17TH October: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Poverty has many faces, whether it be starving children in Africa or India or whether it be a struggling single Mother crying as her children look on confused. The examples of poverty range from extreme to almost imperceptible and the UN has declared Fighting Poverty to be one of the cores of their Millennium Development Goals.

There is no denying that poverty is a social struggle and affects communities far and wide with impacts on single people and whole cities. With rising awareness in recent decades there are now more steps than ever being taken towards the eradication of poverty and the assistance and inclusion of those struggling with poverty towards being a part of the solution.

The complexity of poverty is now better understood due to increased cultural awareness and sympathy with true connection and motion towards a solution. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed to promote and acknowledge the effort and struggle of those living in poverty. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty also gives people living in poverty a specific opportunity to make their concerns and thoughts heard, recognizing that they are the first to fight against poverty.

History of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
The very first observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be pinpointed as the 17th of October in 1987. On that Saturday in fall more than a hundred thousand people congregated at the Trocadéro in Paris, France. It was there that the Declaration of Human Rights was signed by the United Nations in 1948, in order to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. The central principles expressed in the declaration were carved in a commemorative stone, which was unveiled at the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights in 1987.

 

Multiple replicas of the stone were made and have been placed around the world to serve as locations for gathering each year to observe the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. One replica of the stone is placed in the garden of the United Nations Headquarters, where every year there is an annual commemoration held by the United Nations Secretariat. Hundreds of people gather each year to renew their resolve to combat poverty and to demonstrate their solidarity with those living and struggling in poverty.

In 1992 a resolution was adopted and the General Assembly declared the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty as an official day on which to promote events “with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution.”

How to celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is specifically set aside for activities which relate to the eradication of poverty. Thus it would seem the best way to observe the day would be to find an organized event in your city or town that is providing a focus on observing the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

If there is no official event organized in your area then consider volunteering at a homeless shelter or other such place which is likely aware of the significance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and is likely engaged in special celebration of the day.

Most importantly, the day is an opportunity to recognize the struggles of those living in poverty and to encourage their efforts and the efforts of anyone working to eradicate poverty.

UNITED NATIONS: Eradication of Poverty

Background; The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to 17 October 1987. On that day, over a hundred thousand people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris , where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948, to honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. They proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected. These convictions are inscribed in a commemorative stone unveiled on this day. Since then, people of all backgrounds, beliefs and social origins have gathered every year on October 17th to renew their commitment and show their solidarity with the poor. Replicas of the commemorative stone have been unveiled around the world and serve as a gathering place to celebrate the Day. One such replica is located in the garden of United Nations Headquarters and is the site of the annual commemoration organized by the United Nations Secretariat in New York .

Through resolution 47/196 adopted on 22 December 1992, the General Assembly declared 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and invited all States to devote the Day to presenting and promoting, as appropriate in the national context, concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution. The resolution further invites intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to assist States, at their request, in organizing national activities for the observance of the Day, and requests the Secretary-General to take, within existing resources, the measures necessary to ensure the success of the Day’s observance by the United Nations.

17 October presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty. Participation of the poor themselves has been at the center of the Day’s celebration since its very beginning. The commemoration of October 17th also reflects the willingness of people living in poverty to use their expertise to contribute to the eradication of poverty.

Building a sustainable future requires us to intensify our efforts towards eradicating extreme poverty and discrimination, and ensuring that everyone can fully exercise their human rights. The full participation of people living in poverty, particularly in the decisions that affect their lives and communities, must be at the centre of policies and strategies to build a sustainable future. In this way, we can guarantee that our planet and our societies can fulfil the needs and aspirations of everyone – not only those of a privileged few – for this and future generations.

Therefore, it is appropriate that the theme — chosen by the United Nations, in consultation with people living in poverty and civil society organizations — recognizes that all people must come together to end poverty and discrimination in order to build a sustainable future in which the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

 

With Agency Report

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