Commemoration of International Day for Poverty Eradication, at United Nations Headquarters on 17 October, Will Focus on Inclusive Development

14 October 2011

Commemoration of International Day for Poverty Eradication, at United Nations Headquarters on 17 October, Will Focus on Inclusive Development

14 October 2011
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Commemoration of International Day for Poverty Eradication, at United Nations

Headquarters on 17 October, Will Focus on Inclusive Development


On 17 October, Member States, representatives of civil society and the United Nations will gather at the world body’s New York Headquarters to mark the 2011 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on the theme:  “From Poverty to Sustainability:  People at the Centre of Inclusive Development”.

Participants are expected to focus primarily on ways to break the cycle of poverty while protecting the environment.  Such discussions are crucial because it has become clear that a sustainable future is not reachable when more than 2.6 billion people — 40 per cent of the world’s population — live in poverty and face threats to their livelihoods and survival from recurrent natural disasters and economic shocks.

A 2011 United Nations study on “The Global Social Crisis” warns that between 47 million and 84 million more people fell into, or were trapped in, extreme poverty because of the global financial and economic crisis.  Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia were among the most affected regions, but poverty grew in industrialized countries, as well.  In light of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) next year, commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be an occasion to recognize that people living in poverty are critical partners for achieving a sustainable future for all.

Though the latest Millennium Development Goals report notes that the world is still on track to reach the poverty-reduction target, progress has been uneven.  For instance, in developing regions, urban residents living in slum conditions are now estimated at 828 million, compared to 657 million in 1990 and 767 million in 2000.  Also, in 2009, among children of primary school age not enrolled in school, 42 per cent — 28 million — live in poor countries affected by conflict; and more than 2.6 billion people still lack access to toilets or other forms of improved sanitation.

“For decades, the United Nations has worked to free people from poverty.  We have made great progress — but today those gains are in doubt,” says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the Day.  “We can meet the challenges we face — the economic crisis, climate change, rising costs of food and energy, the effects of natural disasters.  We can overcome them by putting people at the centre of our work.  Too often in the debates that will shape our future, I see three groups missing.  The poor, the young and the planet,” he adds.

The annual day-long commemoration of will have two parts.  The opening ceremony, in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, will take place from 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will feature messages from the President of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The ceremony will also feature peoples’ testimonies on the environment and sustainable development, and about the experience of living in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  The second part of the commemoration — an interactive panel from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. titled, “Sustainable development must include every person” — will take place at the Salvation Army, 221 East 52nd Street.

Proclaiming the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in 1992 via resolution 47/196 (1992), the General Assembly welcomed the fact that, on the initiative of the International Movement ATD Fourth World, certain non-governmental organizations in many States had observed 17 October as the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty.  The observance aims to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in the developing world.

The commemoration is organized jointly by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the International Movement ATD Fourth World and the Non-Governmental Organization Sub-committee for the Eradication of Poverty, with the support of the Permanent Missions of France and Burkina Faso to the United Nations.

For more information, please visit, and; or contact Vikram Sura, Department of Public Information, at tel.:  +1 212 963 8274, e-mail:

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.