|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
12th & 13th Meetings (AM & PM)
Burden of Unpaid Work Must Be Valued, Formal Sectors Opened to Women,
Delegates Urge as Second Committee Takes up Poverty Eradication
It was time to place a value on unpaid work carried out by women, the head of UN-Women stressed today as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) considered poverty eradication.
Women provided the most housework, child and elderly care, constraining their own ability to participate in education and formal sectors of the workforce, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Women, formerly known as the United Nations Entity on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Introducing a report on women in development, she said that unpaid care-work consisted of work neither paid for nor recognized in policy or formal sectors. Its burden on women had increased substantially following cuts in social protection and service programmes caused by the global economic crisis.
Persistent gender inequality and discrimination hampered a woman’s opportunity to join the formal labour-market, she said. Ensuring women’s access to decent work was fundamental in eradicating poverty. Quality jobs in formal sectors had a rippling effect on generations to come, improving child well-being, delivering fair-income, and providing social protection to families. Member States had a responsibility to promote decent work and strengthen the formal labour market by enacting and enforcing the minimum wage, eliminating discrimination, and providing skills-based training programmes.
Costa Rica’s delegate pointed to childcare networks and elderly centres newly established that redistributed the burden of unpaid care. Such policy aimed at changing views on the care of children and the elderly from a role exclusively assigned to women to a shared societal responsibility.
The representative of Maldives expressed concern that the unemployment rate of women in his country was nearly double that of men. That number was especially troubling considering the large number of households headed by women. To reduce the poverty rates for women, Maldives had introduced measures that promoted job opportunity and provided financial assistance to single mothers. Norway’s delegate stressed that a stand-alone goal that incorporated gender equality in the post-2015 development agenda was imperative.
Fiji’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, pointed out an overarching concern of several Member States, saying that unemployment, both for men and women, had increased by 28 million people since the worldwide economic crisis hit. A total of 200 million were jobless. On top of that, the work available in developing countries lacked in quality and stability - 56 per cent of all workers in the developing world were employed jobs that were vulnerable.
Several delegates said that the 1.2 billion people still living in extreme poverty proved that development had been uneven. Ethiopia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that most of those people lived in sub-Saharan Africa. It was the only region where extreme poverty rose steadily between 1990 and 2010. As most poor people lived in rural areas, it was imperative to increase investment in agriculture. Poverty had never been eliminated in any society without a move into manufacturing. “ Africa cannot be an exception,” he stressed. Benin’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, agreed with his counterpart, saying that eight in 10 poor workers lived in rural areas.
Myanmar’s delegate pointed out that his Government was planning to reduce extreme poverty by an additional 10 per cent by 2015 through the adoption of policies promoting the development of small-scale rural productivity, microfinance institutions, and rural energy. China’s delegate said that while her country had made significant progress in addressing the basic needs of its rural people, China was not yet a rich country as one hundred million people lived in poverty.
Nepal’s representative said that with 7 million people still living in extreme poverty, the gap between the rich and poor as well as urban and rural was widening. Remittance was a significant contributor to the rural economy, he said, stressing the need to raise the financial literacy of migrant workers. Several representatives also called for the development of the human resources sector, with Libya’s delegate saying it was the wealth of a nation as it required skilled training.
The Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and the Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development, both from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced reports for the Committee’s consideration.
Also speaking today were representatives of Suriname (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Singapore (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Malta, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, India, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Thailand, South Africa, Germany, Morocco, Cape Verde, Qatar, Japan, Angola, Jordan, Côte d’Ivoire, Brazil, Malaysia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, and Botswana.
Representatives from the International Labour Organization, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, and International Organization for Migration also delivered statements.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Monday, 21 October to consider “Groups of countries in special situations”.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to take up the eradication of poverty. Before it were three reports of the Secretary-General, on “Implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017)”, (document A/68/183), on “Women in development” (document A/68/271) and on “Human Resources Development” (document A/68/228).
