Helen Clark: Message to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 17 October

Oct 17, 2014

 

Each year on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we can recommit to that goal, and, in the words of the UN Secretary-General's message for this day this year, plan for a world where no-one is left behind. 

Since 1990, the baseline date against which Millennium Development Goal progress is measured, hundreds of millions of people have moved out of extreme poverty and attained better access to health care and education. Globally, extreme poverty has reduced by half since 1990; the goal of enrolling all children in primary schools is close to being met; child mortality has been significantly reduced, and 2.3 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water.

The concerted and focused efforts of governments and their partners have contributed to getting these results. Nonetheless, meeting the basic targets of the MDGs remains unfinished business for many countries and people.

This year’s theme, “Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty”, recognizes that social justice and equity are critical to eradicating extreme poverty, and focuses our attention on factors like gender, ethnicity, age, and geography which may be influencing the distribution of progress.

The risk of dying from a pregnancy-related complication, for example, is almost 300 times greater for a woman living in extreme poverty than it is for a woman living in an industrialized country.

Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than fifteen times more likely to die before the age of five than are children in developed regions. 

Women make up about 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries; yet because of legal and other constraints in land inheritance, ownership, and use, fewer than twenty per cent of landholders there are women. 

Out of the world’s 796 million people who are illiterate, over two-thirds are women, and many of them live in rural areas. 

Rural girls are more likely to be out of school than are rural boys, and they are twice as likely to be out of school as urban girls.

The post-2015 development agenda will build on the Millennium Development Goals, and present opportunities for all stakeholders to strengthen global solidarity around the goal of eradicating extreme poverty in all its dimensions.

We can also resolve to work together to safeguard the future of the planet and the right of future generations everywhere to live healthy and fulfilling lives. 

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