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Main Factors that Cause Global Poverty: Key Areas

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1 Main Factors that Cause Global Poverty: Key Areas
Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008 Democracy and Corruption The Environment Education Climate Change, deforestation, lack of clean water and pollution can have a big impact on poverty. High levels of corruption can reduce the money spent on vital public services. A democracy can help reduce corruption as people have more say over who is in government. Without a good education it is difficult for people to get jobs and bring themselves out of poverty. Main Factors that Cause Global Poverty: Key Areas Debt Gender Inequality Many of the countries in the developing world owe so much money to wealthier countries that they have little to spend on health, education and food. Women may not have the freedom to be educated or to earn a living for themselves, which can leave them vulnerable to poverty. Globalisation Disease and Healthcare Peace and Stability Poorer countries often manufacture the goods that are consumed in richer countries. This can bring countries out of poverty, or make people poorer still. War and instability throws many people into poverty and can destroy their homes and lives. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Sleeping Sickness keep many people in poverty

2 The Environment Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008
POLLUTION In many parts of the world, particularly in rapidly developing countries such as India, China and Brazil, economic growth has led to huge problems with pollution. Rivers are poisoned by factory output, air is unclean. Often the polluting factories are making goods that are for people in the West (e.g. clothes or trainers). The pollution can make workers and residents ill, but without the factories there might be fewer jobs… People’s health and well-being is greatly affected by their environment. Climate Change is already having a huge impact on some nations. It is causing more extreme weather events (such as the recent cyclone in Burma), which destroy people’s homes and crops. It is also changing weather patterns, resulting in droughtand starvation. In some parts of the world, deforestation (cutting down forests) and desertification (deserts expanding where people could previously grow food) are increasing. The world is also running low on key resources..water, oil, water and land. WATER Many people in the world have no access to good, clean drinking water. Water shortages can be made worse by climate change and desertification. A lack of clean water can cause disease, which can lead to poverty. Some people walk miles to get clean water. This means they waste time that could be spent earning a living. What are biofuels? For more info… Water: World Food Programme: Climate Change: Climate Change: Is there a World Food Shortage? Tasks 1. Explain in 40 words or with a diagram why we need to cut down factory emissions. 2. Try to produce a set of UN rules to make countries slow down their resource consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Are your rules fair to both poor and wealthy countries? What should happen if a country doesn’t follow the rules? 3. What could the UN do to help get clean, safe water to isolated rural communities? Should access to clean water be a human right?

3 Education Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008 Tasks
Many people throughout the world do not have access to a free Primary School education, even though this is a Millennium Development Goal. Even when education is free it may not be compulsory, and some parents may not send their children to school. In the UK, 99% of people can read and write. In Burkina Faso this figure is only 23.6% Two million new teachers are needed today to provide children with a decent education – and 15 million will be needed by 2015 to achieve education for all This is especially a problem for girls, who often are not sent to school but kept home to help around the house or sent to earn money for the family while the boys are sent to school. Why the Problem? In many countries, teachers are paid very poor salaries. There is also a lack of good universities in some poorer countries. Fees, uniforms and books can amount to more than many parents can afford. Communities may not have the money to build or run a school – or children may simply live too far from one. How many children don’t go to school? Lack of education can set people up for a lifetime of poverty from which they never escape. Should more money be spent on primary, secondary or university education ? For more info… Tasks 1. Explain in 50 words why children should be entitled to a free education. 2. Find out what the literacy rate is in the country you are representing (you should be able to find the statistics at: under “Basic indicators” or “Statistics”). Write a strategy for improving literacy rates in your country – if they are very good (100%), write down how you would maintain them! 3. How would you encourage more people to train as teachers? Write a short job advert.

4 Gender Inequality Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008
When women are poor, their children also suffer. Women and girls make up 70% of the world’s poor. In some countries girls are given fewer opportunities for education than boys. They also may not have freedoms to choose the kind of work to do, whether and whom to marry. They might have restricted rights to own property or to move about freely. Women make up less than 17% of the world’s members of parliament. “Violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent, country and culture. It takes a devastating toll on women’s lives, on their families, and on society as a whole. Most societies prohibit such violence — yet the reality is that too often, it is covered up or tacitly condoned.” This means that women can be dependent upon men, and cannot earn a living for themselves. This leaves them very vulnerable, and they can easily fall into poverty. Are women’s brains different to men’s? Does it matter? How big a problem is domestic violence in the West? For more info… lifeonthemargins/stories/women.aspx UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, 8 March 2007 Tasks 1. Explain in 40 words why women may have more difficulties getting ahead in society than men. What kind of role could the UN play in helping them overcome these difficulties? Give three or four specific ideas. 2. Should women get special funding and assistance to help them achieve equality with men? How might you convince people that this is a good idea? 3. Write a short speech trying to encourage women to stand up to violence against them.

