In a recent TED talk, delivered in Long Beach, California, U2 frontman Bono made a pretty noteworthy announcement: global poverty is on the verge of being eradicated.
Based on research done by the Global Fund, an NGO dedicated to fighting AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, Bono says that “extreme poverty”—defined by the percentage of people in the world living on less than $1.25 a day—could hit zero. And a look at some hard figures on declining poverty rates in sub-Saharan Africa, child mortality, and other key indicators of human development tells a surprisingly uplifting story.
That said, if we all sit on our asses, these advances in the fight against poverty could be rolled back. As the UN points out in their 2013 Human Development Report:
Environmental inaction, especially regarding climate change, has the potential to halt or even reverse human development progress. The number of people in extreme poverty could increase by up to 3 billion by 2050 unless environmental disasters are averted by coordinated global action.
It’s hopeful math, but Bono’s main point seems to be a call to action because it’s obvious that the situation will not change, and in fact, things could get much, much worse if the world continues to ignore the issue and not take a stand.