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17 October: UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty


The celebration of this Day is an important opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty and a chance to make their concerns heard worldwide. Participation of the poor themselves has been at the centre of the Day's celebration since its very beginning. This year’s theme is “Working together towards a world without discrimination: building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty”.



Background of the Day

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is celebrated worldwide every year on the 17th October.  It started on the 17 October 1987, when over a hundred thousand people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris, where in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed, to honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. Led by the International Movement ATD Fourth World, they proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected.
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 promoting, concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution. Intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations were invited to assist State governments.

The place of the Day in the global fight against poverty

It is a tool for raising awareness of the broader agenda for the eradication of poverty, captured in the Millennium Development Goals and the UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty.
At the 2000 Millennium Summit, world leaders made the fight against poverty one of the eight Millennium development goals,  committing themselves to cutting in half, by the year 2015, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day. More than one decade later, significant progress has been made- for instance the goal on the number of people living in extreme poverty has been reached, and the UN action is on track to reduce by half the number of people who suffer from hunger compared to 1990.
Despite these significant gains, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon underlined that communities worldwide continue to face challenges related to poverty that in turn affect access to education, job security, gender equality, and maternal and child health. According to a 2013 FAO report 842 million people are affected by hunger. The 2012 MDG Report expressed concern that over 60 million primary school-aged children remain out of school.  Furthermore, although the 2015 target on access to clean water has already been met, over 600 million people still lack access, and over two billion lack access to improved sanitation facilities.
The Second UN Decade (of 2008-2017) focuses in particular on 1/ employment, including youth employment, working poor, 2/social protection, in particular to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in the light of the current global crises, 3/ support for sustainable enterprises, 4/ gender equality, 5/standards and rights at work and 6/social dialogue.