Marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty today, delegates noted the persistent scourge of extreme global poverty and called for increased aid and development to tackle it as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up the issue.
The representative of Nigeria noted that while the global population living on $1.90 per day has dropped from 1.8 billion in 1990 to 783 million in 2013, it is disheartening that more than half of those living in extreme poverty are in sub‑Saharan Africa. Namibia’s delegate observed that if the trend continues the region will be home to 9 of 10 of those in extreme poverty by 2030. “While these numbers may be mere statistics to some, the situation is real in many cities, towns, villages and settlements,” he said.
With an increasing volatility of prices contributing to food emergencies, Egypt’s representative pointed out the gap between rich and poor nations remains large and income inequality has been increasing in most countries. The delegate of Algeria stated a reduction in official development assistance (ODA) means the number of those in extreme poverty is worse than acknowledged, especially in the face of rising climate change effects and conflict over the past 5 years. Belize’s representative said ODA to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has declined over the past 20 years from 0.72 per cent in 2000 to 0.52 per cent in 2016, with two thirds of members having debt‑to‑gross domestic product (GDP) ratios above the 60 per cent threshold of debt sustainability.
The representative of the Russian Federation expressed concern over a negative recent trend with poverty shifting from the older generation to children and young people. In that vein, Nepal’s delegate noted the danger that poverty remains a fertile ground of frustration breeding anger, conflicts, instability and even terrorism, a point echoed by Iraq’s delegate.
Turning to solutions, the representative of Cambodia stated debt relief is one of the various financial assistance instruments which can increase developing countries’ ability to eradicate poverty and fulfil the global commitment by 2030. Pakistan’s delegate said developed countries are “duty‑bound” to honour ODA commitments and technology transfers, while Malawi’s delegate pointed out the need for increased market access, investment support measures, technology transfer and capacity‑building cannot be overemphasized. The representative of South Africa championed industrialization, while a number of speakers called on developed countries to support African small- and medium‑sized enterprises, especially those owned by women, whose empowerment is key to transitioning out of extreme poverty worldwide.
Reports were presented by Daniela Bas, Director of the Division For Inclusive Social Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, on implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018‑2027) (document A/72/298); Claudia Linke Heep, Industrial Development Officer of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), on industrial development cooperation (document A/73/121); and Kazi Afzalur Rahman, Deputy Special Representative of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Liaison Office to the United Nations, on promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection (documents A/73/274 and A/73/274/Corr.1).
Also speaking today were the representatives of Maldives (for the Alliance of Small Island States), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Morocco (for the African Group), India, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Viet Nam, Singapore, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, China, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Nicaragua, Morocco, Bolivia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Honduras, Zimbabwe, Mali, Ghana, Togo, Tonga, Madagascar, Libya, Brazil, Malaysia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Observers of the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta also gave statements.
Introduction of Reports
DANIELA BAS, Director of the Division For Inclusive Social Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introducing the report on Implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018‑2027) (document A/72/298), pointed to an inter‑agency system‑wide plan for the eradication of poverty. Noting more than 1 billion people have been lifted out of poverty since 1990, she cited achievements in job creation, gender equality, climate change, education and health care. However, major concerns remain given poverty rates are still very high in sub‑Saharan Africa and in developing countries.
Pointing to the importance of initiatives including capacity‑building for statistics, creating decent work for all and enhancing national capacity and innovation, she said the United Nations system is paying attention to how the most vulnerable are affected by and can benefit from rapid technological advancement. The report also emphasizes tax reform, good governance, enhancing investment, and fighting illicit funds and money‑laundering. Stating that developed countries must honour commitments to official development assistance (ODA), she said United Nations aid is necessary, but works best when the countries themselves emplace it.
Given the multidimensionality of poverty, she addressed the need for integrated financial policies and sustained, inclusive economic growth that narrows inequalities, within a context of respect for internationally recognized human rights. “The role of the United Nations is to support nationally owned strategies” she said, focussing on integrated system‑wide action to emerging trends. Targeting the global, regional and national levels, the report aims to provide a workable framework for the eradication of poverty.
CLAUDIA LINKE HEEP, Industrial Development Officer of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), introducing the report on industrial development cooperation (document A/73/121), said the document reviews recent trends in industrial development as well as opportunities and challenges of the new industrial revolution. It notes that rapid industrialization has lifted millions of people out of poverty over the last few decades by providing them with jobs and incomes. Overall employment and manufacturing worldwide have been rising, and poverty worldwide has dropped below 10 per cent. However, while several nations have adopted new industrial policies primarily focused on promoting domestic production, there is still uneven distribution among nations. Least developed countries account for only 1 per cent of industrial production and have experienced higher growth in Asia than sub‑Saharan Africa. The report recommends that effective policy intervention, financial support and targeted investment programmes are required to reduce inequality among nations.
