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Are we underestimating urban poverty?

Data collection methods and poverty measures have not caught up with the reality of an increasingly urbanised world; as a result, it is increasingly likely that urban poverty is underestimated. This has important implications for targeting interventions and allocating resources in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development over the next 15 years. This report explores the current problems with the definition of 'slum' settlements and data collection in urban contexts and provides recommendations on how to address and improve the identified issues.

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Extending social insurance to informal workers: a gender analysis

Informal workers face high levels of risks yet the majority are not covered by social insurance. Meanwhile, women informal workers face specific and heightened risks, yet more women than men are excluded from insurance schemes. Increasingly a number of countries are extending social insurance to informal workers, but, with only some exceptions, most policies remain gender-blind or gender-neutral. Gender-responsive reforms can ensure increased coverage of women, including of female informal workers, to address the risks they face. These include: (i) legislation in the labour market; (ii) recognition of the care economy; (iii) innovative policy design in payment options and simplified administrative processes; and (iv) investment in gender-sensitive delivery capacity.

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Cultivating climate resilience: the Shea value chain

The economy of Burkina Faso is growing but is seen alongside high levels of poverty and a heavy reliance on the climate-vulnerable agriculture sector. This Working Paper outlines the importance of Shea in Burkina Faso both as a commodity for exporting and in providing subsistence for local communities. Although as a crop it is relatively resilience to a changing climate and is beneficial to the overall resilience of the ecosystem – through maintaining soil fertility and biodiversity of flora and fauna - the Shea tree is considered a vulnerable species, largely at risk from human practices. Measures such as soil and water conservation and management are being adopted to improve Shea tree conservation and management. Research and development focused on domestication and isolation of more adaptable varieties of Shea are being turned into on-the-ground applications. Furthermore, Organic and fair trade certifications sought by international brands in the cosmetic industry contribute to establishing appropriate rules for the safeguard of the resource and biodiversity in general, and the minimisation of negative environmental impacts during the production phases. While Shea production has what it takes to improve the resilience of local communities involved in different stages of the value chain, and measures are in place to reduce the risk of human practices, diversification of the crops cultivated by farmers is essential to ensure climate resistance and resilience of the ecologic and socio-economic system as a whole in Burkina Faso. More broadly, efforts that promote economic diversification are imperative in the light of a national agenda for sustainable development.

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Synthesis of seven country case studies: strengthening coherence between agriculture and social protection

Agriculture and social protection can complement and support each other in reducing hunger and poverty. On the one hand, agricultural interventions can promote growth in smallholder productivity by addressing structural constraints that limit the access of poor households to land and water resources, inputs, financial services, advisory services and markets. On the other, social protection can provide liquidity and certainty for poor smallholders, allowing them to invest in agriculture, reallocate their labour to on-farm activities, invest in human capital development, increase participation in social networks (which constitute an important source of informal risk management) and better manage risks, thereby allowing them to engage in more profitable livelihood and agricultural activities. Coherence between agricultural development and social protection can be achieved by incorporating social protection objectives, such as risk reduction, in agricultural development and vice versa and by linking activities in the two sectors to create complementarities between programmes. Through the Protection to Production (PtoP) project, led by FAO and UNICEF, considerable evidence has been generated on the productive and economic impacts of social protection and its contribution to sustainable poverty reduction and economic growth in Africa. However, less is known on how to strengthen the links to agricultural development, including the opportunities for doing so and the challenges to be overcome. Case studies were carried out in seven countries across Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Zambia), Asia (Bangladesh) and Latin America (Mexico, Peru). The studies examined programme concepts and methods, coordination and outcomes. In most countries, two programmes from the agricultural sector and two from the social protection sector were observed.

