Friday, April 30, 2010

Poverty of indigenous people worldwide

A new World Bank study focuses on the poverty of indigenous people around the world. The report says that indigenous people only make up 5 percent of the world's population, but make up 10 percent of the world's poor.

Statistics in the World Bank report shows that Asia has made great strides to reduce the poverty of it's indigenous people, mostly coming from the boom economies of China and India. Meanwhile, Latin America has shown a slow progress.

From this IPS article, writer Marguerite A. Suozzi gathers some reaction to the report.

"The level of poverty that has been reduced in Asia is significant," said Harry Patrinos, a co-author of the study and lead education economist at the World Bank. He attributes these positive results to broad-based economic growth programmes in each country which aim to reduce poverty nationally.

China "started with a much higher level of poverty than any country in Latin America, yet the indigenous populations', the minority populations' poverty reduced by more than 17 percent between 1990 and 2002," said Patrinos. "But we also have a more rapid change in India, as compared to Latin America, where there is a lack of progress," he said.

The report cited the lack of development indicators for indigenous peoples as "a major hindrance to both their empowerment and poverty reduction," and seeks to narrow these gaps "by estimating several key development indicators related to progress under the Millennium Development Goals for indigenous peoples around the world."

But the definition of "development" by the development community, and the definition of "development" held by different native peoples may be one challenge in moving forward.

"Widespread, sustainable, economic growth is required to target poverty reduction," Patrinos told reporters on Monday, as are programmes designed to be specifically relevant to indigenous communities' needs.

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