Inclusive industrial development is vital for poverty eradication efforts, as it leads to sustained economic growth and helps reduce poverty, hunger and inequalities, she said. The new industrial revolution is a critical trend for the future, as it should change how economic sectors and even countries integrate within global value chains and can lead to the improved efficiency of production processes. It also has the potential to increase resource efficiency and boost the circular economy, resulting in more sustainable production and consumption patterns. However, serious concerns have been raised regarding employment, as the revolution could increase job inequalities within and between countries. To ensure its social benefits are shared, the United Nations has a special role and responsibility to play. It should continue to work closely on the matter by identifying and prioritizing and assessing technologies, strengthening capacities and increasing access to financing.
KAZI AFZALUR RAHMAN, Deputy Special Representative of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Liaison Office to the United Nations, introduced the report on Promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection (documents A/73/274 and A/73/274/Corr.1), addressing the important role of tourism in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. The report provides snapshots of potential in the tourism sector and the shift to more sustainable consumption, mainstreaming biodiversity and promoting inclusive development. The agency has developed a portfolio of 120 projects benefiting 45 countries, among them encouraging the digitalization of tourism.
Initiatives to further tourism include: the One Planet Network multi‑stakeholder platform for the Sustainable Tourism Programme; the Knowledge Platform for Tourism for Sustainable Development Goals, launched in collaboration with Switzerland, offering an innovative online tool providing the global community with a space to co‑create and drive the Goals through tourism; and the Network of Sustainable Tourism observatories to help destinations with more holistic measurement approaches, now with 22 members on four continents including China and the United States.
Questions and Answers
The representative of Nigeria asked Ms. Bas if her report indicated measures to lift the people of sub‑Saharan Africa and particularly Nigeria out of poverty.
Ms. Bas agreed that there has been uneven progress in the eradication of poverty and directed the representative to the report’s system‑wide programme for policy action addressing that region, noting the commitment of the United Nations system to sub‑Saharan Africa and its female population.
MOHAMED OMAR MOHAMED GAD (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said it is concerned that 783 million people live below the international poverty line and the number of those undernourished has been increasing since 2014, reaching about 815 million people in 2016. The increasing volatility of food prices contributes to food emergencies. In 2017, extreme working poverty remained widespread, with more than 300 million workers in emerging and developing countries having a per capita household income or consumption below $1.90 per day. The Group calls on the international community and the United Nations development system to make poverty eradication the highest priority and urgently take measures to address its root causes.
Underscoring the link between poverty and inequality, he said that the gap between rich and poor nations remains large and income inequality has been increasing in most countries. Addressing inequality should be an integral part of any poverty eradication strategy. The Group agrees that the implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008‑2017) helped achieve progress towards eradicating poverty. It believes the proclamation of a Third Decade will boost the effort in an efficient and coordinated manner.
PERKS LIGOYA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and aligning himself with the Group of 77, said poverty and hunger are multidimensional problems inhibiting progress in social and economic development. Progress in poverty eradication has been hugely uneven, with more than half of the world’s extreme poor living in least developed countries. While there has been some progress in poverty eradication in least developed countries, it has been insufficient. Per capita economic growth in these nations is rising at levels too low to eradicate extreme poverty, which will remain relatively unchanged by 2030. Building productive capacity is key in this regard, but domestic mobilization of resources is limited.
The need for enhanced international support to eradicate poverty in least developed countries cannot be overemphasized, he said. This should take the form of increased market access, investment support measures, technology transfer and capacity-building. The international community also needs to focus more on diversification, value addition and access to energy and frontier technologies, which can increase employment opportunities on a massive scale. The share of manufacturing in least developed countries has only slightly grown in recent years. With almost 13 per cent of the world’s population, these nations account for only 1 per cent of the world’s production.
DARIN SUN (Cambodia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said eradicating poverty is one of the organization’s priorities and over the past decade it has successfully carried out important initiatives. This includes the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration. The ongoing implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and its blueprints are being intensified and the Association’s economic integration is on track towards the creation of an ASEAN single market and one production base. This will help ASEAN promote sustainable employment, improve living standards and eliminate poverty, which will help contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Poverty eradication is connected with rural development and ASEAN has carried out a series of Framework Action Plans on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication since 1999 to narrow the development gap in the region, he said. Poverty eradication is one of the greatest global challenges and he urges developed countries to fulfil their commitment to the internationally agreed ODA targets to developing and least developed countries, respectively. Debt relief is one of the various financial assistance instruments which can increase developing countries’ ability to eradicate poverty and fulfil the global commitment by 2030. International cooperation on financing, innovation and technology transfer are also critical factors to help developing countries.
