Monday, July 7, 2008

Chronic Poverty Report 2008-09

The Chronic Poverty Research Center is publishing the Chronic Poverty Report 2008-09 tomorrow. Earlier version of the report had focused on identifying five main traps that underpin chronic poverty- insecurity, limited citizenship, spatial disadvantage, social discrimination and poor work opportunities and outlined key policy responses to these traps. This new report focuses on the possible solutions to the traps. Here is a piece about what to expect in the report:

We argue that the development of a ‘just social compact’ between citizens and states must be the focus for poverty eradication. Development actors can nurture such a compact through social protection, public services, effective anti-discrimination action, gender empowerment, economic growth and fiscal policy, and the management of migration and urbanisation processes.

To show the human face behind the statistics and policies, we intertwine the life stories of seven chronically poor people from across Asia and Africa into the report. The descriptions of the lives of Angel, Moses, Txab, Vuyiswa, Bakyt, and Maymana and Mofizul, help the reader to better appreciate the complex and varied causes of chronic poverty.

Most people in chronic poverty strive and work to improve their livelihoods, and to create a better future for their children, in difficult circumstances. They need real commitment matched by actions and resources, to support their efforts and overcome the obstacles that trap them in poverty.

We argue that tackling chronic poverty is the global priority of our time and that eradicating poverty by 2025 is a feasible goal – if national governments and international organisations are willing to make the necessary political commitments and resource allocations.

It is our hope that this report will inspire deeper reflection on how to tackle chronic poverty effectively and – most of all – will stimulate action to make it happen.

Here is more from ODI blog:

The new Chronic Poverty Report asserts that better social contracts can be moulded. It stresses that economic growth is critical. Growth lifts people out of poverty, and provide the revenues to invest in human development, including such services as health, education, water and sanitation that are critical to interrupting inter-generational poverty, and enable the poorest  to participate more effectively in the global economy. Such revenues enable states to invest in social protection – critical to address the livelihood insecurity trap, but also to address discrimination, as Mexico’s Progresa (now ‘Opportunidades’) scheme has shown. Supporting the world’s most fragile states to develop better social contracts is at least as worthy a focus for the international community as climate change.

Note that chronic poverty is slightly different from poverty (informally, the former is a sub-set of the latter). The chronic poor are those who experience significant depravation over many years and/or whose depravation is inter-generational (duration is important). Here is more.

There are an estimated 320 to 445 million people trapped in chronic poverty. Also, 18-24% of South Africa's population, 25% of Ethiopia's population, and 22-33% of India's population are in chronic poverty.

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