Monday, October 17, 2005

[Global Poverty] UN marks World Poverty Eradication Day with calls for urgent action

17 October 2005

With 800 million people chronically hungry and malnourished and 30,000 children dying each day from causes directly related to poverty, the United Nations today marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with urgent calls to fulfil commitments made at last month’s World Summit.

“Those commitments represent a breakthrough in the fight against poverty - promises that we must all work to ensure are translated into concrete actions, especially for the world’s poorest people,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message, referring to the pledges unanimously endorsing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
, including that of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

“Developed countries agreed to support developing country efforts through increased development assistance, through supporting agreements on debt relief for some of the world’s poorest countries, and through measures to ensure that trade can play its full part in promoting economic growth, employment and development for all,” he stressed.

The theme of this year’s Day is ‘Achieving the MDGs: Empowering the poorest of the poor’ and General Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden in his message outlined a four-fold challenge: implementing the commitments made this year; ensuring that world trade talks in Hong Kong later this year advance the cause of development; maintaining momentum already; and ensuring the full story of poverty is heard.

“We know that there must be a rapid acceleration of efforts if the goals are to be met, particularly in much of sub-Saharan Africa.” He added, referring to the MDGs.

The Day was being marked by ceremonies at UN outposts throughout the world. In New York a commemoration was being held in the garden of UN Headquarters with testimonies on extreme poverty from international and New York City delegates - men and women from France, Haiti, Guatemala, Philippines, Tanzania and the United States who live in extreme poverty.

At the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva a musical performance was being held and families living under conditions of poverty were delivering personal testimonies.