Making strides towards extreme poverty eradication

Making strides towards extreme poverty eradication

As the global economy remains fragile at the outset of 2012, the need to eradicate extreme poverty is clearer than ever. UN DESA renews its commitment to work with stakeholders to promote sustained, inclusive and equitable growth, and reach the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

Heralded at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development, poverty eradication continues to be an overarching objective of national and international development efforts. There has been significant success in recent decades in reducing poverty. In 1980, for example, 1.5 billion people were living below $1 per day; by 2005, the number had been cut to 850 million.

However, there is still more that needs to be done. Rising income inequality, worsening environmental conditions, poor job creation and weakening social stability all pose serious and ongoing challenges to accelerating poverty eradication. Moreover, the financial crisis, volatility of energy and food prices, climate change and loss of biodiversity has increased vulnerabilities and inequalities, particularly in developing countries.

Adopting action-oriented recommendations

To help address these critical issues and kick-off the development efforts slated for this year, the Commission for Social Development (CSD) will convene in New York for its fiftieth session from 1-10 February, focusing on the priority theme “Poverty Eradication”. The Session will be chaired by His Excellency Mr. Jorge Valero (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) with expected participation of 46 Member States and accredited NGOs.

Taking into account poverty’s interrelationship with social integration, full employment and decent work for all, the session will complete the biennial cycle by adopting action-oriented policy recommendations on poverty eradication. The work of the Commission is expected to focus on the structural barriers to poverty eradication. This focus is seen as an effective means of ensuring that proposed policy guidance emphasizes inclusive growth, building up the asset base of the poor, and opening up social and economic opportunities for large numbers of people, in particular the most disadvantaged.

Creating jobs, reducing inequalities and providing social protection

In concert with ECOSOC resolution 2010/10, the promotion of macroeconomic and social policies which focus on creating jobs, reducing inequalities and providing social protection, are expected to be part of the discussion. Investing in agriculture, rural development and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures are also elements expected to be addressed in the discussions.

The scale of investment required to eradicate poverty exceeds the capacity of Governments, civil society organizations or the private sector working alone. Discussions in the session are also expected to address truly transformational public-private partnerships in the formulation and implementation of development programmes.

Addressing youth poverty and unemployment

In conjunction with the primary theme, the Commission will also discuss the emergent issue on youth poverty and unemployment, underscored at the World Summit for Social Development and the Twenty-fourth Special Session of the General Assembly. Young people between 15 and 24 years of age, particularly from developing countries, are not only disproportionately affected by unemployment over the past decades, but are now faced with an onslaught of difficulties as a consequence of the financial crisis. Unemployment among disadvantaged youth, young women, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty and social exclusion.

Poverty eradication is the centerpiece of sustainable development

The anti-poverty objectives and expected outcomes of the fiftieth session will make a significant contribution towards this year’s events dedicated to the International Year of Sustainable Energy, culminating in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in June 2012. In the closing remarks of the 2nd Intersessional Meeting for Rio+20 in December 2011, DESA’s Under-Secretary-General and the Secretary-General for Rio+20, Mr. Sha Zukang, encouraged, “Our minimalist ambition at Rio+20 should be to eradicate poverty. This should be a centerpiece of our efforts to achieve sustainable development. To start with, this will require that stability and inclusive growth be restored to the global economy.”

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