UN chief:1.2 billion live on less than USD 1.25 a day

UN chief:1.2 billion live on less than USD 1.25 a day

UN chief:1.2 billion live on less than USD 1.25 a day

More than 1.2 billion people are living on less than USD 1.25 a day and 2.4 billion are living on less than USD 2 a day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

He told the UN observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty that at least 700 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2010 and he is determined to help UN make "poverty history."

Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, Ban said inequality has grown more pronounced and discrimination against women and girls remains "a blatant injustice." He warned that "entrenched poverty and prejudice and vast gulfs between wealth and destitution, can undermine the fabric of societies and lead to instability."

The UN chief yesterday pointed to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, saying the disease is not only threatening health but economic progress and the inroads against poverty being made in the three hardest-hit countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The observance coincided with the release of a UN report by international experts on financing sustainable development which cited research from the Brookings Institution showing that about USD 66 billion is needed annually to increase incomes of the poorest to USD 1.25 a day.

Finnish Ambassador Pertti Majanen, co-chair of the experts committee, said that government aid to developing countries is about double that amount.

The experts said trillions of dollars a year are needed to finance development that preserves the environment. Annual global savings of USD 22 trillion are sufficient to pay for such things as renewable energy and measures to mitigate climate change, the experts said.

The challenge, they said, is for countries to promote financial systems that give incentives to reallocating a percentage of savings to development programs, including combatting climate change.

Majanen told a news conference that institutional investors' assets today are USD 80-90 trillion, and only a very small percentage is used for development efforts. He said a better dialogue with the private sector could open "huge possibilities" for greener investments to promote development.

But Majanen warned that "if the Ebola situation will really be exploding and becoming a ... big problem all over the world, getting universal," financing for sustainable development can be severely affected.

"This money I'm discussing, a very big portion of it will be needed for some other purposes there is no choice," Majanen said. "We have to look into the priorities every day and try to select the right priorities, but Ebola will really change the picture."

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox