Observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

poverty-pic-300x199UN Photo, Pierre Albouy. Panelists at the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty suggested strategies for the international community and those living in poverty across the globe to collaborate.

The United Nations Office at Geneva, in collaboration with the International Movement All Together in Dignity (ATD) Fourth World and the October 17th Coalition, commemorated the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Monday 17 October 2011 at the Palais des Nations.

In 1993, the UN General Assembly established an annual Day for the Eradication of Poverty to promote global poverty awareness. The theme of this year’s observance was “From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Center of Inclusive Development”. The event began with several panelists sharing their on-the-ground experiences with poverty eradication in both the developed and developing world. Panelists included Mr. David A. Chikvaidze, Chief Librarian of the UNOG; Ms. Alessandra Vellucci, Chief of the Information Services Press and External Relations Section; His Excellency Mr. Fodé Seck, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UNOG of the Republic of Senegal; and Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, Special Reporter on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.


Mr. Chikvaidze opened the event with a message from Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, which stressed that poverty eradication would be the seminal issue of the 21st century. The Secretary-General said that reducing poverty is critical to sustainable global development and should be at the forefront of the UN agenda. He said that national governments and the UN must collaborate to shoulder the burden of poverty eradication. The Secretary-General also stated the importance of implementing a multi-sectorial approach to poverty reduction, as it is an issue that affects social, economic, political, and cultural levels of society. The consequence of allowing extreme poverty to stagnant, said the Secretary-General, is that those living at the lowest socio-economic levels of society will not have access to the necessary resources, such as healthcare, education and employment, to thrive.


The main objective of the observance was to encourage cooperation between those living in poverty, who understand the complications of the issue first hand, and the international community. As the Secretary-General stressed, only through collaboration will “poverty become history.” Members of the ATD Fourth World and the October 17th Coalition gave personal testimonials about the conditions of living in poverty today. They spoke about the importance of putting people who have experienced living in poverty at the center of policy development to design interventions that are relevant, viable and comprehensive. “Poverty is the result of an imperfect system,” said one representative from ATD Fourth World, and poverty eradication policy must catalyse permanent societal change.


The event concluded with His Excellency Mr. Fodé Seck introducing a screening of the video “Nit Nitay Garabam” (the remedy for a person is another person), which tells the story of a grassroots movement of young people who fought against the effects of extreme flooding in Guinaw Rails, Senegal. Mr. Seck described how climate change and global warming, which exacerbate the severity of natural disasters, will greatly effect poverty eradication in the future. Like the young men and women of Guinaw Rails, whose livelihoods were completely destroyed by the flooding in their impoverished neighborhood, those living in extreme poverty are the most vulnerable members of society and will feel the worst effects of global climate change.

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