How does poverty affect worldwide development and the use of the Millennium Development Goals?
The Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) are a group of goals created by the U.N, set to be achieved globally by 2015. There are eight different goals ranging from Gender Equality to Environmental Sustainability. The first goal is ‘To eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger’ and more specifically, Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day. By 2005, the global poverty rate declined from 46% in 1990 to 27%. Also, the number of people in developing regions living on less than $1.25 (US) a day declined from 1.8 billion in 1990 to 1.4 billion in 2005. This was very encouraging to the U.N. but then, the financial crisis hit. The economic crises sparked large declines in exports and slowed trade worldwide. Thankfully, the overall poverty rate is still expected to fall to 15 per cent by 2015.This translates into around 920 million people living under the poverty line which is half the number in 1990.
Singapore is most certainly a developed country as it has a booming economy and has completed every MDG. When the Millennium Development Goals were created in 2000, Singapore was already a very developed country and one of the biggest powers in Asia.
One of Singapore’s main trades is tourism, and in 2010, Singapore welcomed 11.6 million visitors, which generated 18.8 billion dollars. In the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum, Singapore emerged top in the Asia-Pacific region, and was ranked 10th out of 139 world economies for competitiveness of the tourism sector. This just goes to show that Singapore is a key player in the world tourism sector and is up the top with Switzerland, Germany, France and Canada.
There is very little data about poverty in Singapore as it can only be found in a small number of cases rather than tens of thousands of people. That being said, Singapore does have many poor and homeless people. Sadly, they are usually the elderly trying to look after themselves by busking or selling items off the streets. The Singapore government has implemented different action plans to counter this problem and has welfare programs that can help people in desperate need. Currently however, there are only 3000 families qualify.
The average household income was at S$7,214 in 2010, which is more than enough for a family to afford basic necessities. However this data may not be accurate at representing the situation. The number may have been lifted significantly by the wealthy locals and expats living here. What this does is cover the fact that there may be families living on much less that stated.
Cambodia is recognised as a developing country and needs assistance in completing MDG number 1. Cambodia has a lack of natural resources and a primitive industrial base causing agriculture to be a key part in its economy. Rice provides the staple diet and was Cambodia’s major export before 1970. Cambodia’s current GDP is $30.13 Billion U.S and the average income is $2000 U.S. This statement does not do the situation in Cambodia any justice. The people of Cambodia (usually in rural areas) suffer from 31% of the population being under the poverty line. This means that they live on less than $1.25 U.S a day.
From 2003, when the Government of Cambodia commenced the MDG’s, Cambodia has made good progress in some goals and very limited in others. While there has been a significant improvement in poverty rates in urban areas, the rates are still very high in rural areas. Implementing MDG number 1 would greatly improve the lives of the Cambodians. In 1990, it is estimated that 29% of Cambodia was below the ‘Dollar a Day’ rate before falling to 19% in 2004. Poverty has stalled the development of Cambodia as the priority of the government is focused on the people in poverty. To complete the MDG’s especially goal number 1, would be very beneficial for the Cambodians as the government could focus on developing the different trades and work on creating a safer, sustainable and productive future.
Singapore and Cambodia are both located in South East Asia, but there are some major differences between them. For example, Singapore has completed all of the 8 development goals, while Cambodia has only completed just one to date. Singapore’s G.D.P is $292.4 (US) Billion compared to Cambodia’s $30.13 Billion (US). Singapore is ranked 41st for G.D.P in the world compared to Cambodia at 108th. In the Human Development Index, Singapore is ranked 27th compared to Cambodia’s 124th.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide. There are many different methods of comparing the two countries and in nearly all of them, Singapore and the other developed countries will be higher ranked. That is why we must globally focus on helping the developing countries and the Millennium Development Goals are a great system for identifying and solving the issues that are faced.
How we can help
Poverty and Hunger can cause large problems in development and they need to approached globally. This does not mean though, that the only people that can help are governments, charities and large corporations. No, individuals are able to help in many ways. From simple things like donating money to a charity or raising awareness to organizing a full blown fund-raising event. Every thought and donation counts. Due to technological advances and increased popularity of social networks in recent years, a new window of opportunity for awareness and donation has been created. Facebook is an example. Currently, the website can boast the number of memberships is over 1 billion users.
This is a massive target audience and provides easy methods of awareness. Simple ideas such as creating a group or a page providing information and awareness on a chosen M.D.G or charity, then inviting your friends who then pass it on. Another interesting website is http://www.freerice.com/. This website gives the user questions on a variety of topics and states that they will donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Program whenever you answer the question correctly. This is possible through the use of sponsors on the page. This is a great idea and it allows users to have a sense of physically