End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere. For the first time, as part of the SDGs, countries have committed to reducing child poverty. Children experience poverty differently from adults – their needs and expectations are different, and for children, the effects of poverty can be lifelong. Nevertheless, child poverty is rarely differentiated from adult poverty, and its special dimensions are often not recognized.

Child poverty is the lack of public and private material resources to realize rights such as those to good nutrition, health, water, education and shelter. If deprived of these rights, children have their childhood robbed from them, day in and day out. Moreover, these deprivations diminish the life chances of poor children and their ability to realize their full potential. These deprivations have devastating, life-long consequences and serious implications for children, for future generations and for societies.

For the first time, as part of the SDGs, countries have committed to addressing child poverty specifically and directly. To-date many poverty measures on children were derived from household poverty. This has been insufficient because a household may be considered non-poor due to indicators related to adults despite the fact that children suffer deprivations. The children in these households would not be counted as poor, and their poverty would be invisible. At a minimum, children have to be identified in all national poverty reporting for the SDGs. This emphasis on children dovetails with the commitment that UNICEF has made to help the world’s youngest members not only survive but thrive.

UNICEF’s contribution towards reaching Goal 1 centres on helping countries to design, implement and monitor child poverty reduction policies. In order to do this, measuring poverty according to national definitions is paramount. Information about children living in monetary poor households as well as measures of multidimensional poverty together provide a full profile of child poverty and of the deprivations experienced by children. Additionally, UNICEF is co-custodian of Indicator 1.b.1 which provides critical information about how children are faring by monitoring government spending on education, health and social protection services that go to the poor.

Child-related SDG indicators

TARGET 1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day

TARGET 1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

TARGET 1.3 Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable

TARGET 1.b Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions

Key asks

To eliminate extreme poverty (bringing the proportion of people struggling to survive on less than PPP $1.90 a day to zero) and halve the proportion of people living in poverty according to national definitions, UNICEF has the five key asks that encourage all governments to:

  1. Routinely measure and monitor child poverty
  2. Prioritize child poverty in national development strategies and plans
  3. Expand child-sensitive social protection programmes, including within government’s immediate and longer term COVID-19 response
  4. Invest in quality social services
  5. Safeguard social spending

Learn more about UNICEF’s key asks for implementing Goal 1