We are approaching the end of the first year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda is a universal vision for peace, prosperity and dignity for all people on a healthy planet. Achieving this objective is inconceivable without fulfilling the mandate of SDG 1 to end poverty in all its forms.
Today, some 1 billion people live in extreme poverty and more than 800 million endure hunger and malnutrition. But poverty is not simply measured by inadequate income. It is manifested in restricted access to health, education and other essential services and, too often, by the denial or abuse of other fundamental human rights.
Poverty is both a cause and consequence of marginalization and social exclusion. To fulfill the promise of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind, we must address the humiliation and exclusion of people living in poverty.
Humiliation and exclusion are powerful drivers of social unrest and, in extreme cases, the violent extremism that is troubling so many parts of our world. But, in most instances, people living in poverty respond to these societal ills with stoic resilience as they work to escape the degrading reality of their daily lives.
The duty of all Governments and societies is to address systemic socio-economic inequalities and facilitate the engagement of all people living in extreme poverty so they can help themselves, their families and their communities to build a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous future for all.
The message of today’s observance is “Moving from Humiliation and Exclusion to Participation: Ending Poverty in All its Forms”. We must break down the walls of poverty and exclusion that plague so many people in every region of the world. We must build inclusive societies that promote participation by all. We must ensure the voices of all those living in poverty are heard.
On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, let us listen to and heed the voices of people living in poverty. Let us commit to respect and defend the human rights of all people and end the humiliation and social exclusion that people living in poverty face every day by promoting their involvement in global efforts to end extreme poverty once and for all.