Introduction of Reports
PHUMZILE MLAMBO-NGCUKA, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Entity on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), introduced the report “Women in development”, saying that investing in women reduced poverty today and in future generations. Decent work had important multiplying effects and improved child well-being as it involved opportunities that delivered fair income and social protection for families. Quality jobs allowed workers to organize and participate in their own lives. However, persistent gender inequality severely hampered women’s labour-market opportunities.
On unpaid care work, she said it was a major human rights issue as women provided most housework, child and elderly care, constraining their own ability to participate in education and in formal sectors of the workforce. Unpaid care work often went unrecognized even in policy, and addressing that gap would benefit millions of women. Social protection, including social insurance and assistance were important in reducing poverty among women but must not be a substitute for Government investment in the public sector.
Emphasizing the need to invest in human-resource development, she also underlined the importance of skills-based training programmes for women, while noting that cuts in social protection and social services programmes, caused and compounded by the global economic crisis, had significantly contributed to women’s burden of unpaid work. She called on Member States to promote decent work and strengthen the formal labour market by enacting and enforcing the minimum wage and by eliminating discrimination. It was time put a value on women’s unpaid work, she stressed.
SHAMSHAD AKHTAR, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on “Human Resources Development”, said that despite efforts to promote development, many countries, particularly the most vulnerable, continued to struggle with extreme poverty, poor access to quality education, inadequate health care, rampant unemployment, and growing inequality. Science, technology and innovation were key to economic growth and increasingly considered central to poverty reduction. However, harnessing the full potential of these drivers was often not available in developing countries. She said the report outlined a number of science, technology and innovation strategies and systems that could deliver on poverty reduction, sustainable growth and human resources development.
DANIELA BAS, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the “Implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty”, said the proportion of those living in poverty had reached new lows in all six developing regions. However, in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the poverty target remained unmet at the regional level. Joblessness, underemployment and inequality were highlighted as major challenges to poverty eradication. Structural labour market conditions such as high youth unemployment, low participation rates, large informal sectors, low quality jobs and slow productivity growth posed great challenges in developing countries. The report concluded that Governments needed to develop and implement policies that created social and economic opportunity for all. Diversified and job-rich growths, as well as a reduction of the negative impacts of climate change, were also considered key to reducing poverty.
LUKE DAUNIVALU (Fiji), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that development progress had been uneven and that the number of those living in poverty continued to rise, with women and children being affected the most. Challenges to eradicate poverty had been compounded by the recent economic and financial crises, he said, adding that the Group believed that eliminating poverty must be at the core of the post-2015 development agenda. It was important to ensure that policy elements respond to both national challenges and opportunities. In that regard, the Group called for a supportive and fair financial architecture and trading system that included clear-cut goals and means of implementation that complemented the Government development plans of developing countries.
Employment and good jobs were key drivers of poverty reduction, he said. However, global unemployment had increased by 28 million people since the worldwide economic crisis hit, leaving a total of 200 million jobless. Developing countries continued to face many structural challenges such as a low rate of participation in the labour market, high youth unemployment and low quality jobs. As pointed out in the report, 56 per cent of all workers in the developing world were employed in vulnerable jobs. The Group emphasized that gender equality was imperative in eradicating poverty, calling for the investment in the advancement of women worldwide. Women’s equal participation in labour markets continued to be impended by exploitation, discrimination, gender-based violence and sexual harassment. Governments must promote decent work and social provisions to create a fairer playing field. Investment in human resources development must be an integral part in national development policy, he said, adding that there must be a focus on skills upgrading in science and technology.
RAYMOND LAUDVELD (Suriname), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77, said that progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals was uneven. There were 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, and by 2015 an estimated 970 million people would still be living on less than $1.25 a day in countries classified as low or middle income. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of those living in extreme poverty was steadily on the rise. The Community believed that supporting investments in sustainable agriculture and rural development increased food production, raised the income of the poor, and reduced poverty and hunger. Placing an emphasis on agriculture could also counter food price increases, promote consumption of regionally produced food, and secure nutrition.
