The COVID-19 pandemic that continues to grip the world has caused over 3.7 million deaths and is reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty. It is a matter of fact that the impact of the coronavirus has been the hardest on people who – for generations – have lacked equal access to public goods and services, quality healthcare systems and strong social protection, making it harder to cope with global crises.

Every year, the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard and a moment to recognize that they are the first ones to fight against poverty. Today, they are the most affected by the global pandemic and by the climate crisis.

As many speak of ‘Building Back Better’, people living in extreme poverty express that they do not wish a return to the past nor to build back what was before. They do not support a return to the endemic structural disadvantages and inequalities. Instead, they propose building forward by transforming our relationship with nature, dismantling structures of discrimination that disadvantage people in poverty and building on the moral and legal framework of human rights that places human dignity at the heart of policy and action. Building forward means not only that no one is left behind but that people living in poverty are actively encouraged and supported to be in the front, engaging in informed and meaningful participation in decision-making processes that directly affect their lives.

To highlight this message, the virtual commemoration of IDEP2021 will give the floor to people with a direct experience of poverty and who are affected by climate change, as well as to UN high-level officials and Member States representatives. The virtual event is organized by the International Movement ATD Fourth World, UN DESA, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Permanent Missions of France and Burkina Faso to the United Nations, the NGO Committee for Social Development, and the Forum on Overcoming Extreme Poverty.

The event will take place virtually on Friday, 15 October at 10 am EST. Stay tuned for the zoom link registration and join the online discussion by using #EndPoverty.

For more information about the Day, please visit this page and follow @UNDESA, @UNDESASocial on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Photo: WFP/Sayed Asif Mahmud: Millions of people in Bangladesh have been impacted by climate shocks, like flooding.