One of the greatest tasks of the global community is the eradication of poverty.
Eradication of poverty is the First of the SDG’s.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Eradication of poverty is: Dignity for All in Practice: The Commitments We Make Together for Social Justice, Peace, and the Planet.
The key word of this international day is “Dignity”. Dignity is not an abstract concept. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity. Many who live in poverty are denied their dignity. The ways in which we treat people who are the poorest, robs them of the respect due them. When we stop treating individuals with dignity and respect we are robbing them of the freedom to make informed choices and to participate meaningfully in decision-making processes that affect their lives.
811 million people do not have enough food and 44 million are at risk of sliding into famine (source: WFP), 2 billion people still live without safe drinking water and 3.6 billion without safely managed sanitation (source: WHO and UNICEF). 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty (source: UNDP) with almost half of them children and youth. Inequality of opportunities including access to key services, and gender inequality persist whilst income inequality is sharply on the rise and, each year, the gap between the rich and poor gets even wider. (Concept note on poverty)
Poverty and inequality are not inevitable. The poorest and marginalized in our society are the results of our deliberate decisions or inaction that disempower the poorest and marginalized in our societies and violate their fundamental rights.
Our system is set up, so poverty is sustained. It is sustained by social exclusion, structural discrimination and other ways that disempower people. When we disempower others, we are really denying them the opportunity to escape from extreme poverty.
COVID-19 pandemic exposed the social protection system gaps and failures as well as structural inequalities and diverse forms of discrimination that have deepened and perpetuated poverty.
Climate change also constitutes violence against people living in poverty. Their homes are being washed away by the sea and jobs are lost as well. A homeland creates an identity for all and when that is gone a piece of our identity is lost also. It isn’t that easy for someone in poverty to pick up and move to a new location due to climate change. Systems need to be developed to care for those who are losing their homes and sense of place in the world.
If your time permits, please log onto the link provided to attend the 30th Anniversary of the celebration of the eradication of poverty in our world. You can join the event by registering here.
We can all work for the end of poverty. Volunteer at an organization where you live that serves the poor and homeless. It could be a soup kitchen, a community garden, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army or another social service agency whose mission is to honor and respect the dignity of each human being that comes to their door.