United Nations urges commitment to fight humiliation and exclusion to end poverty

Marking the 24th anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP), the United Nations today underscored the need to recognize and address the humiliation and exclusion endured by many people living in poverty.

“As we work together to honor our pledge to build a life of peace, prosperity and dignity for all, we must recognize that prejudice and discrimination seriously impede our efforts,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “To end poverty, we must commit to respect and defend the human rights of all people and end the humiliation and social exclusion that the poor face every day.”

This year marks the first commemoration of IDEP since the launch of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals in January 2016. Recent estimates show that despite significant gains since 2002 – the number of people living below the poverty line dropped by half – 1 in 8 people still live in extreme poverty, including 800 million people who do not have enough to eat.

An estimated 2.4 billion people have no access to improved sanitation, 1.1 billion people have no access to electricity and 880 million people live in urban slums. Opportunities continue to remain scarce for the world’s most vulnerable people – 59 million children of primary school age are out of school and the youth unemployment rate is 15 per cent, more than three times the rate of adults.

“With its central pledge to leave no one behind, the historic and ambitious new 2030 Agenda recognizes that development will only be sustainable if it is inclusive,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo.

“We need to change the course of human development from one characterized by exclusion, inequalities, conflict, and unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, to one that is more inclusive, equitable and sustainable.”

Consequences of Exclusion

The social inclusion of people living in poverty is not just a fundamental moral imperative; it can also help to reduce economic and social costs. Those who do not have access to education, land or the labour market cannot fully contribute to society or to the economy.

Exclusion has political costs as well, as it reflects and feeds social tensions and is at the root of many violent conflicts around the world. Exclusion further interacts with environmental risks because excluded individuals and groups, especially those living in poverty, frequently inhabit areas that are more vulnerable to natural hazards and disasters, and are disproportionately impacted by disasters as a result. Exclusion makes societies not only less cohesive, but also less safe and productive.

About the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Through resolution 47/196 adopted on 22 December 1992, the General Assembly declared 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and invited all States to devote the Day to presenting and promoting, as appropriate in the national context, concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution.

The Day presents an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that people living in poverty are the first ones to fight against poverty. Participation of those living in poverty has been at the centre of the Day’s observance since its inception and also reflects the willingness of people living in poverty to use their expertise to contribute to its eradication.

Follow Us