Bangladesh Raises Millions out of Poverty
A new report from the World Bank shows that Bangladesh has made great strides in reducing poverty since the year 2000. According to the report, the nation has reduced the number of people living in poverty by 26% in only 10 years. This reduction in poverty occurred even with a growing population. In total, the number of people living in poverty was reduced from 63 million in 2000 to 47 million in 2010.

The reduction of poverty in Bangladesh is credited to two factors. The first is an increase in labor income. Rural wages have increased since 2000, lifting millions out of poverty. The second is a decrease in fertility rates. As more Bangladeshis choose to have fewer children, there are “lower dependency ratios and more income-per-capita.”

While the World Bank applauds the successes of poverty reduction in Bangladesh, a number of factors must be accomplished in order to lift the remaining 47 million impoverished Bangladeshis above the poverty line. The World Bank believes that investment in agriculture is essential since 72% of all Bangladeshis live in rural areas. Promoting jobs in manufacturing and the service sector is also critical for sustainable poverty reduction.

In addition to focusing on industry-specific growth, the World Bank recommends increasing female participation in the labor force. Women currently make up only 35% of Bangladeshi workers. As more women join the workforce, a family can earn more income and lessen the risk of living in poverty.

Jordan Kline

Sources: World Bank, CIA
Photo: Travel Supermarket

The High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has outlined a new development framework to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. Analysts and UN experts are concerned that we will not be able to eradicate extreme poverty by the end of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. Experts agree that the population is growing at too fast a rate to eliminate poverty by 2015. They believe that a more realistic option is to focus on extreme poverty and worry less about “comfortable” relative poverty.

The new agenda was released at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. The new agenda outlines the High-Panels recommendations to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 and to complete the promise of sustainable development. Secretary Ban believes the Tokyo Conference should galvanize action to help live up to our pledge to end poverty, educate children, empower women, and provide health services to all.

An examination of the report showed that the panel had a clear sense of respect for the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, showcasing the accomplishments and progress the MGDs have been able to make. Improvements range from poverty reduction, lowered child mortality rates, malaria improvements and more. The panel believes that in order to complete the original goals, updated goals and targets are a must.

The new agenda follows closely in spirit with the old MGDs, focusing on poverty, hunger, water, sanitation, education, and healthcare. The High-Panel criticized the MGDs for their lack of focus on reaching the worlds poorest and more excluded, vulnerable people, and aims to improve on that. The panel also believes the MGDs largely ignored the effects of violence and conflict on development, and would like to see improvements in that area as well.

Additionally, the panel would like the new goals to discuss the importance of good governance, rule of law, free speech, and open and accountable governments. The High-Panel severely criticized the MGDs lack of integration of social, economic and environmental sustainable development strategies. They believe the lack of this integration did not allow for the environment and development to be properly brought together.

The focus of the new goals and agenda rests on five key shifts including: a move from reducing to ending extreme poverty, placing sustainable development at the core of the development agenda, transforming economies to drive inclusive growth, building accountable institutions, and forging a new global partnership based on cooperation, equity and human rights. The new agenda will be applicable to the Global North and South alike, also taking into account survey responses from Africans, and national consultations from more than 90 countries.

Ban has expressed his desire for African nations to become more integrated in the global economy. He would like to see more responsible foreign investment, which would lead to more potential for African countries, providing them access to more markets around the world, increasing their growth potential.

In their report, the panel focused on the best practices to address problems including maternal health, food security, sexual violence, and barriers to women’s economic, legal and political empowerment. The new agenda seeks to make women a more fundamental and important part of the development process. Women have emerged at the forefront of global development and the high-panel, and new agenda is working to utilize and empower women to achieve their goals of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

– Caitlin Zusy 
Source: This Day Live

UNICEF's Global Education First Initiative
Josephine Bourne is the Associate Director of UNICEF. She sat down for an interview with the Inter Press Service to give her thoughts on the upcoming meetings to be held in Washington D.C. on the Global Education First Initiative.

The meetings will bring together Ministers in Finance from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. The topic of conversation will focus on sustainable solutions between the private sector and civil society organizations. The meetings will center around the importance of education on the global economy.

Bourne believes that the initiative will provide an increased pressure for political commitment in the field of education.  She stated that UNICEF would like to continue to work towards ensuring education for the most vulnerable children, particularly girls, with disabilities as well as children living in conflict territories.

When Bourne was asked if there was one thing in particular that greatly diminished a child’s opportunity to obtain an education, she bluntly stated that being born into poverty as a girl in a rural area is a huge disadvantage. The longer a girl is able to attend school, the fewer children she will have – an incredibly important factor in poverty reduction.

Around the world, girls who have seven years of education have 2.2 fewer children than those that do not. When those girls have children, those children will be healthier and better educated, helping to lower the poverty percentage in their given communities. Bourne believes that this environment leads to economic growth, more female leaders, and more sustainable development.

In the interview, Bourne was also asked about gender equality and education. She said that girls from disadvantaged groups are oftentimes the most marginalized because of the special risks that could take them out of school. She believes that there is serious inequity in schools around the world.

Women’s education and empowerment have been a popular theme in the media lately with the recent release of the documentary “Girl Rising”. While this is a very positive thing, Bourne was quick to note, however, that the increased media attention to gender and education inequality, as well as the empowerment that comes with it are not enough to bring about social change. In her opinion, in order to create lasting change, we need the complete commitment of all duty bearers; from organizations such as UNICEF and the UN to parents and communities; to be involved in the promotion of the human right of education for all children around the world.

– Caitlin Zusy

Source: Inter Press Service