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Ending Poverty

Over 1.3 billion people in the world today are surviving on less than $1.25 a day.  And many millions more struggle to overcome discrimination, violence, conflict and disasters.  That’s why the fight against poverty and hunger is at the heart of Ireland’s policy for international development. The policy is informed by our vision of a sustainable and just world, where people are empowered to overcome poverty and hunger and fully realise their rights and potential. 

Ethiopian Marketplace. Photo: Self Help International

Inequality and marginalisation are key drivers of poverty everywhere. People living in poverty are very often denied the rights and necessities we associate with human dignity. These include access to nutritious food, to essential health and education services, to basic housing and shelter, to security and decent work.  

The world has the resources to end poverty and hunger and ensure that people everywhere are empowered to live to their full potential. 

The good news is that worldwide poverty is reducing and the Millennium Development Goal of halving world poverty by 2015 will be met. However progress is uneven and increased efforts are now needed by the international community to find solutions to the many daunting challenges which remain.  

Major Challenges

These solutions need to be informed by an understanding of the many and often complex factors which drive people into poverty and prevent them from escaping the viscous cycle of poverty in a rapidly changing world.

  • Almost one billion people, or one in seven of the world’s population, are hungry today.
  • In developing countries, 3.5 million mothers and children die needlessly each year because undernutrition leaves them more vulnerable to infectious diseases.  
  • More than 1.5 billion people live in countries experiencing fragility due to conflict or natural disasters.
  • More frequent and larger humanitarian disasters are affecting more people, with a fivefold increase in the incidence of natural disasters since the 1970s.
  • Environmental hazards such as pollution, severe weather events and climate change are threatening  livelihoods and could drive millions more into extreme poverty over the coming years.
  • Widening Inequality, including gender inequality remains a big challenge and can lead to people being trapped in poverty across generations   
  • Across regions, women’s rights are being violated and they still have less access to productive resources and opportunities
  • Population growth over the next 40 years will further strain environmental resources and put food production and security under pressure