Derviş: "Working together out of poverty"

18 Oct 2006

UNDP Administrator Kemal Derviş gave the following message on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 17 October 2006.

"The theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2006 signals that eradicating poverty requires a collective commitment to address the diverse dimensions of poverty. The United Nations Development Programme, as the UN’s global development network, is committed to this endeavour. Our programme activities, our partnerships across the world, and our work with governments, civil society and the private sector focus on how to tackle poverty and accelerate economic growth and human development for all – as captured in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

There is real progress towards this objective. Current long-term forecasts suggest that extreme poverty would be almost eliminated by 2015 in Central Asia and Europe, and the Pacific regions. All regions are expected to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty by 50 percent from its 1990 level - with the notable exception of sub-Saharan Africa. In many parts of East Asia, the target has already been achieved.

However, significant challenges remain. Notwithstanding the inroads that are expected, projections suggest that by 2015 about one-third of the world’s population would still be living at or below US$2 per day. And in sub-Saharan Africa, some 38 percent of the population is projected to still be living in extreme poverty by 2015, with the absolute number of people living in poverty anticipated to increase by 30 million. And, because per capita incomes elsewhere are projected to grow faster, the continent will continue to fall farther behind the rest of the world.

Thus, it is important to greatly improve economic growth, especially in Africa. But growth alone will not eradicate poverty. The pattern and sources of growth, as well as the manner in which its benefits are distributed, are vitally important for poverty reduction. Income distribution affects the effectiveness of growth in being able to lift people out of poverty. And broader economic performance considerations, such as the ability to generate productive and remunerative employment, also determine the extent to which economic growth can be pro-poor.

This complex process, involving many actors, is what makes working in partnership so crucial for poverty reduction. Governments in developing and developed countries, working together and with the private sector and civil society, all bear some responsibility not only in promoting economic growth, but in ensuring that growth is pro-poor. As seen at the 2005 World Summit, world leaders recognize the importance of supporting countries in producing MDG-based national development strategies. UNDP is working together with our development partners in all regions to help build the capacity needed at the country level to develop and implement effective development strategies for poverty reduction and achieving the MDGs.

Today we are all reminded of our common humanity and our common commitment, as encapsulated in the MDGs, to continue the fight against poverty and promote equitable global development. "