Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where are we?

 School children at the Lamfugon School in South Cotabato Philippines line up to receive their mid-day meal. Photo credit: Ferdinand De/ UNDP Picture This

Asia and the Pacific has already achieved the target of halving the proportion of people living below $1.25 a day. However, the region is still home to two-thirds of the world’s poor, over 750 million people. If $2 a day is used as a poverty line, the number of poor people doubles. Reflecting the large populations of countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan, there are more people living below and just above the extreme poverty line in middle-income countries than in low-income countries in this region.

Asia-Pacific countries, on average, have relatively low unemployment. However, unemployment and underemployment is a concern for women and youth. There is a persistent gender gap against women in their access to decent job, particularly in South Asia. A significant number of women is not engaged in any paid work, or if they work they find employment in the informal sector, which increases their vulnerability by not providing any social benefit and safety nets. The average rate of youth unemployment in Asia and the Pacific is around 11 percent, more than double the rate for total working age population. Approximately 400 million workers are ‘working poor’ living with their family on less than $1.25 a day.

The region, particularly South Asia, is lagging behind in reducing hunger and improving nutrition status of the population. More than 60 percent of the world’s hungry and the undernourished live in Asia and the Pacific. A particular concern is the level of undernutrition among women and children, which is interlinked and an inter-generational poverty issue. Undernourishment damages women’s health and reduces their productivity, which affects the nutrition and health of their children.

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