Broadly speaking, poverty that plagues the contemporary world can have different shades.
If we speak of poverty from monetary and economic point of view, we can refer to the concepts of absolute and relative poverty: the absolute poverty line is considered to be crossed when an individual cannot meet the minimum expenses to lead an acceptable life, usually defined through reference to a “basket of goods”; relative poverty refers to the standards in force in a social group by which the level of well-being is attested.
Fighting poverty has always been a key objective in EU social policy. However, 21% of the European population is still experiencing economic and social hardship, particularly in southern and eastern European countries.
Through agreements among member countries, the EU has laid the legal foundations and tools on which to build action to reduce economic and social hardship. One of the first initiatives in this regard was the Europe 2020 strategy, proposed in 2010 by the European Commission. A strategy that hoped to achieve by 2020, 5 goals for development.
|Area of intervention
75% employed between 20 and 64 years old
Research and Development
3% of EU GDP in research and development
Climate Change and Energy
-20% greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990
20% energy from renewable sources
+20% energy efficiency
Education Dropout rate below 10%
At least 40% of graduates between 30 and 34 years old
Poverty and Social Exclusion
-20 mln people at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
Despite efforts on the part of the European Union, the Europe 2020 goal, although with clear improvements, has not been fully achieved.
Indeed, there were more than 107 million people at risk of poverty and social exclusion in European countries in 2019. Still a very high number but reduced by 17.1 million compared to 2005. However, despite a marked improvement, the target that had been set for 2020 still remains far off: from 2010 to 2019 there was a decrease of 10.3 million people in poverty, compared to the desired more than 20 million.
The Europe 2020 strategy was accompanied by the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda is an action agenda for people, planet and prosperity. It incorporates 17 Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs).
The SDGs follow up on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and represent common goals on a set of important development issues. “Common goals” means that they affect all countries and all individuals: no one is excluded from them, nor should they be left behind along the path needed to put the world on the road to sustainability.
11.Sustainable cities and communities
12.Responsible consumption and production
14.Life below water
15.Life on land
16.Peace, justice and strong institutions
17.Partnerships for the goals
3.Good health and well-being
6.Clean water and sanitation
7.Affordable and clean energy
8.Decent work and economic growth
9.Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Why is it necessary for our purpose to speak about SDGs and poverty for socio-professional wellbeing of youth?
“No poverty” is the first of our goals to achieve sustainable development by 2030.
We said at the beginning of the introduction to this chapter that poverty nowadays can have several facets, one of which we have not yet paid attention to is educational poverty.
Educational poverty is the condition in which a child or adolescent is deprived of the right to learning in the broadest sense, from cultural and educational opportunities to the right to play. Economic poverty and educational poverty feed off each other.
Thus, we are not only talking about the right to study, but the right to know, learn and experience whose lack negatively affects the individual’s experiences.
The goal of this chapter is to understand how educational poverty in the areas of food, food waste, and climate change negatively impacts the lives and health of young people, physically, socially, and psychologically.