Environmental threats were “a serious risk,” he said. CARICOM countries were particularly vulnerable to climate change, degradation of ecosystems and disasters such as floods, coastal storms and changes in agricultural productivity. The greatest asset available to the poor against poverty was their ability to work, but the recent global crisis had worsened the employment situation. Efficiently managed social protection schemes and socially targeted public spending were thus effective complements to other poverty-reduction efforts, he noted.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, said that progress had been uneven with 1.2 billion people still living in extreme poverty, most in sub-Saharan Africa. That region was the only one in which the number of people living in extreme poverty rose steadily between 1990 and 2010, accounting for one-third of the world’s poor. The situation in Africa merited special attention during the remaining period of the Millennium Development Goals and when crafting the post-2015 development agenda. The risk of climate change had become more pronounced in exacerbating poverty through its effects on agricultural productivity. Therefore, it was paramount to increase investment in agriculture, particularly in infrastructure development so to increase the productivity of workers and their capacity to generate income. Poverty had never been eliminated in any society without moving into manufacturing. “ Africa cannot be an exception,” he stressed.
The Group was concerned with the high level of unemployment, particularly among youth, he said, emphasizing the need for investment in the social sector, particularly education. Small and medium enterprises could also serve as a vehicle for a dynamic source of employment and contribute to overall productivity. It was critical to support African countries to beef-up their fiscal cushions so that they could continue to address the problem of unemployment without being seriously affected by the global economic crisis. Women must have an equal position in the labour market through their increase in formal sectors. It was imperative to reduce the burden of unpaid care work on them.
NEO EK BANG MARK (Singapore), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Group of 77, said that despite robust economic growth in Asia, inequality was still prevalent in the region. Providing the right financial conditions for individuals to have access to food, shelter, health, education and security were important, but only one aspect of development assistance. To raise people out of poverty, they must be empowered to pursue economic self-advancement. There must be broad access to economic opportunities created by growth and individuals must be equipped to take advantage of those opportunities.
Poverty eradication and rural development were two issues that were intricately intertwined, he said. Good progress had been made in the implementation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint towards poverty alleviation. The Association had also adopted the Framework Action Plan on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication that outlined strategic approaches in six priority areas. While poverty eradication was often an issue of internal, rather than external factors, more could be achieved with help from regional and international partners. Cooperation through regional institutions and initiative – from sharing best practices, to technology transfer, to the creation of new economic opportunities through economic integration and liberalisation – could accelerate efforts to raise people out of poverty.
ABDULMONEM A.H. ESHANTA ( Libya), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, called for negotiations to establish a new international trade order that would be fair to all countries. The empowerment of women was critical in development, he said, calling for their integration in the formal economy. Their empowerment had been impeded because of inequality, discrimination and high levels of unemployment. Investing in women and girls would not only enhance their positions in society but also improve society as a whole. The education of women was a way of enhancing the education of children and therefore, generations to come. Calling for the development of the human resource sector, he said it was the wealth of a nation as it required training for its development. In that regard, the lack of scientific competence training was a danger to progress and development causing a brain-drain from developing countries to the developed countries.
CHRISTOPHER GRIMA ( Malta) said the global eradication of poverty was a priority for the international community and needed to be tackled through a variety of actions. That included empowering all by providing them with a decent education, basic health care, nutritious food, clean water and access to energy infrastructure so they could reach their full potential. Another essential element was peace and stability, without which millions of people would not be lifted from poverty but would rather be forced to endure dismal conditions for many more years. He encouraged developing countries to continue to invest to prevent environmental degradation to avert climate change calamities in the future. Supporting poorer countries to achieve higher economic growth and welfare benefited all, and was not achieved at the expense of others. Noting the ongoing work of the United Nations to find other avenues of financing for development, his country was taking every possible measure to eradicate poverty.
KHAM-INH KHITCHADETH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said his country was committed to realizing the Millennium Development Goals for national poverty eradication and all targets had been streamlined into its national social and economic development plans. Remarkable progress had been made in reducing poverty, improving primary education, and decreasing infant and under-five mortality rates. However, the nutrition target remained off-track in his country, as were targets to reduce primary school drop-out rates and maternal mortality rates. On poverty reduction, his country’s Government was working closely with all development partners, including the United Nations system to realize its development objectives.
