THE WORLD RECEIVED some very good news in September. The percentage of the global population living in extreme poverty has dropped from 36 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015, the lowest in recorded history. Over this period more than 1 billion people lifted themselves out of the quicksand of extreme poverty.
The Millennium Development Goals, agreed to through the United Nations in 2000, helped galvanize global leadership to cut extreme poverty in half in 15 years, a goal that was achieved a few years early due to remarkable progress in China and India. About half of the world’s countries have reduced extreme poverty below 3 percent.
In 2016, the MDGs were replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs represent a more integrated and comprehensive global agenda centered around 17 goals and 169 targets that now apply to every country in the world, not only to developing countries. They combine a commitment to end extreme poverty by the year 2030—especially in countries across sub-Saharan Africa and fragile conflict-affected states where progress has been uneven—with commitments to protect the environment, address climate change, combat inequality, promote peace, and improve governance.