JANINE ELIZABETH COYE-FELSON (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), considers that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs plan of action could provide a framework for eradication of poverty. However, information should be made available on how the United Nations system has targeted small island developing States in that regard. CARICOM released the San Pedro Declaration, identifying the challenges and special case of the region. These include the classification of those States as middle- and high‑income countries, and blacklisting practices. The classification has cost the region access to concessional development financing, with ODA to the region over the past 20 years declining from 0.72 per cent of global development assistance in 2000 to 0.52 per cent in 2016. Some two thirds of CARICOM members have debt‑to‑gross domestic product (GDP) ratios above the 60 per cent threshold of debt sustainability and have suffered seven disasters between 2000 and 2017 causing damage of between 33 per cent and 226 per cent of the affected country’s GDP. She called for urgent targeted measures for those States to reduce the burden including debt swaps for climate adaption proposed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
FARZANA ZAHIR (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating herself with the Group of 77, stressed her organization’s urgent need for climate change adaptation and mitigation. In 2017 alone, weather–related disasters caused over $320 billion in economic damage and climate change-induced threats. Disasters are becoming more frequent and severe, undermining work towards the 2030 Agenda, and in some cases completely reversing development gains. Adding that climate change and its impacts set back poverty eradication, she urged the full implementation of agreements, agendas and frameworks to help mitigate this.
For small island States to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, they need improved access to means of implementation, including capacity-building, access to finance and technology, she said. Many of these nations still lack even baseline data that can help inform programmes and policies to eradicate poverty. Moreover, the international community should improve its coordination and implementation of commitments around capacity-building.
RUBEN ESCALANTE (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of CELAC, said his region faces challenges of inequality and high global debt, with eradication of poverty and sustainable development requiring global, regional and national efforts. Piecemeal approaches to poverty distort the real regional situation, which instead requires building synergies and promoting an international financial environment conducive to the 2030 Agenda. Stating that per capita income measurements do not always reflect the status and needs of developing countries, he called for transparent measures of progress that extend beyond them. Truly effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda must be people-centred and human rights-based with a cross-cutting gender perspective.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, noted his continent’s ambitious goal to eradicate poverty in one generation. Stating that healthy, empowered and educated people drive their societies, he looked forward to a prosperous and peaceful Africa. Calling on developed countries to honour their ODA commitments, he said development of human capital is the continent’s most precious resource, including investment in higher education, science and innovation, and gender equality. “Africa has long recognized the importance of women,” he said. Noting the rising of their participation in employment, he cited policies to ensure at least 30 per cent of agricultural financing is accessed by women and aspiring to have them hold at least 50 per cent of elected offices and managerial positions. The population of Africa will double by 2050 to 2 billion; with 19 per cent of the current global youth population and three out of every four Africans under age 35, the continent will have to create 10 million more jobs annually.
NARENDRA DAMODAR JADHAV (India), associating himself with the Group of 77, said poverty is borne out of and sustained by multiple, often interlinked causes. Targeted policy interventions to empower the poor, especially the marginalized and vulnerable, and improve their access to education, housing, health care, basic services, employment and facilitating financial inclusion, can go a long way towards lifting people out of poverty. Noting that millions of people in his country have been lifted out of poverty over the last decade, he said that India continues to be among the world’s fastest‑growing large economies, allocating resources to pursue a more inclusive development. Modern technological innovations are being deployed to upgrade policy interventions. For example, the Jan Dhan Yojana, an ambitious financial inclusion scheme, has led to an additional 320 million bank accounts for the poor who are outside the banking net.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said his country has been engaged in a tireless battle against poverty, striving to provide all its citizens with a decent, fulfilling and dignified life. In 2018, poverty, inequality and unemployment remain some of the country’s most pressing challenges. In its quest to eradicate poverty and ascend the development ladder, South Africa has long been a champion of the need for industrialization. It recognizes that industrialization is essential to its development ambitions and understands that the country must reshape its productive capacities to add increased value to resource and commodity extraction, which has long formed a core part of its economy. It has also championed the simultaneous industrialization of Africa, recognizing that South Africa’s future is inextricably linked with that of the continent it calls home.
