Opinion: Ending extreme poverty is within reach. We can’t give up.

Esther Duflo, co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, and Shameran Abed, executive director or BRAC International, author an opinion piece ahead of the UN 2023 SDG Summit, discussing progress, bottlenecks and pathways for achieving SDG1: end poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Esther and Shameran note: "Extreme poverty cannot be eradicated by relying on piecemeal development programming limited to the particular whims of different donors. Real progress on the 2030 Agenda requires a massive, concerted push to scale solutions that work."


World leaders are gathering at the United Nations this week, at the midway point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to evaluate stalled progress and talk about how to get us back on track. This means doing more of what has already been proven to work.

The numbers don’t look good.  

The Sustainable Development Goals launched by the U.N. in 2015 set the ambitious target of eradicating extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $2.15 a day as goal No. 1. While there has been some improvement — in 2019, 8.5% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty, down from 10.8% in 2015 — recent crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and escalating climate impacts, have pushed us backward.