United Nations Development Program
The Eradication of Poverty
Jenny Qi, Forest Hills Northern High School
Poverty is an issue that every nation has dealt with, and is still a problem that every nation faces today. Poverty in today’s society is described as a measure of people who fall below a specific line of income, also called the poverty line. However, the issue of poverty can not only be defined as the lack of income but also the lack of a cumulation of basic necessities and rights important to life such as food and nutrition, shelter, and political voice and power. According to the World Bank, in 2015, ten percent of the world population lived on less than 1.9 US dollars per day, which is nearly thirty-six percent down from 1990. Though poverty seems to be improving at a world scale, many aspects of poverty are still deeply ingrained into developing nations.
Greece has a long history of poverty and especially after the Great Recession, Greece has experienced large amounts of poverty. After a Greek economic crisis that started in 2008, which was triggered by the damage of the worldwide Great Recession, the poverty rate increased by 40% according to a Cologne Institute of Economic Research study on European economy. From 2012 to 2018, the Troika offered Greece three international bailout programs that included many harsh conditions including high taxes and less spending, and while this prevented Greece from going bankrupt, the unemployment and poverty rates increased. Since the bailout program ended in 2018, there have been many positive developments such as the economy projected to increase by 2% in 2019 and 2020, and while unemployment is decreasing, it is still unacceptably high. Greece is also currently working on fixing banks that remain crippled by past due loans. Today, 15% of the Greece population lives in extreme poverty and more than a third, or 34% of the population is at risk of poverty.
The government has taken many steps in an attempt to eradicate poverty in Greece and though poverty has increased in the previous years, Greece believes that poverty will slowly decline in the long run with tax increases and cuts, as the economy continues to recover. As said before, banks are dampening growth prospects and causing financial stability risks. With the Hercule Asset Protection Scheme, it aims to decrease the amount of bad loans in banks without effecting the market with government subsides by cutting loans at Greek banks by 30 million euros, which is about 40% of the total amount of bad loans in Greek banks. This way, Greece’s economy will be more stable in the long run, leading to less poverty.
Greece acknowledges that the correlation between economic growth and poverty has weakened over time. However, Greece’s poverty rate was much lower before the economic crisis, and because of this, Greece believes that by working towards improving and recovering our economy, poverty rates will begin to decrease. Greece advises the United Nations Development Program to continue developing solutions and reforms to gradually decrease poverty. Greece looks forward to working with other nations to form solutions in order to decrease poverty.
- Jenny Qi