The UN is seeking broader engagement from all sectors of society to lift 767 million people still living in extreme poverty above the international poverty line of $1.90 a day as it marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October this year.

This year will mark the 25th year that the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be observed at UN Headquarters in New York and at locations around the world. This year’s observance will be organized by the UN and International Movement ATD Fourth World Human rights activists and defenders.

Poverty has declined globally,  from 1.7 billion people in 1999 to 767 million in 2013, a drop in the global poverty rate from 28 percent in 1999 to 11 per cent in 2013. The most significant progress was seen in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, where the rate declined from 35 per cent in 1999 to 3 per cent in 2013. In contrast, 42 per cent of people in sub-Saharan Africa continued to live in conditions of extreme poverty in 2013.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted unanimously by world leaders in 2015, recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for the achievement of inclusive and peaceful societies.

However, inequality remains high. According to the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017, countries with higher income inequality suffer from higher levels of violence.  The report found that countries with high levels of income inequality had, on average, a homicide rate that was nine times greater than countries where income was more evenly distributed in 2015.

“With the right tools and partnerships, we can make sure that no child is born into poverty and that everyone has a chance to thrive in a more equitable, prosperous and sustainable world,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the recent Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum in China.

Countries have taken action to end poverty since the Agenda was adopted.  The Government of Tanzania, for example, started a massive overhaul of its current national programme, the Tanzania Productive Social Safety Nets, to reach people living below the food poverty line. The Norwegian government is focusing on quality education and employment, especially for young people and those at risk of marginalization while Sweden has developed a welfare model with the ambition and ability to guarantee all inhabitants access to health care, school and education, housing and employment.  India is generating meaningful employment by developing agricultural infrastructure, productive assets and entrepreneurship-based livelihood opportunities.

There is a clear recognition of the importance of working together to address the myriad challenges we face in our quest to achieve sustainable development for all and eradicate poverty,” said Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, in remarks at the  opening of the Third Committee of the72nd General Assembly.

The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty focuses on the “path toward peaceful and inclusive societies,” stressing the engagement of all segments of society to take action to ensure that the concerns and priorities of those living in poverty are heard and included in decision-making processes.

Commemoration of the Day

To commemorate the Day, an event hosted by the Permanent Missions of Burkina Faso and France to the UN will take place at UN Headquarters in New York.  The event will focus on sharing the testimonies of people living in poverty and at 2.30 pm will be followed by a moment of reflection and solidarity around the Commemorative Stone in Honor of Victims of Extreme Poverty, located on the North Lawn of the UN Gardens.


  • António Guterres, UN Secretary-General (video message)
  • Liu Zhenmin UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (TBC)
  • Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
  • HE Ambassador Francois Delattre, Permanent Mission of Burkina Faso to the United Nations
  • HE Ambassador Yemdaogo Eric Tiare, Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
  • Donald Lee. President, International Committee for October 17
  • Isabelle Pypaert-Perrin, Director General, International Movement ATD Fourth World
  • Human rights activists and defenders

When: Tuesday 17 October 2017 at 1.15 pm to 2.15 pm EDT

Where:  Conference Room 2, UN Headquarters, New York or live through

About the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Through resolution 47/196 adopted on 22 December 1992, the General Assembly declared 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and invited all States to devote the Day to presenting and promoting, as appropriate in the national context, concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution.

The Day presents an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that people living in poverty are the first ones to fight against poverty. Participation of those living in poverty has been at the centre of the Day’s observance since its inception and also reflects the willingness of people living in poverty to use their expertise to contribute to its eradication.

More information may be found here

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