Poverty and health

Angola: Assessing risks to stability
Vines A and Weimar M: Centre for Strategic and International Studies, June 2011

Angola has made vast progress since the end of the civil war in 2002 according to this report. Despite being one of Africa’s wealthiest nations in terms of natural resources, particularly oil, and recording impressive gross domestic product growth rates of 7% per year, poverty among the country’s citizens is rampant. Angola has ranked near the bottom of the bottom of the United Nations’ Human Development Index and Angola has high inequality and urban poverty. Government is reported to have made various commitments to address these issues, including investment in jobs and houses, decentralisation of government services and development of the agricultural sector.

Anti-Hunger and Food Sovereignty Campaign launched
Democratic Left Front: 16 January 2011

The transnational influence in South Africa's economy is argued in this paper to be linked with ecological and economic problems that reflect in increasing hunger and health problems, higher food prices and polluting agro-processing. The Democratic Left Front proposes an Anti-Hunger and Food Sovereignty Campaign to challenge the current reality and politicise the food question in a people-centred way. They propose a campaign that is advanced from the grassroots through participatory processes, to mobilise mass forces against hunger and the way the current agro-processing industry shifts the value away from producers and raises costs for poor communities. They propose an alternative food economy as part of a wider socio-economic change, guided by the principles of solidarity, collective ownership, self-management, democratic control of capital, an eco-centric emphasis, direct community benefit and participatory democracy.

Applying Q2 methods to understand poverty dynamics: A focus on ill health and HIV/AIDS in Uganda
Lawson D, Hulme D: World Institute for Development Research (WIDER), 2006

This research we combine the strengths of quantitative analysis (representativeness, confidence levels, understanding of correlates and characteristics) and life history analysis (the elaboration of processes that underpin correlations, the understandings that poor people have of their poverty and the critical events that have caused deprivation), to make a genuine attempt at providing thorough insights in to poverty dynamics. Given the relative infancy of applying ‘Q2’ to poverty research, in this way, the paper adopts a joint methodological/themed approach i.e. we explain through the use of examples how the methods were combined to further our knowledge of poverty dynamics before then providing explicit examples of key findings.

Are there particular social determinants of health for the world's poorest countries?
Eshetu EB and Woldesenbet SA: African Health Sciences 11(1): 108–115, March 2011

Despite increased research interest on the social and economic determinants of health (SEDH), the vast majority of studies on this issue are from developed countries. The authors of this study set out to determine whether there are specific social determinants of health in the world's poorest countries, and if so, how they could be better identified and researched in Africa in order to promote and support universal health coverage. They conducted a literature review of existing papers on the social and economic determinants of health, finding that most of the existing studies on the SEDH studies did not provide adequate explanation on the historical and contemporary realities of SEDHs in the world's poorest countries. As these factors vary from one country to another, the authors argue that it is necessary for researchers and policy makers to understand country-specific conditions and design appropriate policies that take due cognisance of these country-specific circumstances. They call for further research in the world's poorest countries, especially in Africa.

As food prices increase, food aid hits a record low, says Food Aid Flows report, 2007
United Nations World Food Programme, 2008

The new edition of the annual Food Aid Flows report provides a comprehensive view of trends in global food aid, which include food aid deliveries by governments, non-governmental organisations and the World Food Programme. It shows that food aid deliveries continued to decline in 2007, reaching the lowest level since 1961. The report argues that there is an urgent need to reverse this trend. In particular, increased resources for food assistance are urgently needed to address the serious negative effects of the higher food prices on hunger and malnutrition across the world. The report provides data of food aid flows in 2007 by category, mode, channel, sale recipient, region and donor. Key trends identified in 2007 include: food aid deliveries reached a record low in 2007, with all three categories of food aid – emergency, project and programme – declining. The share of food aid that was channelled multilaterally continued to increase and reached 55%, the highest share ever. The share of food aid commodities procured in developing countries increased but there was a decline in direct transfers of wheat and maize, which can be partly explained by higher wheat and maize prices. Of 31 main government donors, 24 reduced their food aid donations in 2007 as all regions faced a decline in food aid deliveries in 2007, except Asia. Sub-Saharan Africa remained the largest recipient of food aid. Based on these findings, the report emphasises the need for increased food assistance, particularly in the context of recent food price rises. Given that food prices are expected to remain high during the next decade, it argues that, without additional interventions, higher food prices could jeopardise the prospects for the achievement of Millennium Development Goals and the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

Assuring food security in Africa

Food and nutrition security remain Africa's most fundamental challenges. The number of Africans who are undernourished has been on the rise for decades and now stands at about 200 million people. However, a new commitment to change is emerging both among African leaders and in the international community. Africa may at last be poised to make real progress on achieving food and nutrition security. This book, ‘2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture and the Environment’ by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), introduces a variety of presentations and deliberations that took place at a conference hosted by the International Food Policy Research Institute, held in Kampala, Uganda, April 2004.

