DAY TO ERADICATE POVERTY TO BE OBSERVED AT UN HEADQUARTERS ON 17 OCTOBER

14 October 2005
Note No. 5971

DAY TO ERADICATE POVERTY TO BE OBSERVED AT UN HEADQUARTERS ON 17 OCTOBER

14/10/2005
Press Release
Note No. 5971
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

DAY TO ERADICATE POVERTY TO BE OBSERVED AT UN HEADQUARTERS ON 17 OCTOBER

A commemoration ceremony to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be held in the garden of United Nations Headquarters on Monday, 17 October from 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

The Day seeks to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and serves to remind all people that sustained and concerted effort is vital to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in poverty by 2015.

This year’s observance will feature testimonies of extreme poverty from international and New York City delegates -- men and women from France, Haiti, Guatemala, Philippines, United Republic of Tanzania and the United States who live in extreme poverty.  The Permanent Representatives of France and Burkina Faso to the United Nations, Jean-Marc de la Sablière and Michel Kafando, respectively, will deliver their messages.  Maori vocalist and songwriter Tama Waipara and the New York-based Peace of Heart Choir will provide musical interludes and the Children of the Tapori Movement will perform.  Some 200 people are expected to attend.

As in previous years, the text of the Commemorative Stone to the victims of poverty, located in the United Nations garden, will be read in all official languages and flowers will honour the victims of extreme poverty.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals -- empowering the poorest of the poor”.

“The reality is that the Millennium Development Goals can only be achieved if we reach out to the poorest and the hardest of the poor to reach”, said Donald Lee, Chief of the Poverty Eradication and Employment Section at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  “The term ‘chronic poverty’ is often used to describe the hard-core poor, the poorest of the poor who are often excluded from poverty-reduction programmes and projects.  These are people who are so poor they are unable to qualify for microcredit.  Therefore, economic growth needs to be ‘pro-poorest’, not just pro-poor.”

Providing opportunities is not enough, Mr. Lee said, “Because poor people, in particular the poorest, need to possess the capabilities and assets to capture and exploit opportunities to escape the clutches of poverty.  The poorest need to be empowered, and empowerment means increasing the capacity of individuals and groups to make choices and to transform those choices into actions and outcomes.”

The observance, which is part of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006), is sponsored jointly by the ATD Fourth World Movement, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Department of Public Information and the NGO Sub-Committee for the Eradication of Poverty.

The non-governmental organization International Movement ATD Fourth World carries out projects in partnership with very poor families and communities, conducts research on poverty together with poor people and campaigns to mobilize public opinion.

Information on events marking the Day around the world is available at www.oct17.org/site/agenda.php3?id_rubrique=15&id_article=16&lang=en.

For further information, please contact Edoardo Bellando, Department of Public Information, tel.:  (212) 963 8275, e-mail:  bellando@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.