Mr. AL SALEH (Saudi Arabia), associating himself with the Group of 77, supports efforts in developing countries to curb extreme poverty, as well as addressing disasters. Saudi Arabia is one of the greatest donor countries, he said, providing $1.8 billion annually for sanitation, drinking water and nutrition as well as humanitarian operations and logistics, driving 269 projects with global partners benefitting countries including Yemen, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Noting today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and calling eradication of poverty a human and moral necessity, he noted his Government also provides subsidies and services to least developed countries, with non‑repayable subsidies of $100 billion over the past three decades.
DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation) expressed concern over a negative trend in poverty eradication over the past few years. In the past, the population most vulnerable to poverty has been the older generation, but now it is affecting children and young people. In recent decades, a growing number of children have not received a proper education, although this may be changing with the rise of technology. One of the key areas of the Russian Federation’s foreign policy is international cooperation in this sphere, while internally it is supporting households with children and young people. The level of poverty has decreased in recent years in the Russian Federation, but is still high at 13 per cent. The Government is taking steps to halve poverty by 2024 as well as to improve the employment structure.
ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating herself with the Group of 77, CELAC and Alliance of Small Island Developing States, said today’s deeply unfair and unsustainable international economic order is increasingly having an impact on the marginalization of many countries in the global South. How can poverty be eradicated when military spending, trade protectionism and external debt are growing and when ODA is going down in real terms, she wondered. Despite an unjust and criminal blockade imposed by the United States, Cuba has made remarkable achievements in social development, fulfilling many of the Sustainable Development Goals. “To eradicate poverty, solidarity must be promoted,” she said, asserting that Cuba will keep sharing its major resource — the human capital created by its revolution — with others, together with its best experiences.
MOUAYED SALEH (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the spread of poverty has serious social repercussions, with the poor most likely to fall victim to extremism. The eradication of poverty requires partnerships between Governments, the private sector and the international community. Noting that Iraq has been victimized by wars, blockades and terrorism for four decades, the country has prioritized addressing poverty since 2003, through measures including the legal empowerment of the poor. The country’s Modern Villages Project targets farms and housing but lacks earmarked resources. Iraq is also working on technical and vocational training with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and European Union, aiming to reduce poverty by 25 per cent by 2022, with the long‑term goal of 50 per cent, thereby integrating the poor as social and economic producers. Facing the double bind of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) terrorism and lower oil prices, the country has emplaced 32 programmes to deal with refugees and internally displaced persons.
HA THI THANH HUYEN (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said her country sees poverty eradication as one of its most important priorities, with special attention paid to vulnerable groups such as women, children, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities. Her country has experienced significant successes in poverty reduction and its multidimensional poverty rate fell from 9.9 per cent in 2015 to less than 7 per cent in 2017. In the 2016‑2018 period, nearly $957 million has been mobilized from the State budget for National Target Programmes on Sustainable Poverty Reduction. Yet despite the progress, the rate of poverty in remote and mountainous areas remains high and Viet Nam is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change impact, including tropical cyclones, sea level rise, droughts and floods. It aims to carry out an inclusive growth model to alleviate poverty in a more sustainable manner.
CANDICE NG (Singapore), associating herself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States and ASEAN, said that the global poverty rate is now lower than ever in recorded history. However, despite tremendous progress, poverty rates remain stubbornly high. She stressed the need for a three‑pronged approach to ensure that no one is left behind on the road to sustainable development. Securing progress in education, health care and housing are essential. “Every child should be given the same opportunity to develop their full potential,” she emphasized, noting that education has been made affordable to all Singaporeans. Free education is available to those in primary schools and heavily subsidized education is available to those at the secondary and pre‑university levels. On health care, she noted that Singaporeans have basic compulsory medical insurance coverage and are also required to contribute to a national savings scheme that helps individuals set aside part of their income to pay for their health‑care needs. Singapore has also instituted an initiative to allow residents to finance their housing needs through long‑term savings plans.
OMER DAHAB FADL MOHAMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted that some developing countries have managed to reduce the rate of poverty, but that challenges remain. His country is facing major difficulties, as it is emerging from conflict, hosting 2 million refugees from neighbouring countries and servicing a sizeable foreign debt. Debt payments are undermining development efforts and draining his country’s sources of financing. His Government is paying special attention to implementation of several plans of action to lift people out of poverty. It is working towards guaranteeing employment for young people and financing for university graduates.
MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, reiterated that the number one goal of sustainable development is to eradicate poverty, with 783 million still suffering worldwide. Furthermore, progress is uneven from region to region, with much of the data ending at 2013. Faced with a reduction in ODA, the number of those in extreme poverty is worse than acknowledged, especially in the face of rising climate change effects and conflict over the past 5 years. Domestically, the country reduced extreme poverty from 1.9 per cent in 1988 to 0.8 per cent in 2018. Algeria’s system of social security, based on solidarity and distribution without distinction, reaches 85 per cent of the population, including those who are inactive. His Government is working to improve living conditions and mitigate territorial inequalities through housing projects, access to water and sanitation. Despite a difficult financial situation, Algeria is dedicated to progress, and calls on the international community to mobilize politically and economically, given 40 per cent of Africans still live in extreme poverty.
GHULAM SEDDIQ RASULI (Afghanistan), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries, and Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, stressed that States should accelerate inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development in eradicating poverty. However, least developed countries are experiencing the slowest pace of economic expansion and growth well below sustainable development targets. Contributing to these factors, multiple families slide into poverty due to economic, environmental, health or other shocks. Further, the impacts of armed conflicts, weak domestic infrastructure, lack of social welfare nets and climate change exacerbate poverty among vulnerable populations worldwide. His country has reduced poverty by creating employment and addressing education and health care, food insecurity, poor sanitation and conflict‑related impoverishment.
TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE (Nigeria), associating himself with the African Group and the Group of 77, called for a rolling campaign by the United Nations system and collective action by Member States to meet the goal of eradicating poverty. Noting that there is a global population of 783 million people living on $1.90 per day in 2013 compared to 1.8 billion in 1990, he nonetheless said “it is disheartening that out of the 783 million living in extreme poverty, more than half are in Sub-Saharan Africa”. Nigeria works to target the poor and vulnerable with a national social investment programme including conditional cash transfers, school feeding and efforts to empower women and youth with lifelong skills. His country has a comprehensive industrial revolution policy to drive industrialization, and calls on development partners to support African small- and medium-sized enterprises, especially those owned by women, encourage transfer of technology and strengthen human and institutional capacity.
LOK BAHADUR POUDEL CHHETRI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the idea of “leaving no one behind” refers to the pains and plights of millions of people who are in poverty. Poverty remains a fertile ground of frustrations, able to breed anger, conflicts, instability and even terrorism. A coordinated global action is required to address poverty. The Government of Nepal has focused on poverty reduction over the past few decades and its current development plan aims to reduce poverty to 17 per cent by 2018. Economic indicators achieved over the last few years have inspired the Government to shift Nepal from least developed countries status by 2022. But as a landlocked least developed country, Nepal is concerned about the sustainability of its achievements. The country’s national efforts must be complemented by international support measures.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said poverty remains the ultimate challenge. “We must use the momentum of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty to empower the people,” he said, emphasizing that young people have replaced the elderly as the group most at risk of poverty. Favourable environments must be created for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises to ensure income distribution and decent employment for all. Priority areas for action could also include enhanced agricultural productivity, the promotion of universal health coverage and education, improved social protection systems, and building resilience against shocks, climate change and disasters. He noted that Indonesia is embracing creative industries as an alternative path to equitable and inclusive growth. Almost 15 per cent of the country’s active work force is employed in those industries, and more than 54 per cent of them are women.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his Government has, through inclusive and people-centric development policies, reduced poverty to 21.4 per cent and extreme poverty to 11.3 per cent. Sustained growth contributed largely to that progress, putting Bangladesh in a position to graduate from least developed country status in 2018. Ready-made garments account for almost 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s exports, employing 4.5 million workers, 85 per cent of them women, contributing significantly to poverty reduction and women’s empowerment. An emphasis on information and communications technology (ICT) has brought down the cost of financial transactions, while access to microfinancing has lifted millions out of poverty in rural areas. However, the impacts of climate change pose a big threat to Bangladesh’s poverty eradication efforts, he said, noting that more than 1 per cent of its GDP is now going to address that challenge.
ZHANG ZEPENG (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said eradication of poverty is crucial in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As the world’s largest developing country, China is fighting a tough battle against poverty, setting its eradication target at 2020. The country is continually unveiling pro‑poor policies, including for the organization of targeted development plans for women, children and ethnic minorities. It is also participating in international cooperation for poverty reduction, helping developing countries to improve their livelihoods.