AHMED SAREER ( Maldives), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that although his country had accomplished five of the eight Millennium Development Goals, it was plagued with the disadvantages associated with small island economies. Its unique geographical nature was among the toughest challenges, particularly as it was a resource-poor nation. The main source of income to the country came from tourism and fisheries, and both industries were highly subjected to external factors. Support was imperative to diversify Maldives’ economy, improve industry competitiveness, ensure inclusive growth and make economic activities both green and resilient. According to a national survey, the employment rate of women was nearly double that of men. That was especially alarming considering that a large number of households in Maldives were headed by women, owing to high divorce rates. To counter the negative impacts of single parent families and to reduce the poverty rates for women, the Government had introduced a financial assistance package for single mothers.
Mr. M KRISHNASSWAMY (India) associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said 1.3 billion people still lived in conditions of abject deprivation worldwide and 970 million would still be living in poverty in 2015. One in six people continued to live in extreme poverty, hunger and desperation. Poverty eradication required special attention and a new thrust, including the collective political will to place it at the top of the post-2015 agenda. The prerequisite for poverty eradication was rapid, sustained and inclusive economic growth, along with targeted interventions and programmes to promote education, fight hunger and malnutrition, promote maternal and infant health and gender empowerment. The United Nations system must give the highest priority to achieving poverty eradication through the development of national capacities in developing countries. A supportive and enabling international environment, which was also fair and conducive to development, was crucial in the collective fight against poverty. Given its placement at the intersection between poverty eradication and sustainable development, there needed to be greater collaboration in areas of environmentally-friendly technologies.
CHEN YINGZHU ( China), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said the current economic situation allowed no room for optimism. Close to 1.3 billion people still lived in extreme poverty. As developing countries faced the challenge of overcoming poverty to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, developed countries had to honour their ODA commitments and assist them in capital and technological support. The international community must enhance coordination on macroeconomic policy in the areas of finance, trade and debt reduction. North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation must all be utilized in that process. Her country had made significant progress in eradicating poverty and addressing the basic needs of its rural people. But China was not yet a rich country, she said, adding that 100 million people still lived in poverty. Providing assistance to other developing countries could achieve common development and promote global efforts on poverty reduction.
NAJID ALDREES ( Saudi Arabia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that through substantial financial assistance his country had helped the world in the fight against poverty. It was a moral responsibility, he said, adding that Saudi Arabia had set up a fund aimed at providing support at the bilateral and multilateral levels. Saudi Arabia provided finance and assistance to hundreds of development projects worldwide through various United Nations agencies. However, the widespread problems of disease and climate change had negatively impacted the poor. On oil, he said his country strived to stabilize oil markets by curbing the increase in oil prices. Saudi Arabia had empowered women, allowing them to participate in the Parliament. He emphasized that development would not be possible without the promotion of all human rights.
GIORA BECHER ( Israel) said the Committee’s deliberations should help strengthen the international consensus on the importance of poverty eradication and provide direction to the stakeholders. “Working in partnership, we have done what the United Nations was created to do. But our work is far from over,” he said. Committed to breaking the cycle of poverty, Israel was sharing its solutions with the world. Empowering women was a prerequisite to eradicating poverty in the context of sustainable development. However, women in the developing world remained less likely than men to have access to medical care, property ownership, credit and employment. That was happening while women were the main axis through which families grew and social cohesion was enhanced. Israel’s development placed special emphasis on women, whose economic empowerment sent positive ripples across the entire community. The world must ensure that women were given the tools to be able to prosper, including that ability to make their own decision about reproduction.
TINE MØRCH SMITH (Norway) called for a stand-alone transformative goal relating to gender equality in the post-2015 development agenda. Gender equality must be integrated into all development goals using targets and indicators. Every woman should be able to enjoy her rights, irrespective of age, social class, disability, sexual orientation or ethnic background. Every girl and women should also have the freedom to make her own decisions on matters related to sexuality and fertility, without coercion, discrimination or violence. Access to birth control must be seen as part of the wider effort for better health and gender equality. That included ending child and forced marriages, preventing early pregnancies, increasing access to safe abortions, ending female mutilation and gender based violence. Comprehensive sex education must be offered to all boys and girls, she concluded.
