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Poverty Eradication

Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Various social groups bear disproportionate burden of poverty. The World Social Summit identified poverty eradication as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of mankind and called on governments to address the root causes of poverty, provide for basic needs for all and ensure that the poor have access to productive resources, including credit, education and training. Recognizing insufficient progress in the poverty reduction, the 24th special session of the General Assembly devoted to the review of the Copenhagen commitments, decided to set up targets to reduce the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by one half by 2015. This target has been endorsed by the Millennium Summit as Millennium Development Goal 1. Poverty eradication must be mainstreamed into the national policies and actions in accordance with the internationally agreed development goals forming part of the broad United Nations Development Agenda, forged at UN conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. The Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017), proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 2007 aims at supporting such a broad framework for poverty eradication, emphasizing the need to strengthen the leadership role of the United Nations in promoting international cooperation for development, critical for the eradication of poverty. A social perspective on development requires addressing poverty in all its dimensions. It promotes people-centered approach to poverty eradication advocating the empowerment of people living in poverty through their full participation in all aspects of political, economic and social life, especially in the design and implementation of policies that affect the poorest and most vulnerable groups of society. An integrated strategy towards poverty eradication necessitates implementing policies geared to more equitable distribution of wealth and income and social protection coverage. A social perspective on poverty should contribute to the debate on the effectiveness and limitations of current poverty reduction strategies. Poverty analysis from a social perspective requires thorough examination of the impact of economic and social policies on the poor and other vulnerable social groups. Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) serves as a tool to assess both the economic and social impact of reforms on different social and income groups. Properly conducted PSIA contributes to national debate on policy options and helps to promote national ownership of development strategies and could contribute to the operationalization of Copenhagen's commitments.

Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS)

The Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) is prepared on a biennial basis by the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Over the years, the Report has served as a background document for discussion and policy analysis of socio-economic matters at the intergovernmental level, and has aimed at contributing to the identification of emerging social trends of international concern and to the analysis of relationships among major development issues which have both international and national dimensions. In its resolution A/RES/56/177 | English | French | Spanish | Chinese | Arabic | Russian | of 15 December 2001, the United Nations General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to change the periodicity of the Reports on the World Social Situation from a four-year cycle to a two-year cycle.

Contaminated water

Each year many children and adults die as a result of a lack of access to clean drinking water and poor sanitation. Many combinable diseases and many of the poverty related diseases spread as a result of inadequate access to clean drinking water. According to UNICEF 3,000 children die every day, worldwide due to contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation.Although the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the number of people who did not have access to clean water by 2015, was reached five years ahead of schedule in 2010, there are still 783 million people who rely on unimproved water sources.In 2010 the United Nations declared access to clean water a fundamental human right, integral to the achievement of other rights. This made it enforceable and justifiable to permit governments to ensure their populations access to clean water. Though access to water has improved for some, it continues to be especially difficult for women and children. Women and girls bear most of the burden for accessing water and supplying it to their households. In India and Sub- Saharan Africa, and parts of Latin America, women are required to travel long distance in order to access clean water source. This has a significant impact on girls' educational attainment .There have been further efforts to improve water quality using new technology which allows water to be disinfected immediately upon collection and during the storage process. Clean water is necessary for cooking, cleaning, and laundry because many people come into contact with disease causing pathogens through their food, or while bathing or washing.

Lack of food

Malnutrition disproportionately affect those in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 35 percent of children under the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa show physical signs of malnutrition. Malnutrition, the immune system, and infectious diseases operate in a cyclical manner: infectious diseases have deleterious effects on nutritional status, and nutritional deficiencies can lower the strength of the immune system which affects the body's ability to resist infections.Similarly, malnutrition of both macronutrients (such as protein and energy) and micronutrients (such as iron, zinc, and vitamins) increase susceptibility to HIV infections by interfering with the immune system and through other biological mechanisms. Depletion of macronutrients and micronutrients promotes viral replication that contributes to greater risks of HIV transmission from mother-to-child as well as those through sexual transmission.Increased mother-to-child transmission is related to specific deficiencies in micronutrients such as vitamin A. Further, anemia, a decrease in the number of red blood cells, increases viral shedding in the birth canal, which also increases risk of mother-to-child transmission. Without these vital nutrients, the body lacks the defense mechanisms to resist infections. At the same time, HIV lowers the body's ability to intake essential nutrients. HIV infection can affect the production of hormones that interfere with the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.