Time to end the cycle of poverty ensuring peace and prosperity in the world

Posted: 2017-09-12
Written by: EU Network
Category: Battle of ideas
Tagged: world sustainable development sustainable solution prosperity poverty peace crysis management action

While the world on the whole has become more prosperous in recent years, inequality has increased both within and between countries therefore stronger partnerships and development cooperation among countries will play a key role in accelerating sustainable development. World’s population has reached 7.5 billion and the number is growing by 1.18 % per year, or approximately an additional 83 million people annually.

Every year between 100 and 200 million people are the victims of flooding. By 2030 around 40% of the world’s population may be affected by a shortage of clean drinking water. Failing water management threatens the stability and safety of entire societies. Gender inequity, poverty among women, sexual and gender-based violence are major impediments especially in developing countries.  Large numbers of people have no access to health care and many women give birth without any form of professional assistance.


According to the most recent estimates, today  10.7 % of the world’s population lives on less than US $1.90 a day.  Majority of the global poor live in rural areas and are poorly educated, mostly employed in the agricultural sector, and over half are under 18 years of age. Around 28 %  of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Being raised in poverty  places children at higher risk for a wide range of problems, for example, the poorest children are four times less likely than the richest children to be enrolled in primary education across developing countries. Poor people face higher risks of malnutrition and death in childhood and lower odds of receiving key health care interventions.

Nearly a billion people unable to read a book or sign their names and nearly two-thirds are women.



Extreme poverty has many causes: harsh climate, lack of fertile land, war and political strife, government corruption, unfair trade policies, disease etc. Many of these causes are in turn exacerbated by poverty, contributing to a cycle of suffering that prevents the world's neediest people from accessing the basic health services, resources, and information that they need to survive.

The World Health Organization  estimates that about 16 000 children  under the age of 5 die each day from preventable causes associated with extreme poverty. This is nearly 750 children an hour. These causes of death include insufficient nutrition, lack of access to clean water, inadequate health care services, malaria, dysentery, and neonatal infection. These are diseases and health problems that are essentially non-existent in the developed world.


There has been marked progress on reducing poverty over the past decades and nearly 1.1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty since 1990.  Despite decades of progress in reducing poverty, the world continues to suffer from substantial inequalities. Inequality is constraining national economies and destabilizing global collaboration in ways that put humanity’s most critical achievements and aspirations at risk. For those who have been able to move out of poverty, progress is often temporary: economic shocks, food insecurity and climate change threaten to rob them of their hard-won gains and force them back into poverty.

Countries with fast-growing economies where the rule of law is weak run the risk of sliding into instability. There is an urgent need to pursue an environmentally sustainable path to poverty reduction, economic growth and prosperity. Poverty is not the only issue at stake and recent global development trends have highlighted that development must go hand-in-hand with defending human rights and freedoms. The importance of international cooperation in order to support sustainable development is obvious.  Economic growth is an important weapon in the fight against poverty and hunger in developing countries.
There are countries that have the ability to help, and there are countries that need this help more than others. Development cooperation  is linked to major global issues and working in partnership with developing countries fosters smart, sustainable and inclusive growth boosting prosperity and promoting open and fair markets worldwide creates a win-win situation. The aim of development cooperation is to shape global sustainable development through joint efforts providing assistance to poor and less developed countries by promoting their long-term social and economic human development, ensuring peace and security in the world. 

Most development aid comes from the developed countries but some poorer countries also contribute aid. Development cooperation expresses  various types of assistance to poor and less-developed countries to foster their long-term social and economic development and therefore to contribute in poverty reduction on the world.

The development cooperation involves not only governmental institutions and their representatives but also representatives of the private sector and society as a whole, by making their contribution to reducing poverty in the world,  for example, providing  access to education, healthcare, electricity, safe water and other critical services remains elusive for many people, often determined by socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity and geography. Gender equality and women's empowerment are essential aspects of development cooperation. The economic empowerment of women is particularly vital to closing the gender gap in agriculture and ensuring women’s full and equal access to land and other productive resources, as well as services, finances, technology, skills and employment.


About 80-85% of development  aid comes from government sources as official development assistance. The remaining 15-20% comes from private organisations such as "non-governmental organisations", foundations and development charities.   The aid is mainly made available through projects, grants and contracts but also through sector and budget support.  Finding appropriate models for development and development assistance represents challenges in all contexts.

In crisis-prone countries aid should  be increasingly geared towards peace-building and statebuilding to improve its quality and maximise impact to  ensure a smooth transition from humanitarian aid to sustainable development aid and to improve coordination to help bring stability. Countries with fast-growing economies where the rule of law is weak run the risk of sliding into instability. Economic growth is an important weapon in the fight against poverty and hunger in developing countries by helping entrepreneurs build their knowledge and skills focusing on the following conditions for sustainable business. Involved stakeholders should not be held back by expensive, complicated procedures. Accountability and a functioning, accessible infrastructure is essential to ensure a good business climate in developing countries.   Access to financial services boosts economic activity and makes small businesses and people in low income groups more self-reliant.



Helping people help themselves  -  a  stronger role of civil society in development helps improving local ownership.


In the final decades of the 20th century the amount of resources for development activities that were channelled through non governmental organisations increased notably. Most government donors channel some of their official development assistance through non governmental organisations, meaning that the organizations receive grants directly from the donor government.

Civil society is a key partner of donors in developing countries. Non-state actors can, for instance, include non-governmental organisations, professional associations, social partners, universities or the media. They are usually close to local communities and can help donors to respond to people’s needs. Civil society increasingly take on more responsibility in shaping strategies and programming.

Improving the quality of development cooperation in fragile and conflict-affected regions is more important now than ever. Involving a broader range of stakeholders can introduce innovative ideas, provide information on a much wider range of development activities, and bring on-the-ground perspectives  making development cooperation more effective.

Some suggestions for more effective development cooperation:

  1. High priority should be given to international efforts to resolve civil conflicts, rebuilding peace, effective governance and social cohesion in countries that have had civil conflicts.
  2. Policies, programmes, partnerships and experiences that have effectively contributed to progress towards sustainable development should be assessed, reported, publicized and replicated in other countries, adapted as necessary to local conditions.
  3. Regional networks of experts may be established for identifying and promoting integrated and cost-effective approaches to sustainable development based on shared experiences.
  4. Integrating economic growth, social development and protection of the environment, on the basis of national action and international cooperation, with expanded financial and technical assistance.

The poorest countries in the world are also the most vulnerable to environmental hazards, namely to the effects of climate change. The next years will be crucial for international cooperation and development. Economic growth is both a central element of sustainable development and a source of finance for investment. Never before have different parts of the world been so strongly dependent on each other and  never before have people been so closely interlinked. So it is essentially an urge to help those in need, and to raise awareness of global issues and how we can create cooperation promoting practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.

Sintija Bernava
Chairwoman of the Board of Non Governmental Organisation "Donum Animus" (Latvia)
"Donum Animus" is the only  Non Governmental Organisation from Latvia holding Special Consultative Status of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations


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