MUHAMMAD IMRAN KHAN (Pakistan), associating himself with the Group of 77, said eradication of poverty is number one among the Sustainable Development Goals because it affects so many other issues. Noting the problem is worsened by an irrational world order with unbalanced development, he quoted Nelson Mandela’s statement that poverty is man‑made and can be overcome by human beings. Pakistan is addressing multidimensional issues underpinning poverty, with a programme to provide 5 million housing units for low‑income groups, a force multiplier creating jobs and other benefits. The country is also implementing strategies aiming for broad‑based access to credit, savings and insurance for the masses. Stating that the developed countries are duty‑bound to honour ODA commitments and technology transfers, he said the United Nations system remains crucial. The eradication of poverty is a global good.
AMENA AL HOSANI (United Arab Emirates), associating herself with the Group of 77, noted her country is one of the world’s major donors, contributing 1.3 per cent of its GDP, twice the rate agreed upon by the international community, with half of its subsidies being non‑refundable. Stating her Government’s funding priorities are improving living conditions, reducing poverty, strengthening stability and establishing international links, she stressed that women play a key role in breaking the cycle of poverty, making empowerment of women and girls a central pillar. The country has launched several measures in that domain, including providing subsidies to boost gender parity and the Initiative of the Princess, in partnership with the private sector, to help women in Afghanistan.
Ms. SARRESTANI (Iran), associating herself with the Group of 77, said progress in eradicating poverty has been uneven across regions and countries, with a considerable number of people still trapped in extreme poverty. Unequal technological progress, unilateral measures and economic sanctions have played a negative role, leaving millions of people behind. Each country must take primary responsibility for development, with the United Nations providing support by encouraging collective action and multilateral approaches. Reviewing the situation in Iran, she said her Government is setting up a single mechanism for coordinated social welfare services that will also promote the participation of non‑governmental institutions and charities in poverty alleviation programmes.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the international community must implement the relevant aspects of the 2030 Agenda in achieving the eradication of poverty. It must adopt a multidimensional strategy, which includes women and girls and access to education to break the cycle of poverty. Stressing that his country is working tirelessly to this end, he said it reduced the rate of general poverty to 24.9 per cent and extreme poverty to 6.9 per cent in 2016. Despite such efforts, the country is hampered by unilateral coercive economic measures, which deny it the ability to implement the 2030 Agenda. The international community must respond by meeting its commitments for predicable financial resources for millions of people if they are to overcome obstacles to development.
Ms. HAMDOUNI (Morocco), associating herself with the Group of 77, noted the rate of extreme poverty has decreased significantly, although sub‑Saharan Africa continues to suffer, exacerbated by the effects of conflict and climate crises. In its increased efforts to eradicate poverty, the country is paying particular attention to young people, along with developing family agriculture and revenue‑producing activities for rural women. Other national initiatives include making the citizen the centre of policy, and establishing a solid and competitive economy as a source of employment and wealth for all. The Morocco Green Plan targets rural areas and small agriculture for improvement. Other initiatives include medical assistance for the disadvantaged, along with access to water and sanitation, and a microfinance programme aiming to offer concessional loans to 3.2 million people by 2020.
LILIANA STEPHANIE OROPEZA ACOSTA (Bolivia) said her country has managed stable economic growth over the past few years, despite crises in the international economic system. However, although its GDP has tripled in the last 12 years, it is still struggling with inequality and overcoming gaps in income. Nothing would have been possible if Bolivia hadn’t recovered control of its natural resources through nationalization and continued to increase public investment in this sector. It has also instigated public policies and programmes that strive to increase access to basic services.
VIRAYOUTH VIENGVISETH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and Group of Least Developed Countries, said his Government has adopted several policies and measures at the national level to tackle poverty. It also has undertaken national policy reform to gather sufficient resources to support the implementation of its national development plan. Yet the small base of its economy means its attempts to use domestic resources has been limited. As a result, the Government has been working closely with the United Nations country team, development partners and other stakeholders to marshal resources from external sources, including ODA and foreign direct investment (FDI). The external support, combined with the country’s domestic resources, have significantly contributed to the country’s development. He reaffirmed his country’s strong commitment to eradicate poverty and pursue sustainable development, with the aim of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
GEBEYEHU GANGA GAYITO (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77, African Group and Group of Least Developed Countries, noted that over 1 billion people have escaped poverty over the past quarter century. However, poverty rates remain high in Africa and least developed countries. “In a world of abundance, this is unacceptable,” he said. Eradication of poverty is the key to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. He cited the ongoing reform of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as important in helping Member States according to their national plans. Ethiopia has reduced its own poverty by half, while per capita income has grown substantially. Implementing programmes to protect the most vulnerable groups, the country is also looking to lead Africa in light manufacturing by 2025.