5 Disease and Healthcare
Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008 Disease and Healthcare Between them, HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other illnesses contribute hugely to the problems of world poverty. With proper healthcare many of these diseases could be kept in control or even wiped out. However, in many parts of the world the standard of healthcare is very poor and millions die unnecessarily from even minor illnesses. HIV/AIDS AIDS is a disease which comes from infection with the HIV virus. HIV is spread through certain forms of sexual contact, needle sharing and blood transfusions. In some nations as many as ¼ of the population is infected with HIV. AIDS can be slowed down by medicines but these are not widely available in poorer countries. When AIDS hits a community it can lose its teachers, doctors and farmers. Many children are left as orphans with no place to turn to for support. MALARIA Malaria is widespread in the developing world and is transmitted by mosquito bites. It can make people ill for many years, and even kill them. While medicines exist to combat malaria, the parasite quickly adapts, becoming immune. Millions of pounds are being spent to find a vaccine or cure, but with climate change malaria may spread to new places! Malaria can be partly controlled by simple techniques such as mosquito nets over beds and the draining of swamps in which mosquitoes breed. One person dies of AIDS every 15 seconds. 6,000 every day, 2.1 million every year. A lack of education can make diseases and epidemics much worse as people do not know how to protect themselves. Which diseases cause the most deaths? For more info… Just 1 in 5 married women in Bangladesh had heard of AIDS; in Sudan only 5 percent of women knew condom use could prevent HIV infection. Casefile: education Tasks 1. Write down ten ways to prevent diseases spreading and put them roughly in order of how much they cost. 2. Should drugs companies be allowed to charge high prices for lifesaving AIDS drugs? Give two points for and two points against keeping the prices of medicine high. 3. In the USA, more infants die under 1 year old than in Cuba and Cyprus. Explain how the private healthcare system in the USA may contribute to a higher infant mortality rate.

6 Peace and Stability Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008
International wars, civil wars and other conflicts destroy lives. Millions can be killed and injured. During times of war people’s homes and crops are destroyed. Children may not be able to go school. In addition infrastructure such as water treatment plants, electrical plants, telephone services, roads and bridges can be destroyed. This can disrupt local economies making it hard for people to buy and sell the things they need to survive. ISRAEL/PALESTINE Imagine you bought a beautiful house and spent lots of time decorating it just as you like it. You really love this house. Then another person says “this is my house, it was taken from me by force; it had been in my family for 20 generations!”. Who do you think should get to keep the house? This is an analogy for the conflict situation in the Middle East. In brief, Palestinians who have lived on the land for many generations and Israelis who were ‘given’ the land back as Jewish refugees in 1948 (after World War II) are still fighting over this land. Some of the land is considered holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews (whose ancestors lived there in biblical times, until they were conquered and exiled). 64% of Palestinians now live below the poverty line. Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian people have died in this conflict. Governments which should be spending money to take care of their citizens, instead buy weapons. IDENTITY AND VIOLENCE Amartya Sen has written a book called “Identity and Violence” which argues that a huge number of conflicts are caused by people being influenced and controlled into thinking that one part of their identity (e.g. their ‘race’) is all that matters. He says we must remember that we are all humans with multiple identities that can change over time. Where in the world are conflicts are happening at the moment? For more info… The USA has spent – or plans to spend – $435 billion in Iraq since the conflict began in That is more money than it would cost (roughly) to fight AIDS, successfully, for 20 years. 1. Is the country you are representing peaceful? If there is conflict in your country or in neighbouring countries has it contributed to poverty in your country? Does it give aid to countries in conflict? 2. Make a list of your different current personal identities and imagine how a government could manipulate you to think one was more important than another. Can the UN do anything to help prevent this happening? 3. Write a memo to the UN Secretary General explaining what you think should be done about the Israel/Palestine situation, or a different conflict that affects your region in particular. Tasks

7 Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008
Globalisation Globalisation is the slow process through which all the countries of the world have become interconnected as trading partners. Most of us today wear cheap clothing made in Bangladesh, China or Taiwan – not in the UK. This is because we live in a globalised economy. Good effects of globalisation We in the West can buy things more cheaply The whole world economy is more efficient. People in developing countries have access to jobs (in clothing factories, for example) that they might not otherwise. Bad effects of globalisation People working in factories in the developing world may have few basic rights and be very poorly paid They may work very long days in dangerous conditions without any holiday, or sick leave. They may be children. They may be abused. How might buying Fair Trade products help? FREE TRADE There has also been a movement towards Free Trade. Free Trade means that governments are not allowed to place taxes (called tariffs) on items that are being imported from other countries. This is good for consumers because it means that we can buy things made in other countries without paying extra cost. …BUT IS FREE TRADE FAIR? Sometimes people in poor countries, such as farmers, cannot sell goods as cheaply as those imported from other parts of the world. This can make whole communities very poor. Also rich countries’ governments give their farmers extra money (called subsidies), so their farmers can sell products more cheaply. This causes more poverty in poor countries, due to the free trade system. The Trade Not Aid campaign was part of Make Poverty History and said that international trading rules should change to be more favourable to poorer countries. What does the WTO do? For more info… Tasks 1. What kind of trade rules would the country you are representing want the UN to enforce? Would it want to maintain free trade between countries or not? 2. Examine the effects of globalisation on your daily life. Would you be happy to give up fashionable cheap clothes, shoes and mobiles for the sake of workers in the sweatshops? 3. Explain in 50 words the connections between globalisation, free trade and poverty.

