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Goal 1

"End poverty in all its forms everywhere"

Poverty refers to a shortage beyond just a lack of income and resources to ensure a continuous livelihood. These include hunger, malnutrition, restrictions on education and life, social discrimination and exclusion, and restrictions on participation in decision-making.

Economic development must be accompanied by comprehensive goals to provide sustainable jobs and improve the structure of inequality. The social protection system needs support to alleviate the pain of countries at risk of disasters and overcome the economic crisis. These institutions will help strengthen the responsiveness of those suffering from unexpected cost losses in the event of a disaster and ultimately end the extreme poverty in absolute poverty area. 

1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day

1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

1.3 Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable

1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance

1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters

1.a Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions

1.b Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions

SDG 1 and the UN Human Rights Mechanisms

      1st UPR Cycle

      2nd UPR Cycle

      3rd UPR Cycle

Recommending State
|124.45|Take measures to ensure international humanitarian aid reaches the most vulnerable and needy
|124.46|Work closely with humanitarian agencies to ensure their free and unimpeded access to all populations in need and that humanitarian aid is distributed transparently and reaches the most vulnerable citizens
New Zealand
|124.47|Secure unlimited access and entirely satisfactory monitoring conditions for humanitarian organisations
|124.121|Continue building the social structure of the country, focusing on the promotion and protection of the family as the vital unit of the society
|124.153|Continue its fight against poverty
|124.154|Intensify efforts to develop poverty alleviation programmes with specific attention to empower marginalised and vulnerable groups within the society, such as children, women and the elderly
Sri Lanka
|124.162|Take further measures to improve access to basic health care, nutrition and education of children
|124.181|Continue to promote economic, social and culture development to provide better conditions for the enjoyment of all rights by its people
|126.56|Grant access to the United Nations and other international humanitarian agencies to provide assistance to the most vulnerable groups
|126.58|Grant immediate, free and unimpeded access to international humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to the most vulnerable groups, including prisoners
|126.59|Secure unlimited humanitarian access to all provinces of the country
|126.62|Consider seeking technical cooperation and capacity-building support from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other international bodies in the process of implementing the law on the protection of the rights of the child
|126.82|Scale up its efforts in the promotion and protection of the rights of vulnerable groups in society
|126.91|Implement in an effective manner its Strategy for National Economic Development, and its Strategies for the Development of the Health Sector and for the Development of Education, for a better standard of living for its population
|126.100|Redirect its public spending in order to fulfil the right of all people in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being, in line with Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 3
|126.102|Maintain the design of action to guarantee the well-being of its population, in particular children, women, older persons and persons with disabilities, in its economic and social development plans
|126.109|Cooperate with the United Nations and the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including the implementation of the right to health
Republic of Korea
|126.155|Enhance measures to ensure the availability and accessibility of essential services for all and the enjoyment of rights by women, children and persons with disabilities
|126.162|Take concrete measure and means to fight against poverty
Recommending State
|90.17|Review its legal and administrative measures with a view to ensuring the dignity and better living conditions of the vulnerable groups, including women and children
|90.34|Continue its cooperation with the international community in solving humanitarian issues of mutual concern
Viet Nam
|90.61|Continue giving priority to vulnerable groups in the distribution of international assistance
|90.64|In line with previous recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, make every effort to reinforce protection of the right to life and development of all children
|90.96|Strengthen measures to facilitate access and effective distribution of international humanitarian aid to the people in need, with special attention to vulnerable groups
|90.98|Intensify its efforts to promote and protect the human rights of specific groups within society, such as women, children, disabled persons and the elderly, with a view to empowering them and alleviating their vulnerability
|90.117|Continue to cooperate with the United Nations, other international organizations and the world community to settle all the humanitarian issues
Lao People's Democratic Republic
|91.7|Cooperate with the special procedures concretely by accepting the repeated requests for a country visit by the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights situation and the right to food
|125.27|Cooperate fully with the COI as well as with the United Nations special procedures and with the humanitarian international organizations
|126.47|Grant access to all special procedures that request to visit the country and seek the technical assistance of OHCHR
Allow humanitarian assistance providers operating in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea unrestricted and independent movement throughout the country, as well as direct and unimpeded access to all populations in need
United States of America

SDG 1 and the North Korean Government

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As a self-proclaimed socialist state the DPRK government has reported that it has a comprehensive social protection system in its reports to UN mechanisms. The DPRK has stated that it has implemented various legislative and policy measures to ensure that the North Korean people are able to have an “affluent life with decent food, clothing and housing.”

In regards to providing social protections for the poor and vulnerable, the DPRK stated in its report submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women that, “women’s rights to social security are guaranteed by the Law on Social Security adopted on January 9, 2008, the Implementing Regulations adopted on September 15, 2008 and the Regulations on Social Insurance adopted on October 13, 2008.” Additionally, “persons in need of special protection by the State such as those who lost ability to work due to disease or disability, and old persons and children with no one to care for were granted incompetence allowance, disability allowance, nursing allowance or special allowance. Workers, farmers and office workers under social security for losing ability to work due to disease or injury were provided with incompetence allowance on the basis of length of service; twenty years for men and fifteen years for women. Wounded ex-service persons and those suffering from occupational accidents were granted disability allowance and those tending these persons with nursing allowance.” The DPRK also stated in its recent 2021 VNR(Voluntary National Review) report that “the government investment has been increased to the orphans and the elderly and moreover 67 units of baby home, orphanage, orphan’s primary and secondary school and rest home were newly built or rehabilitated during 2015-2020.”