Ms. TANCHARAOENPOL, (Thailand), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said her country placed social protection and human security at the centre of its national development policy on poverty. To achieve poverty eradication, Thailand’s development policy improved people’s access to education and health care and protected their sexual and reproductive rights. Development in the agricultural sector was crucial, as was the pursuit of full employment and decent work for all. The promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises and investment in infrastructure connected her country with the global economy and contributed to sustained, inclusive and equitable growth. Thailand recognized that Science Technology Innovation and Information and Communication Technology needed to play an active role in the development agenda and had included a measure to address the digital divide in its national development policy.
DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, expressed appreciation that poverty eradication continued to be a priority issue area in discussions about the formation of the post-2015 development agenda. By building on the Millennium Development Goals and through global efforts, the international community could eradicate poverty and ensure the achievement of sustainable development goals. This required a comprehensive response, with the recognition that unemployment and inequality continued to be key drivers of poverty. South Africa was concerned with the plight of sub-Sahara Africa and supported the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. Poverty was exacerbated by the volatility of global markets, reliable energy sources and food insecurity. The international response to it needed to be centred on efforts to address unemployment, the availability of education opportunities for youth and the effects of climate change.
PETER SILBERBERG ( Germany) said that his country promoted the development and expansion of social protection systems that looked out for the whole of the population. Green and inclusive growth would allow people living in poverty to contribute to and benefit from growth through income and employment opportunities, especially in rural areas, he added. There was a need to complement the conventional “dollar-a-day” poverty line with a new and more nuanced approach to poverty measurement. Such an approach should be multidimensional, adequately capture differing standards of living and be accessible to intuitive interpretation. Progress towards sustainable development and the eradication of poverty would be meaningless if it did not address issues of security, promote good governance and ensure the respect of human rights.
SHARON YEO ( Singapore), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said uneven progress in the reduction in poverty had most affected women and children. She cited Singapore’s own emergence from poverty into prosperity though the assistance of United Nations agencies. Central to that transformation was the country’s emphasis on education, coupled with social security policies. Home ownership and health-care programmes served to eradicate poverty in a long-term and sustainable way. While poverty eradication might often be an issue of internal factors, the fight against it would be strengthened by assistance from regional and international partners. There were many benefits of cross-regional cooperation and partnerships, which included the exchange of best practices, mobilization of resources and technical expertise, and creation of new economic opportunities. Singapore reaffirmed its commitment to work with its partners to eradicate poverty and realize the Millennium Development Goals.
ABDELMALEK ACHERGUI (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said efforts to combat poverty had moved forward, however, the effects of the global financial crisis, the volatility of food prices and the cost of energy had hampered progress. The fruits of growth were not equally distributed and all partners needed to work together to break the vicious cycle of extreme poverty and vulnerability. Sustainable economic growth could reduce poverty, as had been demonstrated in Asia, but this could not be guaranteed in a systematic way. The multidimensional nature of poverty required appropriate and multi-sectoral actions. In Morocco, progress had been achieved in combating it, particularly over the last 10 years through the provision of policies and programmes that enhanced training and education, generalized medical assistance, and provided loans to the population. However, the challenges in dealing with poverty remained widespread and complicated and efforts by the international community to assist had been inadequate.
ANTONIO PEDRO MONTEIRO LIMA (Cape Verde), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said progress toward poverty eradication had be uneven and slow, while millions in the most vulnerable countries had yet to be reached. Poverty eradication had long been on Cape Verde’s development agenda and great strides had been made in eradicating it and improving nutrition. The country’s extreme poverty rate had decreased significantly, from 49 per cent in 1990 to 21 per cent in 2010. However, despite graduating to the middle income country category, there were still high rates of poverty, inequality and unemployment, as well as insufficient access to many goods. Cape Verde called for the international community to address the functioning of the global financial system and provide solutions to preventing another crisis as was seen in 2008.
