Poverty Day messages

01 Nov 2006

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The messages of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and UN Administrator Kemal Derviş on 17 October ‘International Day for the Eradication of Poverty’ 

New Horizons - Annan: “Global partnership for development remains more phrase than fact”

On 17 October ‘International Day for the Eradication of Poverty’ UN Secretary General Kofi Annan gave the following message.

“The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – “Working together out of poverty”—highlights the need for a truly global anti-poverty alliance, one in which both developed and developing countries participate actively.

The world has made real but insufficient progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Thus, while extreme poverty declined significantly between 1990 and 2002—from 28% to 19% of the developing world’s population—progress has been uneven both within and between regions and countries.

In much of Asia, economic and social progress has lifted nearly a quarter of a billion people out of perpetual poverty. But poverty rates in Western Asia and Northern Africa have remained stagnant, while the transition economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia have registered increases. And sub-Saharan Africa lags the most, with the region unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

Clearly, more needs to be done to tackle poverty and underdevelopment. The Doha trade negotiations need to produce freer and fairer trade for all. Developed nations need to come through on their Official Development Assistance (ODA) and debt relief commitments. Developing nations, for their part, should prioritize the Millennium Development Goals and, if they have not yet done so, adopt national strategies to achieve them. They should utilize ODA flows to bolster national capacities in a sustainable manner, emphasizing better governance and strengthened rule of law. And countries already on track to achieve the Goals can aim higher still by adopting even more ambitious targets.

Regrettably, the “global partnership for development” remains more phrase than fact. This has to change. All key development actors – governments, the private sector, civil society and people living in poverty – must undertake a truly collective anti-poverty effort that will lift living standards and alleviating human suffering.

The campaign to make poverty history—a central moral challenge of our age—cannot remain a task for the few, it must become a calling for the many. On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I urge everyone to join this struggle. Together, we can make real and sufficient progress towards the end of poverty.”

Derviş: “Working together out of poverty”

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. "