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Brussels, 16 October 2013
Statement by Commissioner Piebalgs ahead of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
On the eve of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, my thoughts are with the 1.2 billion people still living in extreme poverty. Behind this abstract figure lie the grim realities of individual lives: pregnant women who cannot get life-saving health care, children who cannot go to school, and families who leave for work not knowing if there will be enough food on the dinner table that night.
Overcoming poverty is a key objective of EU development policy and remarkable progress has been achieved. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing extreme poverty by half has already been achieved, ahead of the 2015 deadline. The EU is making an important contribution to this progress - over 46 million people have been assisted through social transfers for food security over the last decade and almost eight million people have received some education and training to allow them to make a living.
Social protection is a key for poverty eradication, protecting vulnerable groups such as children, the unemployed or old people, increasing equity and supporting economic growth. But only 20% of people in the world have access to it. Today, the European Commission is launching SOCIEUX (Social Protection European Union Expertise in Development Cooperation), a facility that will help developing countries better design and manage their social protection systems and will provide partner countries with advice and expertise support, guide them in preparing legislation and policy and other activities, such as training.
For the first time in history, the world today has the resources and technology to eradicate extreme poverty within one generation. Failure is not an option.
We are currently discussing a global agenda after 2015 and the aim should be to deliver a worthy successor to the MDGs, which will guide us towards a decent, and poverty free, life for all by 2030.