AHMAD MOHAMED AL THANI (Qatar), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said his country was aiming to provide decent work for all, particularly for youth, as well as for those populations residing in rural areas. Decent work and social protection were fundamental in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. Inequality between sexes must be eliminated through better social protection and that must be accompanied by efforts that combat discriminatory practices. He called for an increase in investment in gender specific policies, saying that efforts must be increased to implement programmes that improve the status of women. On a national level, Qatar had improved the role of women in public life by promoting education and enrolment in schools. He also highlighted policies that protected women from discrimination.
YASUAKI MOMITA (Japan) said his country had been actively supporting countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where progress on poverty eradication was uneven. Japan had announced its commitment to support growth in Africa through public and private means amounting to $32 billion over the next five years, he added. The eradication of poverty should remain a central objective of the post-2015 development agenda. That agenda, in turn, should be people centred through the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development. All concerned actors should work together to address a variety of issues such as quality jobs, health care, education, social exclusion and climate change. Inclusive, equitable and sustainable development could not be achieved without gender equality and women’s empowerment. Japan would grant more than $3 billion in ODA over the next three years to promote women’s participation in society, their empowerment, health and medical care, and their participation and protection in the areas of peace and security. He stressed the need of developing human resources, adding that his country was committed to sharing its knowledge and technology.
ANTONIO COELHO RAMOS DA CRUZ (Angola), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that reducing poverty was not just about having the right economic policies. It was about pursuing appropriate social policies that elevate the interests of the poor. On a national level, he said his Government had undertaken a 5-year national development plan focusing on promoting and creating jobs outside the oil sector. Furthermore, he highlighted several reforms in the education and food security aimed at accelerating poverty reduction. A one-stop shop for fostering entrepreneurship had also been created to grant microcredit, which had streamlined and greatly benefited the creation of jobs for young rural women. The “National Health for All” programme had given opportunities to build and renovate hospitals to combat the spread of infectious diseases responsible for maternal and child mortality.
JEAN-FRANCIS ZINSOU ( Benin), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said poverty is a complex phenomena that left the least developed countries at greatest risk. Most of those countries will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals on schedule, primarily because the means that need to be mobilized are enormous. The factors of vulnerability have taken on such importance that many people living on the threshold of poverty are at risk of again falling back below the poverty line. The goals and objectives related to health, water, sanitation and employment cannot be achieved without changes in the paradigm. Given that eight in ten poor workers lived in rural areas, the situation in those places merited particular attention. Those people often had a low level of productivity and limited access to even the most basic of social services. He noted that efforts are underway to accelerate the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, although the determination and goodwill of the international community would be paramount to the successful pursuit of those objectives.
He said that development activities should target areas that would have the greatest impact on the situation of the least developed countries, including access to energy, as it was considered essential for the eradication of poverty. Increased employment was the best way to overcome poverty, particularly in agriculture, which was seen as an important area for job growth potential. To eliminate extreme poverty and hunger, there must be access to decent and productive work. Social transformation in rural areas also required the participation of women in development. In particular, the international community must work toward awareness and remuneration for non-paid work, which was a heavy burden for women and led them to a veiled servitude.
DIANA ALI AL-HADID ( Jordan), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said about two-thirds of the world’s poor resided in rural areas of the developing world and that poverty had a disproportionately negative impact on women. Human resource development, particularly in the absence of significant natural resources, was the cornerstone of her country’s poverty reduction efforts. Microfinance had also proven to be an effective tool for poverty reduction, with microfinance institutions demonstrating significant diversity in their ability to reach those most vulnerable. Ending poverty would require a balanced and integrated approach across all three dimensions of sustainable development. Furthermore, the poor must also be able to participate equally in the conceptualization and implementation of policies for sustainable development.
YIN PO MYAT ( Myanmar), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that 1.2 billion people were grappling with extreme poverty. Inequality existed and opportunity remained limited for many in that group. Eradication of poverty must remain at the core of the future development agenda beyond 2015. Rural development was high on the priority agenda for his Government, he said, pointing that it would reduce extreme poverty from the current 26 per cent to 16 per cent by 2015. It had adopted several policies in that regard including through the development of small-scale rural productivity, microfinance institutions, and rural energy and environmental conservation. Unequal access to basic social services made it even harder for those to break out of the cycle of poverty.
YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA (C ôte D’Ivoire), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that as his country emerged after ten years of conflict, it had seen a 40 per cent increase in the poor. To reverse that alarming trend, the Government had undertaken effort to reverse those effects and make progress in education and health care. The condition of those most vulnerable had improved and child mortality rate was on the decline. Women were also much more present, not only in decision-making positions, but in other sectors of society. He highlighted progress made in combating HIV/AIDS and ensuring access to safe drinking water. Although the deadline of 2015 was near, some countries would not be able to achieve the Millennium Goal targets despite having made considerable efforts. It was important to ensure that countries in Africa were able to legitimately benefit from economic growth through access to technology and high quality training. He concluded by emphasizing the importance of ODA.
SÉRGIO RODRIGUES DOS SANTOS (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said significant progress had been made towards poverty eradication, although the positive results achieved thus far may dangerously conceal the enormous challenges ahead. Although middle income countries had enjoyed relatively good macroeconomic conditions in recent years, they still represented the majority of the world’s poor. In that sense, the United Nations system and developed countries must avoid the misconception that this category of countries can overcome the challenge of poverty eradication without help from the international community. Employment and decent work were key drivers of poverty reduction; however, the recent global economic crisis and slow recovery have imposed obstacles to the improvement of the employment conditions of the population. Disparities in access to health, education and other social services also constituted an obstacle for those to break out of the cycle of poverty. Social protection schemes have had positive results in poverty reduction, but that must be complemented with macroeconomic policy measures that foster job creation and decent work.
RAJA REZA BIN RAJA ZAIB SHAH (Malaysia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations placing the eradication of extreme poverty at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda. He noted that his country had successfully implemented various poverty eradication programmes. This included the contribution of the National Poverty Data Bank, the rural development programme and the 1AZAM programme, which focused on job placement, small business enterprise, small service providers and opportunities in agriculture. The Government had made efforts to allow women to realize their full potential as they participated in the economic and social development of the country. Notwithstanding those successes, there were still pockets of rural poverty which the Government was addressing. Malaysia was working to elevate the livelihoods of the bottom 40 per cent of households by raising incomes, boosting education and skills, strengthening the social safety net, and assessing the needs of special target groups. The successful implementation of poverty eradication and development programmes was underpinned by political stability. His country had taken measures to leverage its unique diversity as a source of strength in achieving a sustained inclusive and equitable economic growth. However, regional and international stability were crucial.
SAÚL WEISLEDER ( Costa Rica), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country passed legislation concerning women at the beginning of the year and that new laws had entered into force regarding organ trafficking, sex tourism and labour exploitation. Those actions were translated into public policy, including a gender equality policy that had several objectives, including changing views on the care of young people and older adults so it could be seen as a shared social responsibility, not as a role exclusively assigned to women. Those policies created more opportunities for child and elderly care outside the home through the establishment of childcare networks and centres for the elderly. Those networks and centres helped redistribute the burden of unpaid care and contributed to social development and economic growth. Costa Rica was one of the eight countries worldwide with an elected female head of state and viewed gender equality as a requirement for human rights and a necessary condition for development and combating social exclusion.
Ms. HAMID (Sudan), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Develop Countries, said developing countries needed a balanced economic system that could help them address issues such as climate change, which affected items such as food security and jobs. That required international cooperation and the coordination of policies to create an economic network that was global and equal. The international community needed to respect its commitments and take action to combat poverty. There needed to be opportunities for everyone, particularly for women and without exception. Achieving investment goals and projects in that area required cooperation and respect from developing countries; therefore, imposed sanctions must be lifted to achieve better economic development. Equal participation in the trade system without restrictions, as well as equitable income sharing would limit poverty. There had been an increase of poverty among women, including in developing countries where economic disparities were evident. There must be better education, protection and partnerships in those areas, including more cooperation at the international level win regard to science and technology.
MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN ( Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 countries and China, said the issues of eradication of poverty, women in development, and human resources development were complementary and mutually reinforcing. Women’s contribution to the economy, especially in eradicating poverty and inequalities through remunerated and unremunerated work at home, and the workplace significantly shaped overall development. Since many of the world’s poorest were women and lived mostly in rural areas, there was a need to ensure that they were included in shaping laws, policies and programmes. Increased investment in education and training, particularly vocational, was important to developing human resources. Least developed countries needed greater attention in the creation, application and diffusion of knowledge, human capital and technology. As poverty was an affront to human dignity, its eradication continued to be the common endeavour of the global community. It was critical to support the countries lagging behind in creating full employment and decent work for all, as envisaged under the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017).
ADRIANA PACHECO ( Bolivia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said the financial crisis had affected countries’ ability to mobilize resources for development. The policies of the liberal marketplace generated poverty, hunger and marginalization. Capitalism, she said, had left in its wake millions of hungry people around the world, including 230 million unemployed, 40 million more than 30 years ago. While the rates of economic growth varied among countries, they should be addressed through common but differentiated responsibilities in the spirit of the Rio+20 agreements. Developing countries should be supported by an international environment with rules that were fair and favourable. We are at a crucial point in time for defining the future of our planet, with human beings and nature at the centre of development from an integrated perspective, she noted. Development must take place through a series of rights and duties, including the fulfilment of the happiness of mankind, particularly that of women and young people.
PHOLOGO GAUMAKWE ( Botswana), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that employment and decent work were key drivers of poverty reduction. He called for more focus to be dedicated towards addressing the disproportionate burden of unemployment facing youth. Poverty eradication would continue to remain elusive as long as participation of women and youth in the economy continued to be limited to the informal sector and poor jobs. Reducing the vulnerability of women and youth was important as they comprised the majority of the working poor. On a national level, his country had targeted the most vulnerable members of society through various poverty eradication initiatives.
MANI PRASAD PHATTARAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that in his country nearly 7 million people lived in extreme poverty. The gap between the rich and poor, as well as urban and rural, was widening and the social dimensions of poverty based on gender, ethnicity, caste and culture were becoming more complex. Building productive capacity in agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors and building resilience from multiple shocks, including those of climate change was essential. Remittances he noted, were becoming significant contributors to the economy, especially in rural areas.
VINICIUS PINHEIRO (International Labour Organization) said the world faced the challenge of creating around 600 million jobs in the next 15 years to keep up with the growth of the labour force and close the job gap. Addressing the jobs challenge of full employment and decent work for all was among the core concerns of the sustainable development agenda. Decent work was the most sustainable route to ending poverty and attention was needed to ensure that the quality, as well as the quantity of jobs, was simultaneously pursued. The risk of losing a generation must be avoided by paying particular attention to nearly 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24. The Organization’s Call for Action painted a picture of what was truly a youth employment crisis and provided a series of guiding principles and policy measures. The extension of social protection floors was fundamental to ensure that no one was left behind. The Organization would continue to work with Governments, unions, business and civil society, as well as colleagues of the multilateral system to make decent work a reality for all.
A representative from the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said exercising solidarity toward all who are threatened and affirming human dignity had been at the heart of the Order for 900 years. The Order existed to come to the aid of those in distress, without prejudice and was at the service of the poor and disinherited with more than 800,000 volunteers and 59 national associations ready to act on all continents.
A representative from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was critical for national and international development efforts to focus on building the resilience of the most vulnerable. Access to basic services was key for resilience-building and poverty eradication. Vulnerable groups often remained poor because they lacked access to basic services, including health, education, water and sanitation. Resilience to disasters must also be addressed, noting their negative impact on poverty eradication efforts and disproportionate effects on the most vulnerable people and countries. In some cases, large scale disasters in least developed countries could erase a decade of development gains and hamper poverty eradication efforts for years to come.
A representative from the International Organization for Migration said women represented nearly half of the international migrants in the world today. Migrant women faced unique vulnerabilities, including exploitation and gender-based violence, as well as limited opportunities for upward mobility in most labour markets. They often experienced a double disadvantage due to their status as migrants and as women. Migration could play a key role in human resources development and capacity building, while robust policies could have an impact on how migration was seen and felt. With regard to poverty eradication, migration must be taken into account and the development agenda should address the need for inclusion.
* *** *For information media • not an official record