EU support for fighting global poverty: Implementing UN SDG 1 – ‘Ending poverty’

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Series Details Number PE 644.181
Publication Date November 2019
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Poverty affects more than a quarter of the world's population, and that is why erasing it is a principal objective for humanity, enshrined as the first of a number of goals (SDGs) in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Poverty is more than just having insufficient income – it is a multidimensional phenomenon closely related to unequal access to education, health and other basic services. Increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty destroys the lives of millions through malnutrition, high infant mortality rates and the violence and insecurity it fuels.

Poverty eradication is an ongoing objective of EU development policy. It has recently gained new momentum with the incorporation of the SDGs into the 2017 European consensus on development – the framework for EU action in the area of development cooperation. The EU supports, through its different instruments and programmes, key areas, such as education, healthcare, social security and good governance, relevant to poverty eradication in developing countries. The 2018 Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs has further reinforced the focus on those sub-Saharan countries where poverty is at its highest, through an innovative approach that goes beyond aid and seeks to forge an 'equals alliance'. Its main pillar, the European Fund for Sustainable Development, aims, through EU grants and guarantees, to mobilise massive public and private investment necessary for the economic take-off of the continent, which would provide jobs and access to basic services for the growing African population.

Some doubt that using aid to subsidise private investment is the optimal way to tackle poverty, and insist on strict implementation of development objectives, environmental and social standards, and on highlighting human rights in all projects. Others also denounce the diversion of aid to finance migration management in countries of origin and transit of migration from Africa to Europe. A shift towards a post-growth economy is perceived by many as a radical long-term solution for global well-being and sustainability of the planet.

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