ONE’s 2015 DATA Report: Putting the poorest people first

The global drive to end extreme poverty will not succeed without a shift in focus to the very poorest

A new funding plan to deliver basic health and education for everyone is essential to end extreme poverty, according to The ONE Campaign’s DATA Report 2015: “Putting the Poorest First”, published today.

If the new Global Goals that will be launched in September are to succeed, world leaders must make a concerted effort to target the most disadvantaged countries or lives will be lost and years of development progress risks being undone.

A focus on girls and women is crucial, both to address the additional deprivation they face and because smart investments in women are more effective at lifting communities out of poverty.

ONE’s analysis shows donors missing their aid targets, and financial support for the least developed countries (LDCs) continues to fall. Although LDCs are increasingly home to those who live on less than $1.25 a day, they received less than a third of aid (30.3%) in 2014. Had that share been increased to 50%, an additional $26.5 billion would have been available to those who need it most.

ONE is calling for better targeted aid to be coupled with increased domestic revenues from developing countries’ own governments to fund access to basic social services for everyone by 2020. With a $152 billion funding gap to meet these basic needs worldwide, including $34.5 billion in LDCs, July’s Financing for Development (FfD) conference in Addis Ababa will be a pivotal moment in securing ambitious commitments.

Investments in agriculture and energy are essential, along with action to clamp down on corruption, curb illicit financial flows and drive up transparency so citizens can follow the money from resources to results.

Eloise Todd, ONE’s Global Policy Director said:

2015 could be a game changer for the world’s most vulnerable people, but decisions taken in Addis Ababa will determine whether the opportunity is seized or squandered. We won’t see an end to extreme poverty unless leaders shift focus to the poorest countries and the poorest people, especially girls and women.

New global goals which could set out the roadmap to end extreme poverty will be worth little if leaders fail to back them with an ambitious financing plan. Everyone, no matter where they are born, should be able to access basic services, including health and education.

Despite multiple summits to debate these issues, there’s a shocking lack of global leadership to deliver genuine, life changing commitments for the world’s poorest and hardest to reach. Politicians will gather in Brussels, Schloss Elmau and Addis Ababa in the coming weeks. They must inject some urgency into this process.

The report sets out a five point plan for the world’s poorest to be agreed at the pivotal FfD conference, which must include:

  • access to basic services – minimum funding to ensure the basic needs of every person can be meet, including health and education, with a focus on girls and women
  • increased domestic government revenues – developing countries should drive up revenue through implementing fair tax policies, curbing corruption and stemming illicit financial flows
  • development assistance should be targeted where it is most needed, with 50% going to LDCs, and donors setting a timetable to reach the international target of spending 0.7% of GNI on aid
  • sustainable inclusive growth – specific investment to drive up productivity, in particular agriculture, infrastructure, energy, trade and private finance
  • strong accountability through a data revolution to ensure that commitments are followed through

ONE’s analysis shows a minimum level of spending of $500 per person per year, or 10% of GDP, is needed to deliver the scale of ambition needed to meet the Global Goals. For the 27 countries that currently spend less than $150 per person, ONE recommends an interim target of $300 per person. The total cost is $152 billion for the 66 countries worldwide that are below their targets; the cost for the 37 LDCs is $34.5 billion.

The largest source of funding for development comes from countries’ own resources. To provide basic services for their citizens, governments should increase domestic revenues towards ambitious, nationally-defined revenue to GDP targets. This can be achieved through implementing fair tax policies, curbing corruption and stemming illicit flows. By halving the revenue gap, domestic resources could be increased by $106.9 billion across 46 developing countries; $14.4 billion in the least developed countries.

Notes to editors

  1. The full report is available at http://www.one.org/datareport
  2. 43% of people living in Least Developed Countries live in extreme poverty, compared with 13% of the population in non-LDC developing countries. LDCs are projected to make up 50% of the global poverty burden by 2030.
  3. ONE’s ‘Poverty is Sexist’ campaign is calling for women’s empowerment to be at the heart of the Global Goals. It has been backed by 36 of the world’s most powerful women, including Beyoncé, Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, Angelique Kidjo and other leading women from the worlds of business, arts, politics and activism who have written an open letter to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and African Union Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who both host crucial summits in the coming weeks.
  4. Top African women musicians have joined the Poverty is Sexist campaign with a brand new track, Strong Girl, released on May 13. Thousands of people from more than 100 countries have shown support by posting a #strengthie picture on social media.
  5. Key international meetings where these issues will be discussed include the Europeans Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 26 May; the G7 Summit, hosted by Germany in Schloss Elmau on 7 – 8 June; the African Union Summit in South Africa on 7 – 15 June; and the third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 13 – 16 July.

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