizations helps define microfinance as, “a general term to describe financial services, such as loans, savings, insurance and fund transfers to entrepreneurs, small businesses and individuals who lack access to traditional banking services.” These lending institutions are not only for countries outside of the U.S., but there are a number of organizations within the United States that lend to people and businesses within the country. NerdWallet has list of the top 13 U.S. nonprofit lenders on their site.

Given the U.S. population that lives at or below the poverty line, U.S. lending institutions are not the organizations to be focused on here. Organizations like KIVA, Hope International, FINCA and others provide this financial service to individuals in extreme poverty and often in countries in Asia, Africa and South America.

Hope International describes their method as, “share the hope of Christ as we provide biblically based training, savings services, and loans that restore dignity and break the cycle of poverty.” A beneficiary of the savings group created with the help of Hope International describes the impact it has had on this life. Read Diogene’s story.

At this point in time, it’s reported that merely 2.7% of faith-based nonprofits administer micro lending worldwide, in stark contrast to the other methods available  for poverty eradication.


It is a good thing to do short-term projects that help the community temporarily. Yet, communities should be surveyed to look how each member can be helped which helps build the overall community. This time spent surveying and understanding the intricate needs of an impoverished community proves to be a valuable and essential part of knowing how to provide for the needs of that same community.

Eradicating poverty and the large task that is cannot be done quickly or rashly. Providing “easy” handouts that only meet a temporary need have shown to more harmful in the long-term than they are good in the short-term.

Just recently Gospel for Asia announced it’s commitment to help eradicate poverty.  It is a hope that faith-based organizations supported by the church and those with great concern for families in poverty will continue to re-invest in programs and methods to see poverty come to an end around the world.


Editor’s Note: Article was originally published on December 23, 2016 but updated on December 22, 2017 with more information.


[1] Zambito, Kristine. “When It Comes to Alleviating Poverty, Here’s How Your Church Can Avoid Help that Hurts.” Institute for Faith, Work and Economics.

[2] “Community Development.” Gospel for Asia.

[3] “Christmas Gifts Warm Body and Heart.” Gospel for Asia.

[4] Greer, Peter and Smith, Phil. Created to Flourish. Hope International: 2016.

[5] Building From Common Foundations – The World Health Organization and
Faith-Based Organizations in Primary Healthcare.

[6] Mains, Karen. Gospel for Asia: Do FBOs Help Decrease the Levels of Poverty in Our World?

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