Published on Data Blog

What could stop the world from ending poverty? Think fragility and conflict

How seriously do fragility, conflict, and violence threaten the global goal of reducing extreme poverty to 3% by 2030? A new report, “Fragility and Conflict: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Poverty,” argues that the threat is critical, and suggests directions for action to confront it.

At the turn of the millennium, 1 in 5 of the world's extreme poor lived in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS). Since then, poverty has fallen steadily in economies not in FCS, but the number of poor people in FCS continues to grow. As a result, about half the world’s poor reside in FCS today. If current trends continue, by 2030, FCS will account for just 10% of the global population but as many as two-thirds of the world’s poor. Excluding economies in FCS, the world is on track to meet the historic 2030 poverty goal. Putting FCS back into the equation, the global goal threatens to slip out of reach. Addressing the challenge requires bold action in settings where poverty, fragility, and conflict converge. Tackling data deprivation in FCS is a key first step.

Made with Flourish


This blog is part of a series using data from the new report, “Fragility and Conflict: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Poverty.” The report shows why addressing fragility and conflict is vital for poverty goals and charts directions for action. It presents new estimates of welfare in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS), filling gaps in previous knowledge, and analyzes the multidimensional nature of poverty in these settings. It shows that data deprivation in FCS has prevented an accurate global picture of fragility, poverty, and their interactions, and it explains how innovative new measurement strategies are tackling these challenges.


Daniel Gerszon Mahler

Senior Economist, Development Data Group, World Bank

Alexander Irwin

Independent Global Health Writer and Researcher

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