The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is annually observed on October 17, is dedicated to promoting understanding and dialogue between individuals living in poverty and the broader society.
Poverty constitutes a direct infringement on an individual’s human rights. It not only leads to a life of scarcity, hunger, and hardship but also obstructs the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, which every person should have the opportunity to exercise without hindrance. The endeavor to eliminate poverty extends beyond merely assisting the less fortunate; it is about providing every man and woman with the chance to live a life marked by dignity.
As of the conclusion of 2022, the United Nations reports that 8.4% of the global population, amounting to approximately 670 million people, were grappling with extreme poverty. An estimated 7% of the world’s population, roughly 575 million individuals, could still find themselves ensnared in extreme poverty by 2030.
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is commemorated on October 17 each year.
The theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in 2023 is “Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting dignity into practice for all.” This theme advocates for universal access to fair employment and social safety nets as a means to uphold the dignity of all individuals. It underscores that decent work should empower individuals, provide fair wages, ensure safe working conditions, and fundamentally acknowledge the inherent value and humanity of all workers.
The origins of this observance can be traced back to October 17, 1987. On that day, more than one hundred thousand individuals gathered at the Trocadero in Paris, the location where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948. They assembled to pay tribute to the victims of extreme poverty, violence, and hunger.
This assembly declared that poverty represents a violation of human rights and affirmed the imperative of coming together to ensure the protection of these rights. Since then, people from diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and social origins have convened every year on October 17 to reaffirm their commitment and demonstrate their solidarity with those living in poverty.
The United Nations General Assembly officially designated October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty through resolution 47/196, adopted on December 22, 1992.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivers a message for this day. He underscores that in a world of plenty, there should be no room for poverty. Yet, nearly 700 million people struggle to subsist on less than $2.15 per day, and over a billion lack essential necessities like food, water, healthcare, and education. The Secretary-General emphasizes the need to reform the global financial system, address conflicts, and confront the climate crisis to alleviate poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. He calls for a renewed commitment to create a world free of poverty.
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty bears great significance as a global reminder of the ongoing battle against poverty in all its dimensions. It provides an opportunity to stand in solidarity with those experiencing poverty, genuinely listen to their daily challenges, and reaffirm the commitment to creating an equitable economy that prioritizes the well-being of individuals and the environment over financial gains. The ultimate goal is the complete eradication of poverty by creating conditions that enable everyone to live with dignity.