– As delivered –
Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
30 June 2020
Permit me to start by thanking you all for making time to be at this event, the first in what I hope will be one in a long series of policy dialogues on the important theme of poverty eradication. I also wish to place on record my appreciation of the enthusiastic support that you have all extended to my initiative on poverty eradication.
By joining the newly inaugurated Alliance for Poverty Eradication, several Member States have demonstrated their willingness not only to give practical expression to the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals but also to stand in solidarity with the destitute and poor communities of the world. I take the opportunity to thank the founding members of the Alliance as well as other Member States that are weighing the option of joining.
I must also express the deepest gratitude of my Office to the eminent line-up of speakers at the High-Level Meeting’s opening segment. I refer particularly to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, the Secretary-General of the UN, the President of ECOSOC, the Honourable Ministers from Pakistan and Turkey, and the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. The Panel Discussions’ segment also featured thought-provoking and policy-targeted presentations on different aspects of the Meeting’s theme.
Time will not allow me to provide a detailed summary of each panelist’s conclusions and recommendations. Fortunately, Rapporteurs are on hand capturing the highlights of the framing of the subject by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and presentations by the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, the Director-General of the ILO, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, the Director-General of the FAO, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Head of the World Bank’s New York Office, and an Associate Administrator of the UNDP. This high-level panel in different ways canvassed pragmatic poverty eradication options and strategies, besides indicating the methods to apply to align these strategies with medium-term plans.
My recap of today’s event will not be complete if it omits the contributions by the distinguished Representatives of Member States. Viewed along with other contributions at today’s event, the Member States’ participation at the interactive session has undoubtedly enriched discussions and assured us of a worthwhile outcome.
Taken together, the interventions at various segments of this High-Level Meeting have enhanced our understanding of the challenges in, and opportunities for, poverty eradication. I am therefore confident that by the time that the report of today’s event is circulated, our knowledge of what constitute good practices in poverty eradication would have increased. At the very least, the High-Level Meeting has pinned poverty down as a hydra-headed monster, a monster that can only be attacked and defeated with a multi-pronged and well-coordinated strategy.
I count on the newly inaugurated Alliance for Poverty Eradication to serve as the leading voice on poverty eradication, and to continue raising awareness about the necessity for multilateral cooperation on the matter. It is essential that the Alliance keeps underscoring the need for inclusion and for choices that leave none behind.
It is no longer news that globally, 1 in 12 people live in extreme poverty; that 1 in 9 persons lack access to food; and that 5 in 10 persons are not covered by essential healthcare and social protection insurance. While Governments have the primary responsibility for implementing poverty eradication programmes within the context of the 2030 Agenda, today’s High-Level Meeting has underscored the necessity to forge mutually beneficial partnerships with the private sector, the youth and civil society organizations in general.
As if poverty eradication is not a herculean challenge by itself, the world was confronted with the devastation and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. This malady which added to the challenge of poverty eradication, also opened our eyes to likely disruptions in the future, and hence the need to better prepare for them. The emerging consensus is that the pandemic will impact heavily on the capacities of least developed countries to eradicate poverty without external assistance. It is my hope that the spirit of international cooperation which informed the establishment of the United Nations will also influence the choices of Member States in matters pertaining to poverty eradication, worldwide.
In this respect, I count on the newly inaugurated Alliance for Poverty Eradication to serve as the leading voice on poverty eradication, and to continue raising awareness about the necessity for multilateral cooperation on the matter. It is essential that the Alliance keeps underscoring the need for inclusion and for choices that leave none behind. It should continuously see and project poverty eradication as the first critical step towards promoting international peace and security, enthroning the rule of law and advancing the cause of human rights and good governance.
I thank you, Excellencies, for your patience and attention.