8 Debt Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008 Tasks
Many of the countries in the developing world are paying so much interest back to wealthier countries they borrowed money from that they have little to spend on health, education and food. GETTING INTO DEBT Imagine you earn £10 a week and have £100 in savings. You would like to buy a computer, which costs £600. The bank agree to lend you £500 at 15% interest per year, so you borrow the money and buy the computer. You are now £500 in debt. However, each year the bank adds on the interest: the first year this comes to £75, so you are now £575 in debt. The following year you will be £ in debt. After 5 years, you will owe the bank £ You can avoid the interest building up so high by making regular repayments, but if you cannot afford to do this then you may end up in very serious debt. After a few more years you may be paying more interest per year than the original loan was worth. Developing countries have often borrowed huge amounts of money from wealthier countries and the World Bank, to develop their transport systems, healthcare, schooling and other services. Sometimes the money is spent on fighting wars instead of public services. If a country’s government is corrupt, much of the money borrowed may end up in people’s pockets instead of being used to help the country develop. JUBILEE 2000 Some countries have already received ‘debt relief’ thanks to the Jubilee 2000 campaign. Thanks to debt relief, Tanzania has been able to hire more teachers, and build more schools. Burkina Faso has reduced the cost of life-saving drugs and has improved access to clean water. Uganda has more than doubled school enrolment. However, many countries are still struggling with crippling international debts. What are the roles of the IMF and World Bank? For more info… The Make Poverty History campaign and the Drop the Debt campaigns are renewed efforts to make the wealthy countries forgive and forget the money they are owed by poorer countries. Tasks 1. Should wealthy countries forgive the debt of poorer countries? Does the country you are representing have heavy international debts? 2. Should poor countries be required to pay off debts accrued by corrupt rulers or dictators? Give two points for and two points against making countries pay back these debts. 3. Imagine you are a the Prime Minister of a rich country which has forgiven the debts owed to you by poorer countries. Write a memo to the UN Secretary General explaining whether or not you would lend money to other countries in future, with clear reasons for your decision.

9 Democracy and Corruption
Eradication of Poverty: MUN Global Classrooms 2008 Democracy and Corruption Many countries suffer from high levels of corruption. Corruption is defined by Transparency International as “misuse of entrusted power for private gain”. TYPES OF CORRUPTION BRIBERY (e.g. a policeman takes a personal bribe instead of giving you a speeding ticket) EMBEZZLEMENT (e.g. a government employee uses public money to build himself a private swimming pool) NEPOTISM (e.g. a politician appoints his friends and relatives to high powered positions even if other people might be more suitable for the job) KICKBACKS (e.g. a government official awards a contract to a company that isn’t the best bidder, in return for money) PATRONAGE (e.g. an ethnic group gets favoured treatment by the government in return for political loyalty) UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR (e.g. a doctor only prescribes drugs made by a particular company because they might offer him a job) In corrupt countries it can be difficult for people to start a business or get services because they need to constantly bribe government officials. Corruption means that money which should have been spent on schools, roads, hospitals or aid is siphoned away. The estimated amount spent each year on bribes in the world is $1 trillion (about £500 billion). The burden of corruption falls disproportionately on the bottom billion people living in extreme poverty. DEMOCRACY Countries that are well functioning democracies are often less corrupt than countries that are not. This is because people living in the country have at least some power over their government, so that if the officials are enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else the people can elect a new government. Good strong democratic institutions can go a long way toward helping eradicate poverty. However, even in well established democracies, corruption can be a problem. What is “transparency”? For more info… Tasks 1. Make a list of ten possible ways to reduce corruption in the public sector (public employees include politicians, civil servants, doctors, teachers and policemen) 2. Can corruption ever be a good thing, for example if it cuts the amount of bureaucracy (paperwork) needed to get things done? Write arguments for and against this suggestion. 3. Explain in 80 words how having a democratic government might affect a country’s poverty. If you can, use statistics and examine the following countries: USA, India, China, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe.

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