SDGs in Action: Mauritius accelerates efforts to eradicate poverty 

The Government of the Republic of Mauritius is taking bold actions to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. The island nation is developing a ‘Marshall Plan’ to eradicate extreme poverty, a comprehensive national strategy to ensure the realization of the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.

The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Hon. Anerood Jugnauth, explained the focus on poverty eradication during his speech at the 71st session of the General Assembly, on September 2016:

In Mauritius we have chosen to focus our first attention on the eradication of extreme forms of poverty. My Government has already undertaken, with the support of the UNDP, to establish a social register of those living in dismal conditions and who require targeted measures and assistance.”

The UNDP is active in supporting the design and implementation of Mauritius’ flagship strategy, which is a powerful source of inspiration for other nations in the Global South. As part of UNDP’s extensive support, the director of the UNDP RIO+ Centre is undertaking a technical advisory mission to Mauritius, working closely with the Cabinet Ministers as well as with civil society organization.

The Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), the largest TV network of the island nation of Mauritius, was very active in its coverage of the RIO+ Centre’s support to the SDG implementation in the country. A key programme on the SDGs was aired on October 2016 in the national news show:

Broad-based support for the SDGs

Learn more about the ongoing SDG efforts in Mauritius:

Poverty Eradication: On a new course based on social justice and inclusiveness

GIS – 13 October 2016: ‘We must realise as a nation that development is not only about creating value but it must also be about upholding values – in particular the values of sharing.  Our society should not be one of sharp contrasts where on one hand there is conspicuous wealth accumulation and on the other rising inequality and poverty.  We are setting a new course for the future – one of social justice and inclusiveness.  This should not be just a dream – this is our responsibility’.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mr Pravind Jugnauth, made these observations this morning at Ebène Cyber-city in Ebène.  He was delivering the keynote address at a talk on Fighting Poverty in the 21st Century: the Sustainable Development Platform in the context of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2016 which is commemorated on 17 October.

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In his address, Minister Jugnauth pointed out that it matters little whether the poverty rate nationally is 1%, 2% or 10% when a family including children is living in conditions of extreme poverty.  ‘No family and no child in Mauritius should live in such conditions.  Absolute poverty must be eradicated’, he stressed.

This is precisely why Government has launched the Marshall Plan against Absolute Poverty, and that is also why the central theme of the Budget presented in July was about Ushering in a New Era of Development – an era where absolute poverty will be history and where the economic growth paradigm will be inclusive, the Minister stated.

For his part, the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, stressed that economic growth still remains the safest and preferred option to fight poverty.  However, in Mauritius, alive to the inequity of the present economic model, we have developed in parallel a robust system of income redistribution, he said.

The fact that Mauritius has a mature social protection system coupled with universal access to health and education and the annual budget of the Ministries of Social Security, Health and Education representing nearly 50% of Government’s annual expenditure, is a clear testimony of this commitment, he added.

 

The talk

The talk enabled the sharing of experience on the fight against poverty in the present century and highlighted the need to focus on Sustainable Development Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms.

Lessons that should be espoused in the fight against poverty were also explained.  These include:

–      Adopting single beneficiary registries (programmes that are often administered through different Ministries or Government Units that function better if they share common administered systems);

–      Leveraging political will, leadership and support for social protection at the highest level and across the Government;

–      Strengthening community and civil society participation in social protection in all stages of programme development; and,

–      Providing a more active role for the private sector be it in assisting in service delivery or through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The resource person was Dr Rômulo Paes de Sousa, Director of the World Center for Sustainable Development which operates under the aegis of the UNDP and based in Rio de Janeiro.  He is also a former Vice Minister for Social Development and Fight against Hunger of Brazil.

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Organised by the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment jointly with the National Empowerment Foundation, the talk brought together several participants including Members of Parliament and representatives from CSR companies, NGOs, and from the UNDP.

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Source: Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius

 Photo credit: Télé Plus, LexPress.mu, Inside News, United Nations Environment Programme

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