On 22 July 2013, Prince George of Cambridge was born into one of Britain’s wealthiest families. On the same day, around 18,000 children under the age of five died – nearly half of those from malnutrition.
We live in a world where almost unimaginable wealth exists alongside equally unimaginable poverty. Far beneath the gleaming penthouses and apartments of New York City, as many as 60,000 people experience homelessness. Nearly one-third of American children are overweight or obese, while nearly half of childhood deaths in India are caused by malnutrition.
In recent decades our world has become richer and the proportion of people living in poverty has decreased. Yet the gap between rich and poor has widened during the same period. This inequality is socially corrosive, and undermines our democratic systems. Moreover, 1.2 billion people are still living in extreme poverty, lacking the basic necessities of food, shelter and drinkable water.
As the world’s population increases, key resources such as water and arable land become scarcer, and as the impacts of climate change become increasingly evident, the pressures on the world’s poor will only increase. Ensuring that they are not left behind will be one of the great challenges of our time.