6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are

2012 Update


Goal 1 and Goal 8 (Develop Global Partnerships), both act as bookends for all the other MDGs. As a result, the macro successes, challenges and priorities for MDG 1 are echoed throughout all the other Goals. The fight against poverty, unemployment and inequalities remains very high on the political agenda.


The ongoing effects of the world economic downturn on export prices and the country’s debt obligations, and capacity limitation, all interact to lessen the fiscal space available to government, for accessing more capital to direct towards poverty reduction and development. Notwithstanding this, the Government of Belize continues to work to secure co-financing at the multi-lateral and bilateral levels for investments in poverty reduction programmes and projects.

Since 1996, the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF) has responded to the human development needs of the poor and vulnerable to enable citizens to fully develop, flourish and function to his or her maximum potential. It approves projects and programmes and provides financial and technical assistance to community groups and local government organizations which provide basic services to the most severely affected groups in the country.


More than half of Belize’s population live in rural areas and more than half of those people are poor. The Belize Rural Finance Programme is geared towards offering access to micro-financing for the rural poor; targeting particularly women, youth, as well as small agricultural and non-agricultural entrepreneurs.

Strategic focus on the northern and southern districts for poverty reduction through 1) completing Accompanying Measures for Sugar Programme which addresses quality assurance from field to mill for sugar cane, road rehabilitation (including farm roads and main trading roads etc.) and economic diversification support for those who desire to move away from cane production; 2) the on-going Banana Support Programme focuses on enhancing the performance of all stakeholders in the banana industry to improve competitiveness, as well as offer opportunities for economic diversification, with a spotlight on education as the tool to drive such diversification and providing for social infrastructure (water systems, electrification etc.) in the Banana Belt. The Belize Rural Development Project II (BRDP II) has three main results oriented goals - more efficient market driven and competitive Small and Micro-enterprises established for rural groups and communities; improving access to strategic infrastructure measures to create an enabling environment for rural development and strengthening policies and institutional environment within which rural enterprises, traders, processors, local organizations and communities operate.

Urban poverty has dimensions both similar to and differing from rural poverty, and the government has projects and programmes that address these similarities as well as the differences.  The Community Action for Public Safety (CAPS), the Youth and Community Transformation projects seek to address triple concerns of security, youth and poverty.  The Southside Poverty Alleviation project and Belize Municipal Development project are underway and are levelled at improving existing social infrastructure and providing for new infrastructure where the need is identified.

UNDP's work in Belize

National MDG Target Achievement


Summary Scorecard - Belize Achievements and Challenges at a Glance

Goals, Targets and Indicators



Target 2015

Progress to 2015







Target 1: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people living below the Belize indigence line






Population below Poverty Line (%)

33.5 (2002)


41.3 (2009)


Not on track; significant challenges to achieve this goal

Poverty Gap Ratio (%)

10.9 (2002)


10.8 (2009)


Not on track; no significant change

Target 2: Halve proportion population suffers hunger






Proportion of population less than minimum dietary consumption (extreme poverty) (%)

10.8 (2002)


15.8 (2009)


Not on track


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