News & Insights

2015: A pivotal year for people living in poverty

Subscribe to GP's blogIf you like what you’re reading, please subscribe to our blog via email. Click here or enter your email in the subscription box at the top right corner of

This could be a pivotal year for people living in poverty as world leaders converge at two critical summits – the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Climate Change Conference – to shape the global development agenda. Though these meetings take place annually, 2015 will be different. The stakes are higher. Why?

What's next after the Millennium Development Goals?

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of eight goals that were created by the United Nations in 2000 to address extreme poverty. The goals included reducing extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and increasing access to education. Quantifiable targets for each goal were set and the deadline to achieve them is this year – 2015. The U.N. will now need to pass a new set of goals called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at their annual summit in New York this September. This new set of goals will target eradicating extreme poverty, reducing inequality and increasing our planet’s sustainability.

Why this matters:

The MDGs “created a concrete set of targets around which the international community rallied, and in the process captured the imagination of the world and attention of policy makers.”

This unity behind a common set of goals contributed to several important MDGs being achieved, including the reduction of extreme poverty by half (accomplished ahead of schedule in 2005). Though some targets will not be met on time, a great amount of progress was made across all eight MDGs. In order to maintain this momentum, a new set of goals – the SDGs – needs to approved.

Climate change and poverty are linked

The U.N. Climate Change Conference is slated to take place in Paris in December, during which time world leaders will try to reach a binding agreement on measures that can curb climate change. Reaching an agreement will be critical to lowering greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent global temperature rise from breaching levels that will cause dangerous and irreversible damage to the climate.

Why this matters:

Climate change affects all seven billion people living on the planet but it disproportionately impacts the poor. The poor have fewer resources to recover from
climate events that cause crops to fail, food and water shortages and destruction of infrastructure. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has repeatedly said,

“The poor will be hit first and hardest. This means that the people who are least responsible for raising the Earth’s temperature may suffer the gravest consequences from global warming. That is fundamentally unfair.”

Kicking off this year of critical global development discussions is the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting this week in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. As a nonprofit impact investor, we hope that world leaders can come together and agree upon a path to a future with more opportunities for people living in poverty. 

Blog Tags: Davos   global development   Millennium Development Goals   poverty   World Economic Forum   

Guatemalan farmers tend their fields
© Global Partnerships 2015

Leave a Comment


2 + 3 =