Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

I wrote about the Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015 and said that I would return each goal in more detail.  True to my word let us look at the first one:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Now that is an important goal, do you not think?  It may not get support across the political spectrum but I reckon that Amnesty members and supporters would stand up for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger throughout the world.  If you are extremely poor and hungry what other rights matter to you?  "Eradicate" is a good strong word.  The only question is how this eradication is to be achieved.  It will certainly require some shifting the balance between the richer people of the world and the poorer.

Each of the Millennium Development Goals has targets which give measurable ways of looking at progress (or the lack of progress) towards the goal.  These are the three targets for Goal 1:

Target 1a: Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day

Target 1b: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

Target 1c: Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

I note that targets 1a and 1c are not about eliminating poverty or hunger, they are about halving them.  Having low expectations, being realistic rather than ambitious, is one way to ensure that the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger does not happen.

I am sure that others know much more about development and economics (and I would like to hear from the experts) but we are all entitled to comment on such important political and moral questions.  What do you think?

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