Wednesday, 17 October 2012


“One must be poor to know the luxury of giving” - George Eliot

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed on October 17 every year since 1993, when the General Assembly, by resolution 47/196, designated this day as one that promotes awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries. This is a need that has become a development priority.

At the Millennium Summit, world leaders committed themselves to cutting by half by the year 2015 the number of people living in extreme poverty (people whose income is less than one dollar a day).

The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is “Working Together out of Poverty”. The theme highlights the need for a truly global anti-poverty alliance, one in which both developed and developing countries participate actively and collaboratively. It is a challenging theme, especially in these financially unstable times where even traditionally rich, well-developed nations are facing major economic issues and their own populations are experiencing poverty conditions in growing numbers.

However, “poverty” is a relative condition and being poor in a developed nation is still different to being poor in a developing one. Besides, in most Western-type nations varying degrees of government support and state welfare systems provide an avenue for help for people without a job or who are very poor. In developing countries, these support mechanisms are very limited or completely absent and extreme poverty can mean loss of dignity, uncertainty, hunger, homelessness or even loss of life.

This day is an opportunity to acknowledge the struggle and efforts of those people who are living in poverty. It is important to consider ways of giving them the chance to make their concerns heard and recognise that these poor people are the first ones who can fight against poverty. The main objective of marking this day is to make the voice of the poor heard. Its not only Government or social organisations responsibility to ease the burden of poverty, it is also a major responsibility of every person.

With the global financial crisis, the emphasis in the West is on regaining lost wealth, encouraging growth, gaining more money, and recovering pathways to success. It is easy to forget that while we in the West have become relatively less well off, others around the world are becoming even poorer and the number of people struggling to survive in conditions of extreme poverty is increasing. It is often said that the poor are those better able to appreciate the lot of those worse off than them, and often it is they who will also provide help… The message is that whoever we are, if we are able to help someone who is worse off than us, we should make efforts to do so in whatever way we can.

On this day, government and non-government organisations arrange activities or special programs so as to promote the goals of the day. Major initiatives against poverty may be announced, or inaugurated, and debate can occur on how improvements in infrastructure, special assistance programs, educational initiatives can all help in eradicating poverty. Special fund-raising activities for assistance programs and development initiatives can be organised on this day.

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