International Conference Coverage: Friday Plenary
Plenary Session: Sustainable Development Goal 1 – End Poverty in All its Forms Everywhere
by Tatenda Zinyemba, PhD student, Maastricht University/ UNU-MERIT
Session chaired by Franziska Gassman, Maastricht University and Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Science.
Speakers: Armando Barrientos, University of Manchester
Gaspar Fajth, UNICEF East Asia Pacific Regional Office
Jo Ritzen, Former Minister of Education in The Netherlands, Maastricht University
Franziska Gassmann, the chair of the session, started off by showing that economic growth alone cannot get people out of poverty. She also highlighted that while the Millennium Development goals reduced poverty by half, many people remain impoverished. Hence, the questions presented to the panelists where:
(i) Are social protection policies effective instruments to achieve SDG1?
(ii) What are the preferred social protection instruments?
(iii) How can political will be created and can it promote financing of social protection?
(iv) What are the roles of national governments and international partners?
In Armando Barrientos’ view, it is important to firstly identify people in poverty (via national registries), particularly in developing countries. Additionally, social protection can be used to achieve SDG1 by expanding public services that target poverty reduction. For example, conditional cash transfer programs in Latin America are good social protection policies that have helped reduce poverty.
Gasper Fajth pointed to child development as well as evaluation and implementation of good policies as key factors in the achievement of SDG1. This is because children are future contributors to the global economy. He also added that focusing on economic growth alone would not help child development. In fact, children are usually left behind in the process. He concluded by emphasizing the importance of understanding the political economy of a country. This is crucial because policies that work in some countries or regions may not work in other places.
Lastly, Jo Ritzen’s viewpoint was based on his experiences as minister of education. He stated income distribution is not only humanistic, but it is important for economic growth. That is, poverty reduction can be achieved through income distribution. Moreover, more countries and need learn about and care about social protection.
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