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Child poverty, inequality and demography: Why sub-Saharan Africa matters for the Sustainable Development Goals

In this publication we examine the implications of demographic trends in Africa for the changing age profile of world poverty – and for the region's development prospects. Investing in opportunities for Africa’s children could yield major returns for economic growth and human development. Education is critical. Delivering decent quality learning for all is a proven catalyst for development. We also highlight the expansion of reproductive health care, promotion of gender equity, measures to reduce early marriage, and cash transfers targeting child poverty as critical ingredients for change. African governments and the wider international community could be doing far more in these areas. With the right mix of policies in place, Africa could accelerate the pace of demographic transition – and reap a dividend from a rising generation of youth. There are valuable lessons to be drawn from other regions and some countries in Africa itself. But governments need to wake up to the demographic opportunity as a matter of urgency.

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Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper presents Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories. There are significant disparities across the globe in progress both between and within countries; LAC is no exception. There are a number of disparities across sub-regions and there are disparities within countries – ethnicity, for example, is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is likely to benefit from development gains. During the Millennium Development Goals era considerable gains were made in a number of countries in LAC. However, already strong outcomes in some areas compared with other developing regions will make continued progress towards the new goals difficult.

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Health, migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This briefing presents an overview of how international migration can have an impact on the sustainable development goal for health and well-being. It describes the health needs and health service delivery for migrants and refugees in different settings and highlights the ways they may be excluded in national policies relating to health and from specific policies that work towards achieving the Agenda 2030 on sustainable development.

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Ensuring escapes from poverty are sustained in Uganda

Since the early 1990s, Uganda has experienced substantial reductions in poverty. Using the national poverty line, the poverty headcount has declined from 56 percent in 1992/93 to just over 20 percent in 2012/13’. Economic growth, the end of conflict, and sound macroeconomic management have all contributed strongly to this success. However, as people have moved out of poverty, the number of people living at a level less than twice the poverty line—termed the ‘insecure non-poor’ in the Ugandan context—has risen. In 2012/2013, as many as 14.7 million people were ‘insecure non-poor’ meaning they were extremely vulnerable to falling into poverty in the event of shocks or stressors, such as drought or an episode of ill-health. This report combines analysis of UNPS data with qualitative research approaches; key informant interviews, life histories and participatory wealth ranking to investigate further the drivers of transitory escapes. Specifically, it examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it—that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty—while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again in the future. The report investigates the resources (land, livestock, and value of assets), attributes (household composition, and education level) and activities (including jobs, and engagement in non-farm enterprises) of households which enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood return to poverty.

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Ensuring escapes from poverty are sustained in rural Bangladesh

Bangladesh has experienced substantial reductions in both extreme poverty and poverty. The proportion of the population living below the national extreme poverty line has reduced from 50 percent in 1991 to 18 percent in 2010 while the poverty headcount ratio, using the national poverty line, has reduced from 60 percent to 32 percent over the same period. Economic growth, increased non-farm employment (particularly in the ready-made garment industry), international migration, and investments to improve human development outcomes have all contributed strongly to this success. However, some households escape poverty only to live at a level just above the poverty line: 19 percent of the population lives out of poverty, but has a level of consumption less than 1.25 times the national poverty line. They therefore remain vulnerable to slipping into poverty in the event of a shock or stressor, such as an episode of ill-health or a flood. This report combines analysis from three rounds of the Chronic Poverty and Long-Term Impact Study with qualitative research approaches; in particular: key informant interviews, life histories, and participatory wealth ranking to further investigate the drivers of transitory poverty escapes or of re-impoverishment. Specifically, it examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it—that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty—while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again. The report investigates the resources (land, livestock, and value of assets), attributes (household composition and education level), and activities (including jobs and engagement in non-farm activities) of households that enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood of returning to living in poverty again.