Mr. GAGRE (Burkina Faso) said his country intends to reduce poverty to below 35 per cent by 2030. In doing so, it plans to strengthen support sectors like energy, reform education, and promote competitive and lasting industry through investment projects. In achieving development and poverty eradication, several policies are being carried out to boost growth in rural areas, including the support of local economies and education in all 13 regions of the country.
FADUA ORTEZ (Honduras), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that efforts must be sped up to combat poverty. With Honduras aiming to ensure zero extreme poverty, she underscored that an income‑based model of grading national status does not allow for earmarking resources for development. The country’s multiple‑pillar approach involves fostering peace, generating opportunities for employment and investment, combating corruption, and empowering families. The national plan had assisted 1.8 million in extreme poverty by 2016, upgrading homes and cooking stoves, and providing microfinancing for half a million households.
KUMBIRAYI TAREMBA (Zimbabwe), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said fewer people are now living in poverty than in 1990, but progress has been slow and countries as well as communities are being left behind, with poverty rates rising among children and young people. Her country has instituted a general poverty bank, setting aside $12 million for its use, as well as a women’s empowerment bank. The most sustainable way to achieve poverty eradication is by empowering individuals to lift themselves out of poverty. Zimbabwe is also pursuing sustainable industrialization by instituting production policies and projects to support it. Adding that her country aims to transform the economy through improved infrastructure as a key enabler to development, she called on the international community to support such efforts through strengthened engagement of the United Nations development system.
ISSA KONFOUROU (Mali), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted that his country has suffered from extreme poverty, climate change and malnutrition since a 2012 crisis. Bolstering the young is especially important for lasting peace and stability. His Government has deployed rapid‑impact programmes in vulnerable areas, including income‑generating activities for youth, and assisting refugees and displaced persons to return to their places of origin. Furthermore, a medium‑term national and sectoral strategic framework prioritizes peace and security, consolidates macroeconomic stability, and promotes sustainable development and access to social services. The Tree of Hope programme of social networks fosters monetary transfers to those in poverty and food insecurity, reaching 60,715 households by 2015 and aiming to cover 91,000 by 2019.
MARTHA A. A. POBEE (Ghana), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said per capita GDP growth alone does not guarantee poverty reduction. Against the backdrop of fast-growing African economies, for example, the continent is still home to the world’s poorest people. Outlining some of her country’s multidimensional and cross-cutting policies to reduce poverty, she cited its social protection scheme — including the National Health Insurance Scheme — as well as free basic and secondary education, school feeding programmes, the promotion of sustainable agriculture and job creation, among other things. Noting that poverty eradication requires strong political will, coherence policy approaches and dedicated resources, she welcomed the United Nations inter-agency system-wide plan of action and its reinvigorated resident coordinator system. The Organization should also increase its engagement on such issues as debt relief, debt restructuring and sound debt management, she said.
Mr. LIBOUEL (Togo), associating himself with the Group of 77, said eliminating poverty in all its forms is the greatest challenge of humankind today. Some 783 million people lived on less than $1.90 per day in 2013 compared to a billion people in 1990. Economic growth in developing countries has helped reduce poverty through improvements in employment, health, education and rural development as well as adaptation to climate change. However, the poverty level remains very high in African and least developed countries. Togo has opted for a change in the development policy of the country, based on inclusive processes for the most vulnerable and poorest people. The plan is based largely on sustainable projects to boost infrastructure, agriculture and investment.
VILIAMI VA’INGA TŌNĒ (Tonga), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said tourism makes up one of the country’s prominent economic sectors. He acknowledged the Secretary‑General’s note focused on the promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, to eradicate poverty and protect the environment. As a large ocean State, Tonga places great value in the conservation of its marine environment. Ecotourism activities, such as whale watching and swimming with the whales, generate local income and revenue and make a vital contribution to the Tongan economy. The increasing number of small- and medium‑size enterprises in Tonga make up an important platform for private sector development and economic growth. His Government recognizes the importance of ensuring these businesses have access to adequate and sustained financial services and resources, including microfinancing mechanisms and solutions, to support their development. That means the contribution of these enterprises to the Tongan economy will continue to thrive, supporting local communities and individuals.
LALAINA JOSIE BRIGITTE RAHARIMBOAHANGY (Madagascar), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said her Government has been focused on the country’s recovery from the past five years after seasonal natural disasters led to reversals in development. With energy transition a major challenge, Madagascar currently has a solar energy supply of 20 megawatts. Hundreds of hectares of agricultural land have been restored and tourism has steadily improved, contributing 13 per cent to the GDP. The country has 46 protected parks and 23 special reserves, with visits increasing by 20 per cent per year.
