Report on the World Social Situation 2010

Rethinking Poverty

image of Report on the World Social Situation 2010

The 2010 issue of the Report on the World Social Situation focuses on the challenge of achieving poverty reduction. The Millennium Development Goals seek to halve, by 2015, the level of extreme poverty that existed since 1990. The Report begins with an overview of global, regional and selected country poverty trends over the period 1981-2005, critically examines the conventional policy framework and popular poverty reduction programmes, argues that a commitment to eradicating poverty and to enhancing equity and social integration requires consistent actions directed towards sustainable economic growth, productive employment creation and social development, entailing an integrated approach to economic and social policies for the benefit of all citizens. It recommends consideration of the policy approaches that have dominated the disclosure on growth and poverty thus far.



Poverty: the official numbers

Monitoring and reporting on the levels, patterns and trends of poverty have become a standard part of anti-poverty programme design and assessment. With the steady internationalization of the poverty agenda, development organizations, both multilateral and bilateral, have demanded a template for regular reporting, and new concepts, definitions, data sets and instruments have been generated to meet this demand. Every major development organization produces its own report card, often ranking countries in terms of their performance. Special interest usually attaches to the annual Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and, of late, the Millennium Development Goals progress reports; however, it is perhaps the reports of the World Bank on the incidence of poverty based on the dollar-a-day criterion that generate the greatest interest and commentary in the development community. Statistics have an awesome power, and these global accounting exercises present statistical data to journalists, researchers, practitioners and activists as irrefutable facts. What, then, are those ostensible facts? The present chapter provides a summary of the currently most influential versions, largely associated with the World Bank’s dollar-a-day poverty estimates.


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