6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are

 rural students
Rural school children at lunch break. Photo Kevin Richtscheid @UNDP Bhutan

Bhutan demonstrated significant declines in its poverty rates and is well on track towards achieving the first MDG of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. Bhutan was able to reduce poverty from 36.3% in 2000 to 12.0% in 2012. Poverty in Bhutan is a rural phenomenon mainly as the poor live in isolated pockets where underdevelopment is widespread due to the limited access to markets and essential social services.

The 10th Five Year Plan (2008-2013) of the Royal Government identified poverty reduction as the core development objective with poverty being mainstreamed through all development initiatives in addition to highly focused and targeted poverty interventions. UNDP lends assistance in reducing spatial disparities, raising agricultural production and productivity to help small holder farmers, supporting rural poor through targeted interventions, enhancing access to markets, and promoting off farm employment as key interventions on poverty reduction strategies in the country. Concerns also remain the disparities in income and human poverty levels across and within regions.

The Poverty Analysis Report (PAR) 2012 established the total poverty line at Nu. 1,704.84 per person per month (USD 28). An estimated 12% of the population is found to be poor. Poverty incidences and depth is much more widespread and severe in rural areas (16.7% PAR), as compared to urban poverty at (1.8% PAR). Poverty and food security in Bhutan is linked to low food production and weak agricultural productivity, limited access to land and other productive assets, extensive crop destruction by wild life and pests, the lack of alternative rural employment opportunities, poor food utilization and weak access to road and transport infrastructure.

Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption