Right now, 736 million people live in extreme poverty — struggling to survive on less than USD $1.90 per day. Meanwhile, the combined income of the wealthiest five nations in 2018 was USD $46 trillion, with the United States making up USD $20 trillion of that alone. This inequality is unacceptable and entirely unnecessary.
Progress is possible. Since 1990, in part because of steady increases in foreign aid, the number of people living in extreme poverty has halved. We can reach zero by 2030 — but only if we all do what we can to help.
The world’s richest countries have a large part to play by contributing what they can to international aid and making sure that this aid is effective and focused on those who are the furthest behind.
From protecting children against preventable disease to helping halve domestic violence for women, and ensuring every child has access to quality education, international aid budgets are playing a life-saving role in helping reduce global inequalities.
But there is more to be done. In 1970, the richest countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) in international aid — the equivalent of just 7 cents of every dollar. All these years later, very few are stepping up to the mark. Yet only nine countries, including the UK, Norway, and Ireland, have actually led the way to reach or put in place a plan to reach the 0.7% target.
New figures show the world needs an extra USD $350 billion each year to end extreme poverty in the poorest countries. This sounds like a lot, but is actually only one-fifth of what the world spends on military funding every year. And if every richer country were to follow through and contribute 0.7% of its GNI, we’d almost be there — this alone would raise USD $330 billion annually.
Ending extreme poverty is a possible dream — but only if we all do what we can. Sign a letter to tell more leaders why they should make a plan to increase their aid budgets in time to join the 0.7% club by 2030.