The entire world has come to hope and expect that international development will knit us together as a human family, helping those in need by fighting global poverty. Resources are an important part of the solution. US assistance for developing nations rose from about $10 billion in 2000 to $24 billion today. A missing piece, however, is a forum where concerned actors from all walks of life can come together to exchange ideas and forge solutions for the toughest problems. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the Global Development Commons to wrestle with the kinds of questions raised in Mr. Lange's thought-provoking articles.
As Lange rightly observes, imposing "top down" solutions from the West has rarely worked. Addressing the underlying causes of poverty means empowering men and women through education, healthcare, nutrition, and economic opportunity. Eradicating poverty and ensuring social justice go hand in hand.
Market forces are not perfect, but experience teaches that they are the surest way to improve living standards. When our presidential candidates debate trade policy, they need to remember that what we do at home affects hundreds of millions of less fortunate people living elsewhere.
One aspect that deserves more attention is the connection between hunger and poverty. Simply put, without adequate nourishment, people become too sick and too weak to work. We know what children need to have a shot at making it to their fifth birthday. It's inexpensive, and the products are available.
Vulnerable communities are powerful agents for reshaping society and triggering sustainable development when mobilized from within. We can provide the resources, but we must trust the communities themselves to draw the blueprint.
President, American Jewish World Service
Climate change has the potential to massively increase global poverty and inequality, punishing first and most severely the people least responsible for greenhouse-gas emissions. Up to 250 million Africans could face severe water shortages by 2020. Building resilience and promoting adaptive strategies must be a critical component of a global solution to climate change, as well as integrated in our actions to fight global poverty.