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Africa’s new climate economy: economic transformation and social and environmental change

Africa’s 'growth miracle' in the 21st century has reversed a long-standing narrative of pessimism about the region. GDP growth reached around 5% annually from 2001-2014. Rates of extreme poverty fell substantially. Yet big challenges remain. Growth slumped in 2015 and 2016. The region lags far behind on most measures of human development. Climate change is also taking an increasing toll on many countries: the region is warming faster than the world as a whole, and many areas will experience more frequent and intense droughts and floods. The economic impacts of climate change are expected to be severe, with agriculture and poor people especially at risk. This report lays out five key action areas for economic transformation and social and environmental progress in Africa: 1) getting the fundamentals right; 2) transforming agriculture and land use; 3) diversifying into manufacturing and other high-productivity sectors; 4) unleashing the power of urbanisation; and 5) fostering a modern energy transition.

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Ensuring escapes from poverty are sustained in rural Ethiopia

This report examines why some households in Ethiopia are able to escape poverty and remain out of it—that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty—while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again – that is, they experience transitory escapes. With this term, the report refers to households that successfully escape from poverty only to return to living in it once again, i.e. they become re-impoverished. The report investigates the resources (land, livestock, and value of assets), attributes (household composition and education level), and activities (including jobs, engagement in non-farm activities and migration) of households that enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood of returning to living in poverty again.

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Sustainable cities: internal migration, jobs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This briefing presents an overview of how rural to urban migration (internal migration) impacts on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goals 8 and 11. Despite the positive impact that internal migration can have on urban migrants, their families, and their 'host' city, urban migrants are often neglected in government policies. This briefing therefore presents a number of policy recommendations which aim to capture this potential and contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

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Unexpected allies: fossil fuel subsidy reform and education finance

Despite the urgency of transitioning to low-carbon societies, global fossil fuel subsidies are still significant – estimated at $646 billion in 2015. At the same time, governments have made high-level commitments to increase public spending on working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including that on education. The government spending gap to reach universal, good quality education in low and lower-middle income countries by 2030 is estimated at $39 billion a year between 2015 and 2030. Although the need for subsidy reform and elements of its processes have received extensive attention from the research community, the specific procedures for mitigating the adverse impacts of reform and using the fiscal space created through subsidy phase-out have received less attention. This is particularly important, as removing fossil fuel subsidies is likely to have a negative impact on the purchasing power of low-income households if parallel measures to protect the poorest are not undertaken. These measures include increased public spending on social protection, education and health. However, few studies have reviewed whether the promises made in the reform process, including those related to education, have been met, and if so, how. This report therefore evaluates the links between fossil fuel subsidy reforms and promised increases in expenditure on education, in particular in Angola, Ghana, Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco, Niger, Peru and the Philippines. Further, it provides two case studies of experiences that Ghana and Indonesia have had with linking subsidy reforms to increasing expenditure on education and other measures that have had indirect benefits for education, such as (conditional) cash transfers.

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How can social protection build resilience? Insights from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda

This paper presents a synthesis of findings from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda on the role of social protection programmes in contributing to people’s capacity to absorb, anticipate and adapt to climate-related shocks and stresses. The paper reflects on the actual and potential contributions social protection can make to increase the resilience of the poorest and most vulnerable. The analysis is informed by an understanding that resilience to climate extremes and disasters cannot be built by one programme or sector alone, but requires a range of programmes that together increase the capacity of people and governments to reduce the diverse set of risks that underpin poverty and vulnerability and increase the risk of disasters. For this, the competitive advantage of different sectors needs to be identified and strengthened to form part of a wider cross-sectoral sustainable development agenda.

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Child labour and education: a survey of slum settlements in Dhaka

Urbanisation has powered Bangladesh’s development. But it has gone hand-in-hand with the rapid growth of urban slums marked by high levels of poverty and low levels of service provision. In these slums, child labour is rife. This publication presents findings from one of the largest surveys on child work and education conducted in Bangladesh. ODI research found that 15% of 6 to 14-year-old children in Dhaka's slums were out of school and engaged in full-time work. Average working hours for these children were well beyond the 42-hour limit set by national legislation. The garments sector accounted for two thirds of female working children, raising serious concerns over garment exports and child labour. By the age of 14, almost half of children living in the slums of Dhaka were working. The research shows how early exposure to work and withdrawal from education are harmful to children. This report offers recommendations for coordinated, cross-sectoral policies to break the link between child labour, social disadvantage and restricted opportunities for education. Policies must be integrated to span the regulation of labour markets, education, child welfare and wider global strategies for poverty reduction – what we found in Dhaka is a microcosm of a global problem that should be at the centre of the international agenda.

