UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for urgent global action to reverse the negative trend in poverty eradication.
“As we mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we face a harsh truth: the world is moving backward,” he said in a video message played at an event to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which falls on Oct. 17. COVID-19 plunged millions of people into poverty, setting back more than four years of hard-won progress.
Inequalities are widening. National and household economies are battered by job losses, skyrocketing food and energy prices, and the gathering shadows of a global recession, he said. At the same time, the climate crisis and raging conflicts are causing immense suffering, with the poorest people bearing the brunt.
Developing countries are being squeezed dry, and denied access to resources and debt relief to invest in recovery and growth. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are being pushed far out of reach, he added.
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a wake-up call to the world, said Guterres. This year’s theme, “Dignity for all in practice,” must be a rallying cry for urgent global action: action to invest in people-centered solutions — from health and decent work, to gender equality, social protection, and transformed food and education systems; action to transform a morally bankrupt global financial system and ensure access to financing and debt relief for all countries; action to support developing countries as they transition from planet-killing fossil fuels to renewable energy and job-creating green economies; action to end conflicts, heal geopolitical divisions and pursue peace; and action to achieve the SDGs.
“On this important day, let us renew our commitment to a better world for all. Let us consign poverty to the pages of history,” said Guterres.
In his opening remarks at the event, Csaba Korosi, president of the UN General Assembly, also called for action — through peace, science and solidarity — to address the impact of the 3 C’s of climate change, Covid-19, and conflicts, which he said are to blame for the interruption of the positive trend on poverty eradication.
“If we want to see our ‘No Poverty’ goal achieved soon, we must end the fighting everywhere, including in Ukraine,” he said. Korosi stressed the role of science in poverty reduction.
“Rooting our decisions in science will produce evidence-based solutions. Let us harness our scientific and technical knowledge to wipe poverty off the face of the earth,” he said.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of solidarity both for social cohesion within countries and for collective security among states. This momentum of solidarity must be kept alive, he said.
“In addition to official development assistance, we must mobilize financial institutions, philanthropy, and the private sector. We must create incentives for funding our mission to leave no one behind.”