Washington: Setting an ambitious agenda, the World Bank has fixed an 'expiration date' for extreme poverty by approving a plan to end the global menace within a generation by 2030.
"We are no longer dreaming of a world free of poverty. We have set an expiration date for extreme poverty. With commitment, cooperation, and the vision of leaders from around the world, we have great faith that we can make it happen," the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim told a news conference on Saturday.
Endorsing the World Bank's goal in a communique, its 25-membered Development Committee said that reducing the percentage of people living on less than USD 1.25 a day to three percent by 2030 will require strong growth across the developing world and translation of growth into poverty reduction to an extent not seen before in many low income countries.
Notably, India accounts for one-third of the global poor.
A new analysis of extreme poverty released by the World Bank earlier this week showed that there are still 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty (21 percent of the developing world population in 2010) and despite recent impressive progress, Sub-Saharan Africa still accounts for more than one-third of the world's extreme poor.
"I have no doubt that the world can end extreme poverty within a generation. But it's not a given and we cannot do it alone. It requires focus, innovation and commitments from everyone. This endorsement is an important step. If we succeed, together, we would have accomplished an historic milestone," the World Bank President said.
The committee also called on the World Bank Group to remain committed to all client countries, paying special attention to countries and regions with the highest incidence of poverty and to Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations, as well as to the particular challenges facing small states.
The committee stated the goals must be achieved without jeopardising the environment, magnifying economic debt or excluding vulnerable people and welcomed the commitment of the World Bank Group to work with the international community to improve the indicators related to environmental sustainability.
"The welfare of current and future generations requires securing the future of our planet, ensuring social inclusion, and limiting the economic debt inherited by future generations," it said.
The goal of shared prosperity -- fostering income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population in every country -- will not be achieved without addressing inequality, it said.
Shared prosperity also means focusing on those who, although not currently poor, are vulnerable to falling into poverty.
Investments that create opportunities for all citizens and promote gender equality are an important end in their own right, as well as being integral to creating sustained economic growth, the communique said.
First Published: Sunday, April 21, 2013, 11:42