Winning the battle against poverty requires the active participation of civil society

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Non-governmental organizations and representatives from civil society met today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York during the Civil Society Forum focusing on “Eradication of Poverty: Human Dignity Demands It” and to discuss the most appropriate strategies, structures and partnerships that must be implemented to win the fight against poverty.

The Civil Society Forum is taking place the day before the opening of the 49th Session of the Commission of Social Development on the theme of poverty eradication for the 2011-2012 review and policy cycle. Civil society is at the center of the discussion of poverty eradication and its active participation has proven to be decisive when creating innovative and inclusive ideas.

Welcoming the involvement of the civil society during the opening session of the Forum, Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant-Secretary-General for Economic Development,  said: “Civil society organizations have been valuable partners in the fight to eradicate poverty,” adding that “your experiences at the forefront of efforts at the grassroots level have provided us with important lessons.”

Since the Copenhagen Summit of 1995, poverty was recognized as a multi-dimensional issue that goes beyond income generation. In fact, the recent DESA report on “Rethinking Poverty” suggests that conventional approaches are not working as poverty encompasses all aspects of human life including factors such as geography, a vulnerable environment, and the limitations that age, disability or illness impose.

Thus, this year’s forum discussed poverty from a multi-dimensional perspective, and how different factors should be considered when tackling poverty. Furthermore, it also explored the importance of establishing partnerships that are fundamental to creating effective strategies and structures that tackle the underlying systemic causes of poverty.

During the opening remarks H.E. Jorge Valero, Chairperson of the 49th Session of the Commission for Social Development and Permanent Representative of the Mission of Venezuela to the United Nations, said that “the world should build a framework based on all human aspects,” and he added that “there is an intimate relationships among aspects such as poverty eradication, social justice and gender equality.” 

The results of today’s deliberations will translate into a “Civil Society Declaration” that will be shared tomorrow during the opening plenary of the 49th Session of the Commission for Social Development.

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