SEATTLE — The World Bank released its annual publication of the World Development Indicators to report on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to be reached by 2030.
Data from over 200 economies and numerous statistical offices were enlisted in producing this report on the conditions of countries all over the world. After sifting through the numbers, key indicators and trends were chosen to represent the seventeen goals that measure issues from hunger to life below water.
The World Development Indicators report hopes to make monitoring the objectives with “more accuracy, better timeliness, greater disaggregation and higher frequency.”
Ending Global Poverty
Eradicating extreme poverty is the first sustainable development goal, an issue that has already been attacked for decades. Since 1990, the percentage of the global population living on less than $1.90 a day has declined from 37 percent to 13 percent. The report lauds China and India, the burgeoning Asian nations, for achieving the most progress in terms of reducing extreme poverty.
The World Development Indicators report provides optimistic insight with its prediction that “the global extreme poverty rate will fall to 4 percent by 2030” if the economic growth rates for the past 15 years persist. On the other hand, if economic expansion occurs at the pace of the past 20 years, the rate of extreme poverty is expected to fall to 6 percent.
Ending World Hunger
An update on world hunger, a goal very similar to zero poverty, is opened with the impressive progress — undernourishment has almost been cut in half over the past 25 years.
Coupled with the World Health Assembly’s Global Nutrition Targets 2025, the U.N.’s goals of ending hunger targets “childhood malnutrition, and the nutritional needs of adolescent girls and pregnant woman.” The World Bank and the U.N. are also targeting a reduction in child stunting (low weight for height) by 40 percent by 2030.
“Raising the agricultural productivity of poor households will be central to ending hinder by 2030,” the report reads. In low-income nations, these productivities are the lowest with an annual growth rate of cereal yields of 2.6 percent.
According to the U.N. Population Fund, in order to sustain the additional increase in the global population of more than 2.3 billion more people, food production must “increase dramatically” over the next few years. Because of the low food current growth rates, poverty stricken areas like Sub-Saharan Africa will be the focus.
A Note on Financial Inclusion
Within several of the Sustainable Goals, there are issues that overlap. Financial inclusion was measured in the report as a “cross-cutting issue” that remains significant despite its absence in the group of seventeen goals.
“Between 2011 and 2014, 700 million adults became new accountholders,” says the report. In addition, the percentage of those with accounts jumped from 51 percent to 61 percent.
Entrepreneurship and small business are two important elements of a developing local economy. Not only do they enrich lives of individuals, but they also provide a path for a low-income community to become self-sustainable.
The World Bank found small enterprises are suffering in low-income regions as “only a small share obtain financing through loans.” At the same time,01 however, the report notes that the “physical infrastructure of the financial system has been improving” and “innovative ways of accessing financial services are making brick-and-mortar branches less relevant in many cases.”
While significant progress has already been made over the past several decades in terms of achieving sustainability, challenges remain. The World Development Indicators will continue to measure and track progress as countries work toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
– Jacob Hess