Your excellency, Mr. Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I would like to start by thanking the Chinese Government for hosting this virtual high-level conference on poverty eradication and South-South cooperation.
I would also like to thank my colleague the UN Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Amina Mohammed for her remarks.
It is the honour of my Department, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) to support this virtual conference together with UNDP.
This event is very timely. The world is seeking to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has upended hundreds of thousands of lives and driven world economy into recession. As a result of the current crisis, after decades of progress, poverty and hunger are now on the rise.
In fact, the world was not on track to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s central goal of eradicating poverty, even before the COVID-19 crisis. It is estimated that over 740 million people still live in extreme poverty, with over 60 per cent of them living in middle-income countries, and the rest in low-income, fragile states.
Impeding such efforts to reduce poverty include:
- Shifts in production and labor markets,
- persistent conflicts,
- rising inequalities of income and access to healthcare, education and internet connectivity
- high levels of youth unemployment and underemployment,
- gender inequalities, and
- climate change.
The social and economic impacts of the current crisis are falling disproportionately on the most vulnerable. These impacts are likely to be long-lasting.
The path to overcome the scourge of poverty is great, but not insurmountable. The UN DESA has carried out important analysis on policy interventions that can help countries reduce poverty and recover from the current crisis. Allow me to highlight some key findings.
- The need for inclusive and sustainable economic growth that creates decent employment. Supporting enterprises and workers – including those in the informal sector, especially women – can help to re-start growth.
- Importance of universal social protection – including nationally-determined floors – is an effective policy tool for poverty reduction and economic growth.
- Measures to support marginalized groups – who face significant barriers to accessing labour markets and social services – are essential for leaving no one behind.
- Investment in critical infrastructure like health systems, education and internet connectivity is a basis for inclusive growth.
Multi-stakeholder participation and enhanced South-South cooperation are critical for poverty eradication.
South-South and triangular cooperation can also play a key role in a strong recovery from COVID-19. Indeed, the full contributions and cooperation of the Global South is critical to build more resilient economies needed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.
UN DESA supports South-South cooperation through its capacity development activities. For example, one of our projects is entitled “Achieving SDGs and ending poverty through Universal Social Protection.” This project – under the UN Peace and Development Fund – leverages South-South cooperation to strengthen social protection systems, for poverty eradication in Pakistan and Cambodia.
Also important is the need to facilitate country participation in global value chains in support of national development. To this end, the Belt and Road Initiative is an important platform for development cooperation that could drive a better recovery, particularly for countries of the South, and for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we recall our core purpose as outlined in the 2030 Agenda – to end poverty and leave no one behind. Let us work together, through a strengthened multilateralism, to build a strong recovery and eradicate poverty in this Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030.
I would like to conclude by congratulating the Chinese Government for its remarkable achievement aimed at eradicating poverty by the end of 2020.
I wish all countries great success in eradicating poverty in the coming decade.
I thank you.