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Leaving no one behind: a critical path for the first 1,000 days of the Sustainable Development Goals

Leaving no one behind is the moral issue of our age, and is at the heart of an ambitious blueprint for action: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One specific goal is ‘ending poverty, in all its forms, everywhere’, but the SDGs also aim to tackle marginalisation. The SDG outcome document specifies that the goals should be met for all segments of society, with an aim to reach those furthest behind first. Now the focus is on implementation, particularly at the national level. This report not only makes the case for early action, it also quantifies its benefits. The report outlines the actions that governments can take in the first 1,000 days of the SDGs to respond to what poor people want and to deliver for the most marginalised people and groups. The evidence shows that achieving the SDGs and the ambition to leave no one behind will become far more difficult the longer governments delay.

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Beyond coal: scaling up clean energy to fight global poverty

Eradicating global poverty is within reach, but under threat from a changing climate. Left unchecked, climate change will put at risk our ability to lift people out of extreme poverty permanently by 2030, the first target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Coal is the world’s number one source of CO2 emissions. Most historic emissions came from the coal industry in the developed world in the last century, with China joining the biggest emitters at the beginning of this one. It is widely accepted that a rapid and just response to climate change will require the urgent replacement of coal with low-carbon energy sources in rich economies. Now the coal industry claims that expanding coal use is critical to fighting extreme poverty and improving energy access for billions of people in developing countries. In fact, the opposite is true. The global commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and energy poverty by 2030 does not require such an expansion and it is incompatible with stabilising the earth’s climate. The evidence is clear: a lasting solution to poverty requires the world’s wealthiest economies to renounce coal, and we can and must end extreme poverty without the precipitous expansion of new coal power in developing ones.

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China and Africa: an emerging partnership for development? - an overview of issues

China’s phenomenal growth offers an opportunity to boost development in African countries. Moreover, China’s loans and concessional assistance financed a wide range of development projects. China also is reaping significant benefits from this relationship, through access to raw materials, expanded markets for exports of manufactures, the establishment of investment relationships which could generate significant profits over time and diplomatic influence. But leadership from African governments, particularly to strengthen domestic policies and governance and to harmonize regional policies so as to improve the continent’s bargaining position with China, are required to ensure that the China-Africa relationship contributes to sustainable growth and poverty reduction. The twin goals of this paper are to summarizes the analysis on the economic exchange between China and Africa, and to outline policy recommendations to improve the benefits to both parties.

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Inequality, economic growth, and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

In this paper, we have presented the patterns of inequality, growth and income inequality in the MENA region. Using a cross-sectional time series data of MENA countries for the period 1985-2009, we have also investigated the effect of income inequality on key societal development, namely economic growth and poverty, in the region. Our empirical results show that income inequality reduces economic growth and increases poverty in the region. Other factors having significant negative effect on economic growth in the MENA region include previous growth rate, exchange rate, government consumption expenditure or government burden, initial per capita GDP, inflation, and primary education. On the other hand, variables positively and significantly associated with MENA’s economic growth are domestic investment rate, urbanization, infrastructure development, and mineral rent as a percentage of GDP. In addition, apart from income inequality, other factors increasing poverty in the region are foreign direct investment, population growth, inflation rate, and the attainment of only primary education. Poverty-reducing variables in the region include domestic investment, trade openness, exchange rate, income per capita, and oil rents as a percentage of GDP. The policy implications of these results are discussed.

