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Tackling chronic poverty: global and UK perspectives chaired by Polly Toynbee

16 June 2011, 16:30-18:00 (GMT+01 (BST))
Overseas Development Institute, London

Overseas Development Instititute
Register or watch the event online with ODI here.


Back in 2000, the United Nations committed to halve poverty by 2015. As we approach that date, with achievements in China making it possible for this target to be achieved, there are predicted still to be a billion absolutely poor people. Of these, the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) estimates nearly half a billion people are chronically poor – poor over long periods of time, perhaps their whole lives, and pass poverty onto their children. They will remain poor unless their specific plight is addressed, but they are usually forgotten in current efforts to eradicate poverty.

This event calls for urgency and seriousness in developing the responses which will tackle chronic poverty. It can be done: through social protection, human development, pro-poorest economic growth, and progressive social change towards the ‘good society’. Neglecting the chronically poor is not only morally unjust, but also has impacts on economic growth, as well as a state’s political legitimacy.

New key messages from ten years of research by the CPRC will be presented in this event, to reveal that tackling chronic poverty can be done but involves a somewhat different set of policies and programmes additional to the orthodox, internationally accepted set.

This event sets the discussion of international chronic poverty alongside a presentation of research findings on long term-poverty from one locality (Middlesbrough) in the UK – research from the Social Futures Institute at Teesside University, and which was part of the Joseph Rowntree Recurrent Poverty programme – which explores related themes, especially the ‘low pay-no pay’ cycle.

Speakers and schedule

  • Chair: Polly Toynbee - Columnist, The Guardian
  • Speakers:
    Andrew Shepherd -
     Director, Chronic Poverty Research Centre, ODI
    Tracy Shildrick - Professor, Social Futures Institute, Teesside University    
  • Discussants: 
    Andrew Norton -
    Director of Research, ODI
    Paul Wafer - Leader of the Poverty and Vulnerability Team, Growth and Resilience Department, UK DFID
    Carla Groom -
    Head of Strategy, Child Poverty Unit, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education and HM Treasury

Event Website

To register and watch the event online, please visit the ODI event page.

Meeting reports

Coming soon.


This event launches the CPRC new report on key messages to tackling chronic poverty which will be available at To be notified of the report/receive the report by email or post, please contact

Resources and links