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Eradication of poverty and sustainable development in developing countries: an oxymoron?

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  1. Critics of neo-classical and neo-liberal models of development
  2. Economic development needs to be realised in an optic implying human development strategies, thus considering the social dimension of the concept of sustainable development

The Millennium Development Goals have quantified targets for addressing poverty in its several dimensions (United Nations, 2005). Adopted in 2000, it is stated to be followed by "all the world's governments as a blueprint for building a better world in the 21st century" (Kofi Annan, 2005). The first Millennium Development Goal is to reduce by half the population living in extreme poverty and hunger before 2015. The World Bank (WB), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are satisfied by the current results, pointing out that consequently to the free-market policies. The number of people living on less than 1$ a day is decreasing. Questions that are raised in this context are: what is poverty and how can it be measured? Knowing that 1% of the world's richest people receive as much income as the poorest 57% (Weissman, 2003), the WB's definition of poverty that is only based on a certain level of income, seems problematic. Therefore, to understand the complexity of the concept of poverty, it is important to consider not only its economical or financial dimensions, but also to take into account indicators such as access to health and education, the existence of social security, and a safe environment.

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