On the 20th International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, (IDEP) the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), Mr Ban Ki-moon has called on all to ‘stand up’ and ‘demonstrate the political will required’ to end the scourge of poverty once and for all.
In his statement to mark the event, the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), Mr Ban Ki-moon said, “at the dawn of the Millennium, world leaders made bold pledges to the world’s poor.”
He continued, “they pledged a world where all children complete their elementary education; a world where people have access to safe drinking water, and families are protected from deadly diseases like malaria; a world where nations work together to cut greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Above all, our leaders promised a world where people are no longer condemned to a life of extreme and egregious poverty.”
This year, Mr Ban Ki-moon said, the “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty falls just after the midpoint in the race to reach those commitments — the Millennium Development Goals — by the target date of 2015. The Day provides an important opportunity to take stock of our progress, and to re-energize our efforts.”
The UNSG maintained, “our global scorecard is mixed,” adding that “the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day has fallen, and we remain on track to meet the MDG target of halving extreme poverty.”
“But progress has been uneven, and some regions particularly sub-Saharan Africa are not on track to redeem even a single one of our grand promises,” he said.
Today, Mr Ban Ki-moon said, “the world must refocus its attention, and its resources, on the places and people that are being left behind.”
As we do, he added, “we must bear in mind that none are more committed to ending poverty than the poor themselves.
Often, all they lack is the guidance, the tools, and the opportunities to win this fight.”
Our task, the UNSG said, “is to address these failings. As suggested by the theme for this year’s observance, we have to view people living in poverty as agents of change. This requires us to encourage national ownership of development strategies.”
He heightened that this required citizens to actively participate in policy-making, and Governments to become more accountable to their citizens in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Goals.
Mr Ban Ki-moon emphasized that, “it requires a true partnership for development one in which rich countries do their part in delivering resources and productive employment opportunities through market access, so as to enable the poor to take control of their lives.”
Today, he said, “we join hands with the poor in a collective effort one which brings in civil society, the private sector, and individuals around the world. Tens of millions of people are making their voices heard by standing up against poverty at sports and cultural events, in universities and schools.”
He said they were calling for the actions of citizens to be matched by the actions of governments, in developing and developed countries alike, in support of the Millennium Development Goals.