Poverty can be erased through the deployment of smart infrastructures, circular economy and carbon financial instruments
The UN 2030 Agenda acknowledges that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.
That is why, its first Sustainable Development Goal (#SDG1) aims to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”. Its seven associated targets aims, among others, to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty, and implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.
Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992. "Combating poverty" is the topic of Chapter 3 of Agenda 21. It emphasises that poverty is a complex multidimensional problem with origins in both the national and international domains.
The years following the 1992 Rio Conference have witnessed an increase in the number of people living in absolute poverty, particularly in developing countries. The enormity and complexity of the poverty issue demonstrates the need of a holistic, cross-sectional and multi-stakeholder approach.
The United Nation Approach
As recalled by the foreword of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report, at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, 189 countries unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration, pledging to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty”. This commitment was translated into an inspiring framework of eight goals and, then, into wide-ranging practical steps that have enabled people across the world to improve their lives and their future prospects. The MDGs helped to lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, to make inroads against hunger, to enable more girls to attend school than ever before and to protect our planet.
Nevertheless, in spite of all the remarkable gains, inequalities have persisted and progress has been uneven. Therefore, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its set of Sustainable Development Goals have been committed, as stated in the Declaration of the Agenda, “to build upon the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and seek to address their unfinished business”.
The Agenda includes the following priority actions on poverty eradication:
- Improving access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial opportunities and productive resources;
- providing universal access to basic social services.
- Progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves.
- Empowering people living in poverty and their organizations.
- Addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women.
- Working with interested donors and recipients to allocate increased shares of ODA to poverty eradication.
- Intensifying international cooperation for poverty eradication.
A global indicator framework for Sustainable Development Goals was developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and agreed upon at the 48th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission held in March 2017.
The official indicator list consists of 247 parameters which includes the global indicator framework as contained in A/RES/71/313. However, twelve indicators repeat under two or three different targets. Then, the global indicator framework includes 231 unique indicators.
The indicators in this framework comprising the #SDG1 focus on measuring the economic capacity of the citizens, the national investments on social protection, the national policies evolution for building inclusive and equitable societies. We can classified the indicators as measuring social and economic impact.
Our vision about the poverty issue
In our humble opinion, the United Nation approach has shown to be ineffective to meet the targets of the #SDG1. We suggest as a main reason for this observation the lack of holistic understanding of the reality around being poor which leads to a wrong definition of the concept poor. There is many initiatives trying to correct this error as the creation of the Happiness Index.
We proposed a new revision of the definition which should include a holistic analysis of the personal situation of every citizen.
First point to be redefine should be the personal value and capacity for value creation. Many people with low income actually have a sustainable and green lifestyle. Their positive environmental impact is not accounted as a personal value, although, there is a global internationally accepted accounting system based on equivalents of CO2 emissions.
Second point to be redefine should be the employment situation in the new light of the needs of the labour market trends. Today, the discussion around the future of work is quite narrow to the traditional idea of employment based on exchanging time for money. We suggest a wide analysis of the value which each person can bring in the novel digital industries as many of the professional profiles are still under definition. Additionally, the demand of education for these new profiles stays unclear. Lastly, it is shown that for many digital industries the mere existence of a person accounts as a value because of its personal data and potential for data creation.
In our improved definition about traditionally defined as low income citizens, we can recognised people with sustainable overtime income. We suggest a revision on the distribution of the wealth created in the digital and sharing economies. Today, every business model can recognise and contribute to the eradication of the poverty.
We advocate for the erase of the word poverty as a discriminatory tool which implements discrimination between citizens and countries. We humbly suggest that more inclusive concept can change the perspective and accelerate the social leveraging.
We suggest the building of new moral-value’s system which can accommodate the perspectives of high and low income citizens as a personal life style fitting. The high income people are not richer than the low incomes because in more of the cases they have a zero financial balance. Then, they suffer from varieties of conditions which deteriorate their personal life and health.
Additionally, we suggest to treat the question of violence as independent of economic poverty. It is largely demonstrated that domestic violence persists regard social status, age and economic income. There are many evidences that economic poverty is not the cause but the result of violence. It is urgent to revise the oficial definitions related to violence if we want to accomplish the UN 2030 Agenda.
The Circular Smart Approach
We propose the Circular Smart Approach as a tool for the eradication of poverty. It has been conceived in the circular economy and smart cities concepts. Then, it is based on the following principles:
- Recognition of the value of the discarded as a waste resources evolving the value exchange system to recognise the value of any type of resource whatever is time, personal development, companion, care, materials, objects, knowledge, positive environmental impact, contacts.
- Access of the citizens to the revenues generated by any data created by themselves. However, it is open data in cities or data locked by digital service providers, a percentage of the generated revenue from it should be given back to its creator.
- Universal access to interactive infrastructures. The robotisation of our daily life should be available for every citizen. The education and training of AI should be democratised and bring to every citizen regardless age, gender, race.
- Recognition of the economic value of Nature. The value of biodiversity needs to be integrated in the global accountable system. A value of an original forest ecosystem is thousand of times higher than any reforestation can achieve. Preserving and taking care of the biodiversity can bring new economic opportunities and social leverage.