In its report submitted ahead of the third Universal Periodic Review in 2019, the DPRK extensively reported the measures it had taken to provide the North Korean people with housing. While the report focused mainly on the housing provided for scientists and teachers, the DPRK government also stated that “the State took emergency measures for the construction of dwellings for people in the areas affected by such disaster as floods and heavy rain, and concentrated all efforts on the relief of the disaster victims so that they could soon resume normal life. For instance, 1,800 houses were newly built within 40 days in Rason when it was hit by floods in 2015, and 11,900 houses were newly built and 15,000 renovated within 60 days in the North Hamgyong Province that suffered unprecedented floods in September 2016.” Also in the VNR report for 2021, adaptation to climate-related natural disasters and the national system of crisis management is mentioned. According to the report, National Strategy of Disaster Risk Reduction (NSDRR) is under implementation and local DRR plans are formulated, while other national DRR-related laws are being revised. Challenges, however, still prevail. The DPRK asserted that “the state needs to improve the infrastructures, conduct reforestation campaigns as annually planned and mobilize domestic potentials, and to strengthen international cooperation in order to cope with natural disasters.”

SDG 1 and North Korean Escapees

“There are still many street orphans (kkotjaebi). They said that there are orphanages for preschool children (aeyugwon) but they say that you should have some means in order to get in there. If you come out from Pyongsong train station there are many street orphans (kkotjaebi). Even in the orphanages for pre-school children, there are no food rations and no provisions, so [the children] are not brought there. When the orphanages for pre-school children were first established they received provisions. However, they say it’s not like that anymore.”

[Interview by NKDB in 2018 (NKDB Unified Human Rights Database]

“All children in the orphanages run away. They are given too much work, and are only fed with corn. When I was in Hamhung, they were building these scientists’ apartments. So then we were sent from our university to help there, and the orphaned children, the children with no parents, came there to work too. They were dressed with the same deep blue clothes worn by ‘storm troops’, and it was around August 2014. The children came and they were all 18 or 19 years old but they were only about 1.2m tall, as they were underfed. The short kids were carrying shovels, that’s how they came to work. There are more kkotjaebi than children in facilities for orphans. It is much more horrible to be in there than being outside...”

[Interview by NKDB in 2017 (NKDB Unified Human Rights Database)]

“At the Women’s Union meetings, we’re told that we are to make sacrifices for the success of our Leader either through financial support or physical labour such as paving roads or constructing railroads. This is mandatory; so if we fail to show up, we will be fined. I did it just because I had no choice. Otherwise, I would have been criticized at the Women’s Union meeting. This is not about giving advantages to women. [...] Even though I hated it, I had to do these things because if I didn’t, I had to pay money. It’s similar to forced labour.” 

[Interview by NKDB in 2017 (NKDB Unified Human Rights Database)]

“The teachers don’t get salaries. They get food rations, they are given corn as food rations, not rice. The money received from the government was only enough to maybe survive for two days, or even one day, this is the money that is given. So the life of the teachers is very difficult. That’s why people don’t want to become teachers. The teachers get money from the parents who are well-off. There are the class leaders and their parents volunteer and help the teachers, those who have money.” 

[Interview by NKDB in 2017 (NKDB Unified Human Rights Database)]

SDG 1 and the International Community

In regards to access to basic services, according to the UN, the proportion of the population with access to basic drinking water services continued to decline from 99.3% in 2000, down to 94.5% in 2017, down 4.8 percentage points. Meanwhile, the proportion of the population using basic sanitation services steadily increased from 75.2% in 2002 to 83.2% in 2017, an increase of 18 percentage points.

Additionally, while the DPRK government states that it provides social protection for women and the vulnerable, NKDB’s research has found that married women are mobilised as a labour force through the Korea Democratic Women’s Union, a national institution, where they are exploited for tzheir money and resources, rather than receive protection.

For protection of other vulnerable groups, it is clear by the 2019 National Report that the DPRK government is proud of its initiatives for children without parents with its statement “one of the remarkable achievements made by the DPRK during the reporting period in its efforts to protect and promote children’s rights is that various initiatives were undertaken for the upbringing and education of children without parents.”

While NKDB was unable to verify the list of initiatives that the government stated in its report, NKDB’s interviewees who had lived in the areas that were affected by floods in September 2016 reinforced the government’s statement that facilities were built for children in the disaster-stricken area. On the other hand, while many claimed that more facilities had been built during recent years, there has in turn been a rise in other violations related to this matter. NKDB’s interviewees stated that many, including children, were mobilised to construct nurseries and kindergartens as a form of forced labour.

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