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Tutoriel

POVERTY & INEQUALITY - A CHALLENGE OF THE THIRD WORLD

5. sep 2013

Original author: Olusoga Sofolahan, Nigeria

Abstract
Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Various social groups bear disproportionate burden of poverty.

Tutorial
POVERTY & INEQUALITY - A CHALLENGE OF THE THIRD WORLD
Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Various social groups bear disproportionate burden of poverty.

The World Social Summit identified poverty eradication as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of mankind and called on governments to address the root causes of poverty, provide for basic needs for all and ensure that the poor have access to productive resources, including credit, education and training. Recognizing insufficient progress in the poverty reduction, the 24th special session of the General Assembly devoted to the review of the Copenhagen commitments, decided to set up targets to reduce the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by one half by 2015. This target has been endorsed by the Millennium Summit as Millennium Development Goal 1.

Poverty eradication must be mainstreamed into the national policies and actions in accordance with the internationally agreed development goals forming part of the broad United Nations Development Agenda, forged at UN conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. The Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017), proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 2007 aims at supporting such a broad framework for poverty eradication, emphasizing the need to strengthen the leadership role of the United Nations in promoting international cooperation for development, critical for the eradication of poverty.

A social perspective on development requires addressing poverty in all its dimensions. It promotes people-centered approach to poverty eradication advocating the empowerment of people living in poverty through their full participation in all aspects of political, economic and social life, especially in the design and implementation of policies that affect the poorest and most vulnerable groups of society. An integrated strategy towards poverty eradication necessitates implementing policies geared to more equitable distribution of wealth and income and social protection coverage.

A social perspective on poverty should contribute to the debate on the effectiveness and limitations of current poverty reduction strategies. Poverty analysis from a social perspective requires thorough examination of the impact of economic and social policies on the poor and other vulnerable social groups. Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) serves as a tool to assess both the economic and social impact of reforms on different social and income groups. Properly conducted PSIA contributes to national debate on policy options and helps to promote national ownership of development strategies and could contribute to the operationalization of Copenhagen’s commitments.

Poverty and inequality
Equality can be understood as parity in the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, and equality of opportunities with regards to education and work and the fulfillment of one’s potential. Equity relates to a degree of equality in the living conditions of people, especially in terms of income and wealth, that society considers desirable. Reduction of inequalities is then justified by equity considerations.

The 1995 World Social Summit stressed that a people-centered approach to development must be based on the principles of equity and equality, so that all individuals have access to resources and opportunities. In the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action social justice, equity and equality reflect the concept of a just society ensuring the equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality of opportunity for all. Public policies have to correct market failures and promote equity and social justice. World Social Summit identified several ways Governments can promote equality and social justice.

Ensuring people are equal before law

Carrying out policies with a view to equalization of opportunities

· Expanding and improving access to basic services

· Providing equal opportunities in public-sector employment

· Encouraging formation of cooperatives and community-based institutions

· Minimize negative effects of structural adjustment programmes

· Promoting full access to preventive and curative health care

· Expanding basic education, improving its quality, enhancing access to formal and non-formal learning, ensuring equal access to education of girls

The 24th Special session of the General Assembly reiterated that social development requires reduction in inequality of wealth and a more equitable distribution of the benefits of economic growth within and among nations.

Over the past decades, inequalities in income distribution and access to productive resources, basic social services, opportunities, markets, and information have been on the rise worldwide, often causing and exacerbating poverty. Globalization occurs in the absence of a social agenda, aimed at mitigating the negative impacts of globalization on vulnerable groups of society.

A social perspective on development emphasizes the view that inequality impairs growth and development, including poverty eradication efforts and that equity itself is instrumental for economic growth and development. It aims at providing a better understanding of the effects of economic and social policies on equity in societies and promotes ways of advancing policies contributing to the reduction of inequalities. Policies for both inequality and poverty reduction are mutually reinforcing.

The linkages between poverty and inequality are highlighted in the 2005 Report on the World Social Situation: The Inequality Predicament. The report states that the goal of sustained poverty reduction cannot be achieved unless equality of opportunity and access to basic services is ensured and stresses that the goal of reducing inequality must be explicitly incorporated in policies and programmes aimed at poverty reduction.

Poverty and Employment
Unemployment and underemployment lies at the core of poverty. For the poor, labour is often the only asset they can use to improve their well-being. Hence the creation of productive employment opportunities is essential for achieving poverty reduction and sustainable economic and social development. It is crucial to provide decent jobs that both secure income and empowerment for the poor, especially women and younger people.

Rapid economic growth can potentially bring a high rate of expansion of productive and remunerative employment, which can lead to a reduction in poverty. Nevertheless, the contribution of the growth process to poverty reduction does not depend only on the rate of economic growth, but also on the ability of the poor to respond to the increasing demand for labour in the more productive categories of employment.

Given the importance of employment for poverty reduction, job-creation should occupy a central place in national poverty reduction strategies. Many employment strategies are often related to agricultural and rural development and include using labour-intensive agricultural technologies; developing small and medium-size enterprises, and promoting micro projects in rural areas. Many strategies promote self-employment, non-farm employment in rural areas, targeted employment interventions, microfinance and credit as means of employment generation, skill formation and training.

Such strategies, however, often address the quantity of employment while the qualitative dimensions, such as equity, security, dignity and freedom are often absent or minimal. In general, national poverty reduction strategies including Poverty Reduction Strategies do not comment on employment programmes, social protection or rights at work. Neither do they offer in-depth analysis of the effects of policies on poverty reduction.

A social perspective on development emphasizes the view that the best route to socio-economic development, poverty eradication and personal wellbeing is through decent work. Productive employment opportunities will contribute substantially to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, especially the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

There should be a focus on creating better and more productive jobs, particularly those that can absorb the high concentrations of working poor. Among the necessary elements for creating such jobs are investing in labour-intensive industries, especially agriculture, encouraging a shift in the structure of employment to higher productivity occupations and sectors, and upgrading job quality in the informal economy. In addition, there should also be a focus on providing poor people with the necessary skills and assets that will enable them to take full advantage of any expansion in employment potential.

Poverty and the Social Economy
Social economy institutions and organizations play an important role in promoting livelihoods and job creation in the fight against poverty. Social economy enterprises offer an important source of employment in the face of global unemployment and underemployment problem.

Currently, it is estimated that the global cooperative movement directly provides productive self-employment for several hundred million workers-owners of production and services cooperatives, as well as the non-member employees and other cooperative enterprises. Agricultural cooperatives create employment in areas such as food production, marketing, credit, insurance and transportation. Cooperatives also provide more quality job opportunities for youth, women, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups.

Cooperatives contribute to poverty reduction by typically placing more emphasis on job security for employee-members and employees’ family members, paying competitive wages, promoting additional income through profit-sharing, distribution of dividends and other benefits, and supporting community facilities such as health clinics and schools that do private sector businesses.

Comments
BIZIMANA Aurlin Dieudonné, Burundi
I need a volonteer to hep me creating a good project to help poor people. today women lack what to do. LST time they sold fruit at the central market of bujumura bfore getting on fire and now they hava nothing to do.