Helen Clark: Message on the International Day for the Eradication of PovertyOct 17, 2015
A few weeks ago, world leaders adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), setting a bold new development agenda for the next 15 years.
At the heart of this agenda is a commitment “to eradicate poverty everywhere, in all its forms and dimensions, by 2030”. With this goal, humanity’s long-held aspiration to end the scourge of poverty and hunger is within reach. We can be the first generation to succeed in eradicating poverty.
But reaching this goal is not without challenges. Hundreds of millions of people continue to live in extreme poverty, and there are rising inequalities within many countries and enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth, and power between countries.
Gender inequality remains a key challenge, as does the widespread shortage of decent work. Global health threats, more frequent and intense natural disasters, volatile commodity markets, spiraling conflicts, and violent extremism, terrorism, and related crises all impact adversely on the development progress of recent decades.
Eradicating poverty requires economic growth which is inclusive and sustainable. It needs well-designed social protection systems which enable people to sustain basic living standards even when shocks occur. These systems also help children stay in school, enable families to get enough nutritious food, and provide a stable foundation on which people can build a better future.
Eradicating poverty also requires us to stop damaging vital ecosystems, on which life on our planet depends.
Achieving all the aims of Agenda 2030 requires partnerships between governments, businesses, civil society, the UN system, and committed individuals and organisations across all walks of life. We all need to work together to mobilise all available resources, adapt global goals to local contexts, and play our respective roles in building an inclusive and sustainable future, free of poverty and discrimination.
This year, the theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, “Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination”, celebrates the solidarity and the optimistic spirit of this new development agenda.
We must step up to the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and seize the opportunity to build better prospects for people and our planet.