Reducing poverty and inequality as part of the 2030 Agenda

Project description

Title: Sector programme: Reducing poverty and inequality as part of the 2030 Agenda
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2017 to 2020



In recent years, success has been achieved worldwide in reducing poverty – since 1990, more than a billion people have been able to break free from extreme poverty. Despite this, around 10 per cent of the world’s population was still living in extreme poverty in 2015. In other words, over 700 million people were living on less than USD 1.90 per day. In addition, 1.3 billion people are affected by multi-dimensional poverty. This means that they have either insufficient or no access to education, health care and essential basic services such as energy and water.

Global progress has also been distributed unevenly, both within countries and between them; not all countries and population groups have profited to the same extent.

More than 75 per cent of the population in the Global South live in countries with increasing income inequality. Growing inequality prevents sustainable development, reduces economic growth and damages social cohesion within societies. There is now an international consensus that reducing inequality is essential to putting an end to poverty by 2030.

Adding to the problem, however, is the fact that certain sections of the population, often women, children, people with disabilities or minority groups, are systematically left behind.

Reducing poverty and inequality are core objectives of German development cooperation (DC). The 2030 Agenda aims to ‘end poverty in all its forms everywhere’ (SDG 1) and to ‘reduce inequality within and among countries’ (SDG 10). The significance of the issues of poverty and inequality is also manifested in the implementation principle of the 2030 Agenda ‘Leave no one behind’ (LNOB).


SDG 1 and SDG 10 of the 2030 Agenda and the ‘Leave no one behind’ principle are strengthened within German development cooperation.



The project advises the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on implementing the 2030 Agenda, especially with regard to SDG 1 and 10 as well as the overarching ‘Leave no one behind’ principle. In order to efficiently reduce poverty and inequality, context-specific analyses and individual solutions and approaches are required. The project is therefore developing and piloting a poverty analysis instrument as well as an inequality diagnostic tool. These instruments will help to identify the causes and drivers of poverty and inequality in specific country contexts and create a knowledge base. Moreover, specific recommendations for action will be able to be determined to ensure that these issues are increasingly taken into account. Advisory tools, project approaches and example indicators will also be developed to strengthen the issues within the project and policy work of development cooperation partner countries. These include the Inequality Policy Mix Toolkit, Pro-Poor Digital Access Assessment Tool, sample indicators on poverty, inequality and LNOB and project approaches on reducing poverty in fragile countries.  

The project is also committed to reducing inequality as part of a multi-stakeholder network. Together with representatives from academia and the scientific community, policy-makers and practitioners, numerous events are being held to encourage North–South dialogue and the exchange of existing approaches between different actors. Seminars and conferences have been organised in cities such as Cape Town and Brussels, which reached a total of 150 participants from various partner countries.

The Inequality Challenge innovation fund aims to address the topics of inequality and LNOB in the partner countries of German development cooperation through forward-looking project implementation, to generate learning experiences, and to develop and apply innovative instruments for reducing inequality. The fund includes 10 projects in various partner countries worldwide. Experience of implementing LNOB measures will also be analysed and utilised. Important expertise and learning in groups (peer learning) among German development cooperation actors and external actors is promoted in an online training course.


Poverty orientation: Individual promotional measures in the partner countries reach selected groups directly. The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) connects countries that introduce a multidimensional poverty index and use it to shape policy and produce reports on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality: Different policy areas coordinate better with regard to equality between men and women. For instance, implementing the innovation fund addresses key aspects of eliminating gender inequalities.

Human rights: The project’s measures have a positive impact on respect for human rights. Strengthening the LNOB principle is closely linked to promoting human rights.
Seminars and training sessions stimulate active transfer of knowledge between people. This draws considerable attention to the sector programme’s key principles, both in Germany and abroad.


Additional information