AU and World Food Programme strengthen partnership
BuaNews, 27 April 2007

The African Union (AU) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have renewed their strategic partnership to fight hunger and enhance food security, education and emergency response across Africa. The agreement has been signed for humanitarian and development co-operation in the hope that the strategic partnership would serve as an important element in the shared commitment to meet the Millennium Development Goal of cutting global hunger by half by 2015.

Between the rack and a hot place: can we reconcile poverty eradication and tackling climate change?
Woodward D: Institute of Development Studies, February 2015

The author argues that the majority of humanity is on the rack of poverty; and a major obstacle to its eradication is the growing threat of extreme and irreversible climate change. The coexistence of a chronic crisis of serious under-consumption for most with an increasingly critical environmental crisis resulting from over-consumption in aggregate can only be explained by extreme inequality in the global distribution of income. Resolving both simultaneously, as envisaged in the Post-2015 Agenda, requires a fundamental reconsideration of the nature and objectives of economic policy, and of the global economic system. The lecture will discuss the extent and implications of global inequality, before building on a number of working hypotheses to outline an alternative model of economic development more conducive to the achievement of these two most fundamental global goals.

Beyond Addis: Financing Social Protection in the 2030 Agenda
Kaltenborn M: Social Protection and Human Rights, September 2016

the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) expressly identifies establishing universal social protection systems as in several of the international community’s new goals. The SDGs, unlike the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), explicitly state the need for social protection. Target 1.3 calls on states to “implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including social protection floors (SPFs)1, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable”. SPFs are not only an essential tool in combating poverty, but also form the basis for food security and housing, especially for vulnerable groups; they have the power to promote social cohesion, make an important contribution to helping people into decent employment and enable parents to send their children to school even during economic crises; all goals which are outlined in the Agenda 2030. By securing household incomes, social protection leads to an increase in private consumption and boosts domestic demand. Finally, well-implemented social protection programmes that give households a predictable source of income may also be able to reduce pressures for migration: there is a broad consensus that besides economic growth and investment in human development (in particular in education and health), social protection is one of the core requirements of any poverty reduction strategy, and is an important precondition for an inclusive and cohesive society, and for stabilising fragile states. Consequently, it is also an indispensable instrument in combating the root causes of migration. Establishing SPFs on sound financial footing is primarily a task for the national governments. The ILO Social Protection Floor Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) urges governments to consider using a variety of methods to mobilise the necessary resources for their nationally-defined social protection floors. Such methods may include effective enforcement of tax and contribution obligations, but also setting new priorities in their spending behaviour. To solve the problem of funding for SPFs, a Global Fund for Social Protection is proposed, with resources from both the high- and low-income countries to close the funding shortfall between what poorer countries can reasonably afford and address funding for emergencies. The author argues also that developed countries have an obligation to support partner countries in their efforts to strengthen their social security systems, while simultaneously ensuring that the partner countries will be able to sustain these systems themselves in the long run.

Biofuels and food security: Green economy in sub-Saharan Africa
Chinweze C, Abiola-Oloke G, Kennedy-Echetebu C and Jideani C: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 22 November 2011

In Africa, agricultural land covers less than 15% of the land area, yet demand from transnational companies is increasing for arable terrain, driven by the assumption that biofuels are a viable long-term solution to current energy and ecological challenges, combined with a decline in land allocated to agriculture in developed countries. The inclusion of biofuels as part of the green economy agenda jeopardises the immediate and long-term food security of many regions in the developing world, according to this paper. In sub-Saharan Africa, rising food prices, land grabs, and precarious and informal labour conditions are key social threats linked to the emphasis on biofuel production. In Africa, a region already under pressure from population growth, famine, drought and conflict, increases in biofuel production and concomitant land grabs can only contribute to weakening food security and keeping achievement of the Millennium Development Goals far beyond reach.