Day for The Eradication of Poverty
17 October 2002
by H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan
President of the 57th session of the United Nations General
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty allows us to
reflect on the single most important and challenging goal of
the Millennium Development Goals as stated in the Millennium
Declaration. Events of 11 September 2001 underline the fact
that peace and security are closely linked to issues of poverty.
In the Millennium Declaration, Member States unanimously resolved
to try to half the number of some one billion extremely poor
people in the world by the year 2015. Current reports, however,
indicate that this issue needs to be addressed pragmatically
and rigorously at all levels to achieve substantive results.
The United Nations General Assembly and I personally, will continue
to maintain our focus on this complex and difficult objective
and request Member States to review their progress on this matter.
In the fight against poverty, action by the United Nations can
only be part of the solution. Action by governments is crucial
to achieve this goal.
poverty, one of the main areas of focus is the agricultural sector,
where over 70 percent of the world's poor live and work. The strategic
importance of agriculture, in breaking the rural poverty traps,
has to be renewed and revived. Wherever appropriate, governments
and private sector should jointly allocate enough funds to create
basic social infrastructure at the village level such as water,
sanitation, schools, clinics, counseling and training centers
and a micro credit facility. Stimulating and increasing agricultural
production would result in affordable food prices, improve nutrition
and health, generate employment and empower farmers with purchasing
power. This, in turn, would create a demand for goods produced
by other sectors, thus benefiting the overall economy of the country.
powerful factor in eradicating poverty is to recognize the role
of women and promote their empowerment through educational and
health facilities in the villages, training, micro credit schemes
and most importantly in involving women in the planning and implementation
of such programmes at the community level. Lessons learned from
pilot projects around the world confirm that success has been
achieved where local communities were directly involved in decision
making and defining their priorities. Such community-owned projects
have motivated stakeholders to launch and expand homegrown initiatives
leading, eventually, to sustained self - sufficiency.
catalyst to this process of eradicating poverty is the effort
and collaboration among the South - South group of countries in
sharing best practices and supporting implementation of pilot
regional projects within their countries that may be emulated
elsewhere. International financial backing for projects that are
well conceived, I believe, would be forthcoming from private and
or official sources. It is also acknowledged that crucial factors
such as good governance are key to sustained eradication of poverty.
Nations, for its part, will continue to support capacity building
and other programmes to promote international awareness of, and
assistance to, extremely poor communities around the world.