NEVILLE GERTZE (Namibia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted his country’s efforts to reduce poverty from 28.7 per cent in 2009 to 17 per cent in 2016. However, over half of the extremely poor are in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 413 million living on less than $1.90 per day, more than all other regions combined. If the trend continues, by 2030 the region will be home to 9 out of 10 people living in extreme poverty. “While these numbers may be mere statistics to some, the situation is real in many cities, towns, villages and settlements,” he said. Namibia has launched multiple efforts and initiatives in housing, social grants, a social protection system and job creation, as well as a community-based sustainable tourism programme. However, these efforts are hampered by the upper-middle-income country status assigned to it, a misleading categorization based on misleading per capita data.
Mr. ESHANTA (Libya) said poverty continued to increase across the world, despite efforts to eradicate it. Nations must work together nationally and internationally to create jobs and better living conditions, guaranteeing prosperity and dignity for all. His country currently has a precarious economic situation, which has led to swift and high levels of inflation. Many people are suffering from poverty, with the dinar being devalued and the country still recovering from conflict. There is also a lack of foreign investment and imported products. Among other improvements, the Government has instituted a package of economic reforms with assistance from the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. Stressing the need to fully implement the 2030 Agenda, he said this means stepping up production and exports to bring an end to poverty. It is also essential to increase investment and funding in infrastructure projects in developing countries.
PHILIP FOX-DRUMMOND GOUGH (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the eradication of poverty is an indispensable prerequisite for sustainable development. In that context, the collection and analysis of disaggregated data at all levels enables a more complete understanding of poverty dynamics. He voiced his continued support for United Nations efforts to prioritize strengthening national statistical systems that support plans to implement the 2030 Agenda. He also highlighted the importance of integrating all relevant stakeholders into the decision-making process and the necessary actions to address the multidimensional aspects of poverty. In addition, the human rights approach which values the empowerment of women and girls, decent jobs and access to food and basic services is crucial. In terms of Brazil’s efforts to eradicate poverty, women have played a central role through conditional cash transfer and housing credit programmes, he noted.
MOHD AINI ATAN (Malaysia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said his country’s poverty eradication is a success story. Absolute poverty has been reduced from 49.3 per cent in 1970 to 0.6 per cent in 2014, with low poverty rates recorded across ethnicity, gender and rural‑urban strata. Malaysia’s approach has been based on education and skills development; job creation; supporting entrepreneurship; facilitating participation in investment; and ensuring basic infrastructure and amenities. Still, that success is not an excuse to rest as Malaysia strives to become a high‑income nation by 2020, he said. To meet that goal, the Government is focusing on providing outcome‑based support and productivity‑linked assistance to improve the quality of life for the bottom 40 per cent of households, as well as improving those households’ access to affordable housing, health insurance and Internet services.
Mr. KAMWITA (Democratic Republic of the Congo), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, noted that poverty is a constant struggle for many nations as well as an obstacle to development goals. Eradicating poverty and tackling the effects of climate phenomena have led to improved living conditions in some countries, but poverty and hunger persist in others. Acknowledging that his country has been a victim for several decades of multifaceted instability, which has led to severe poverty, he noted that conditions are now improving. His Government is striving to improve political and social conditions in the country, with the aim of ensuring that political stability will lead to economic recovery. The country now has a more dynamic economy rife with business opportunities and possibilities for public/private partnership in various domains.
BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said that to achieve the 2030 Agenda and leave no one in extreme poverty, poor people must be seen as dignified agents of their own destinies with the affirmation of the international community. The family is the primary agent of sustainable development and a model of communion and solidarity within nations and among international institutions. A shared concern for the family and its members is therefore a sure contribution to poverty reduction, the well‑being of children, equality between genders and reinforcement of intergenerational bonds, as well as the cultivation of peaceful societies. Within the family of nations, each must be the architect of its own development. However, no nation can realize its potential in isolation. At the same time, economic assistance must not undermine the ethical and cultural foundations of societies. Trust can only begin when people and their needs are genuinely placed at the centre of all actions, he stressed.
BERTRAND DE LOOZ KARAGEORGIADES, Sovereign Order of Malta, said this session of the Second Committee is crucial, as it must find new paradigms for development that will lead to concrete action and processes. He emphasized that the Order has been at the service of the poor for more than 900 years and that it will continue to do so. The poor may be poor, but they have their dignity and they must be respected, he said, citing the work carried out on their behalf by, among others, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. He underscored the importance of acting by one’s conscience, quoting the French author and aviator Antoine de Saint‑Exupéry as stating that it is only in the heart that one can see correctly.