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Community based health insurance schemes in Africa: the case of Rwanda

Community-based health insurance schemes (Mutuelles) in Rwanda are one of the largest experiments in community based risk-sharing mechanisms in Sub-Saharan Africa for health related problems. This study examines the impact of the program on demand for modern health care, mitigation of out-of-pocket catastrophic health expenditure and social inclusiveness based on a nationally representative household survey using traditional regression approach and matching estimator popular in the evaluation literature. Our findings suggest that Mutuelles have been successful in increasing utilization of modern health care services and reducing catastrophic health related expenditure. According to our preferred method, higher utilization of health care services was found among the insure non-poor than insured poor households, with comparable effect in reducing health-related expenditure shocks.

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Microcredit for the development of the bottom of the pyramid segment: impact of access to financial services on microcredit clients, institutions and urban sustainability

The focus of microcredit for the bottom of the pyramid segment in urban areas is increasingly becoming an area of focus as development policy-makers work towards improving the lifestyles of urban poor. Previous research has had a keen focus on the impacts of financial services to business outcomes, leaving behind other equally vital aspects of development. In addition, very little of this research has focused on socio-economic and sustainability outcomes in urban areas. Using randomized controlled trials, this paper measures the impacts of microcredit to selected groups of people in Kibera slum in Nairobi city, using a combination of double difference and propensity score matching techniques to evaluate the impacts of these financial services on businesses, households, micro-finance institutions and urban sustainability outcomes. While the paper finds little evidence on urban sustainability outcomes, there is a significant, although small, improvement on business and households outcomes.

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Eliminating extreme poverty in Africa: trends, policies and the role of international organizations

Eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030, measured by people living on $1.25 a day, is the first goal among the UN Sustainable Development Goals expected to guide the post-2015 development agenda. This paper summarizes several studies on eradicating poverty globally and examines feasibility of this goal for Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), the world’s poorest but rapidly rising region. It finds that under plausible assumptions extreme poverty will not be eradicated in SSA by 2030, but it can be reduced to low levels. National and regional policies should aim at accelerating growth, while making it more inclusive and ‘green’. International organizations, including informal ones such as the G20, can play a critical role in this endeavour by encouraging policy coordination and coherence. Further, African countries will need a greater scope for bringing their perspectives into global economic debates on issues impacting sustainable development on the continent.

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Child labour and schooling in South Sudan and Sudan: is there a gender preference?

Based on the 2009 household surveys conducted in Sudan and South Sudan, the objective of this article is to analyse gender inequality for the young population aged 10 to 14 who should be at school. Although education is free in both countries, children’s enrolment at school is low especially for girls, many of them stay home performing domestic chores or have an economic activity particularly in rural areas. The bivariate probit model highlights the key role of the household head’s education, gender and poverty status in determining children’s schooling. Drawn on Pal (2004) who extended the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, we confirm that children’s activity in Sudan and South Sudan is strongly determined by the fact of being a girl or a boy. The article also provides some policy recommendations to address the issues of low school attendance and high gender inequality.

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Climate change, gender and development in Africa

This article focuses on policy to support adaptation to climate change, and the importance of good gender analysis in planning and following through. It first examines how vulnerabilities are understood by climate change specialists. Then it examines how, through these perspectives, African people – particularly women in environment-based livelihoods – can best be supported by governments and development partners to adapt to the effects of climate change.

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Health in Africa over the next 50 years

This report reviews the progress made in the health sector in Africa over the last 50 years, in terms of health outcomes, and particularly in the utilization of, and access to, healthcare services. The current challenges faced by the health sector are thoroughly assessed, focusing on the progress made toward the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need to establish more robust health systems, the problems of equity in access to and use of health services, sustainable health financing, and the quality of healthcare service provision. The discussion lays the groundwork for projections regarding the future of healthcare in Africa over the next 50 years. The analysis looks at how the sector is likely to evolve and the emerging trends, the key features of the post-MDG agenda, the future of health financing, and the methods that might be deployed to strengthen the system and human resources.

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