Opinion: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world’s big problems, be it the Green Revolution that helped avoid mass starvation or the small pox vaccine that eradicated the disease. There is always hope that scientific innovations will help solve global problems. So can scientists help solve the globe’s ultimate problem: eliminate extreme poverty? In two announcements this month, the governments of the US and UK have made a fresh commitment to try.

On 3 April, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) unveiled the Global Development Lab, with the goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 using technology-based solutions. While not strictly a physical lab, it is an initiative that will bring together universities, the private sector, governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in order to collectively trial new technological tools to fight poverty.

This is an ambitious exercise. The funding reflects that, with USAID committing to US$1 billion per year of support. The ultimate aim is seemingly intractable, but the lab and its partners will aim to develop solutions in water, health, food security and nutrition, energy, education, and climate change, all in the space of only five years.

Source: SBS (link opens in a new window)

poverty alleviation