More than a quarter of the inhabitants of developing countries still have nothing to live on…
Almost one person in five – 1.2 billion men, women and children – are currently living in a situation of extreme poverty, surviving on the equivalent of less than one dollar a day; half the people in the world are trying to manage below the poverty level of two dollars a day.
About 824 million people go hungry or have a precarious food supply; 500 million of them suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Throughout the world, 170 million children suffer from malnutrition, more than 100 million never attend school, 230 million have no access to secondary education, and almost 250 million work to pay for their own needs and those of their families.
In the industrialised countries, more than 100 million people live below the income poverty line, 37 million are jobless, and more than 5 million people are homeless.
1.6 billion people in the world have no access to drinking water.
More than 840 million adults in the world are illiterate – 65% of them are women.
800 million people have no access to health care.
In Africa, the continent that numbers 33 of the 49 poorest countries in the world, 28.1 million people are living with HIV and AIDS. Over the next ten years, 40 million African children will lose their parents as a result of AIDS.
The developing countries have one doctor per 6 000 inhabitants, compared with one doctor for 350 inhabitants in the industrialised countries.
20% of the population of the industrialised countries account for 86% of the world’s total consumption expenditure, while the poorest 20% in the world consume no more than 1.3%.
The world has the necessary resources and skills to eradicate poverty totally in less than one generation…
The current net wealth of the ten richest billionaires is 6 billion, more than twice the total national income of the least developed countries.
The cost of eradicating poverty is 1% of global income. billion a year (equivalent to 0.5% of annual global income) would ensure universal access to basic social services (basic education, health, nutrition, access to water and sewerage disposal).
An effective improvement in the situation of the 20 poorest countries would cost .5 billion – equivalent to the cost of building EuroDisney.
Reducing the debt of the most heavily indebted countries would cost between .5 and 7.5 billion – less than the cost of a Stealth bomber.
Extreme poverty could be banished from the globe by 2015...
The proportion of humankind living in poverty has fallen faster in the past 50 years than in the previous 500 years.
Literacy levels of adults in developing countries have increased from 48% in 1970 to 72% in 1998; income poverty has fallen from 29 to 24%, and nowadays only 14 rather than 20% of newborn babies are likely to die before reaching the age of 40 years.
Over the past three decades the proportion of people with access to drinking water has almost doubled – from 36 to nearly 70%.
Each year for the past 20 years, basic immunization campaigns have saved the lives of about three million children.
Since 1960 infant mortality rates in developing countries have more than halved, and malnutrition rates have fallen by almost a third.
Between 1960 and 1993 average life expectancy increased by more than a third in developing countries. Life expectancy now exceeds 70 years in 30 countries.
Poverty is no longer inevitable; it must now be relegated to past history, alongside slavery, colonialism and nuclear war.