Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, observed on 17 October:
Ending extreme poverty is at the heart of the world’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and build a sustainable future for all. But success in leaving no one behind will remain elusive if we do not target the people who are farthest behind first.
This year’s observance focuses on “acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty”, as we mark the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Children are more than twice as likely to live in extreme poverty than adults. Poverty condemns many children to lifelong disadvantage and perpetuates an intergenerational transfer of deprivation. Today’s children will also live with the devastating consequences of climate change if we fail to raise ambition now.
From conflict zones to cyberspace, from forced labour to sexual exploitation, girls are at particular risk, but they are also a force for change. For every additional year a girl remains in school, her average income over a lifetime increases, her chances of being married early decrease, and there are clear health and education benefits for her children, making it a key factor in breaking the cycle of poverty.
One of the keys to ending child poverty is addressing poverty in the household, from which it often stems. Access to quality social services must be a priority, yet today, almost two thirds of children lack social protection coverage. Family-oriented policies are also indispensable, including flexible working arrangements, parental leave and childcare support.
On this International Day, let us recommit to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1 and a fair globalization that works for all children, their families and communities.