UN Secretary General’s Statements on The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and World Food Day

 U N I T E D   N A T I O N S                                           N A T I O N S   U N I E S





16 October 2013


Every day, more than 840 million people go hungry in a world of plenty.  This fact alone should be cause for moral outrage and concerted action.

Yet the challenge extends far deeper.  Two billion people suffer from the “hidden hunger” of malnutrition.  Poor nutrition also means some 1.4 billion people are overweight, with about one-third obese and at risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes or other health problems.

The key to better nutrition, and ultimately to ensuring each person’s right to food, lies in better food systems – smarter approaches, policies and investments encompassing the environment, people, institutions and processes by which agricultural products are produced, processed and brought to consumers in a sustainable manner.


I am pleased that many countries around the world have joined our Zero Hunger Challenge and pledged to work together for sustainable food systems.


Together, we can help make sure that everyone has enough nutritious food each and every day.  On this World Food Day, let us aim for achieving zero hunger in our lifetimes for one and all.


U N I T E D   N A T I O N S                        N A T I O N S   U N I E S






17 October 2013


This year’s observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty comes as the international community is pursuing twin objectives:  intensifying efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and formulating the next set of goals to guide our efforts after we reach the MDG target date of 2015.  This post-2015 agenda must have poverty eradication as its highest priority and sustainable development at its core.  After all, the only way to make poverty eradication irreversible is by putting the world on a sustainable development path.


We have much work ahead.  While poverty levels have declined significantly, progress has been uneven.  Our impressive achievement in cutting poverty by half should not blind us to the fact that more than 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty worldwide. Too many, especially women and girls, continue to be denied access to adequate health care and sanitation, quality education and decent housing.  Too many young people lack jobs and the skills that respond to market demands.  Rising inequality in many countries — both rich and poor — is fueling exclusion from economic, social and political spheres, and we know that the impacts of climate change and loss of biodiversity hit the poorest the hardest.  All of this underpins the need for strong and responsive institutions.


We need to do more to listen and act for those whose voices often go unheard – people living in poverty, and in particular among them indigenous people, the elderly and those living with disabilities, the unemployed, migrants and minorities.  We need to support them in their struggle to escape poverty and build better lives for themselves and their families.


If we are to realize the future we want for all, we must hear and heed the calls of the marginalized.  For the last year, the UN has been doing just that by spearheading an unprecedented global conversation on the world people want.  That dialogue must continue – and lead to the active and meaningful inclusion of people living in poverty — as we chart a course to ending poverty everywhere.


Together, we can build a sustainable world of prosperity and peace, justice and equity – a life of dignity for all.




UNDP Administrator Helen Clark’s Anti-Poverty Day message.


World leaders meeting a few weeks ago at the UN Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals underscored their commitment “to free humanity from poverty and hunger as a matter of urgency.”


In their efforts to accelerate progress to meet the MDGs by their 2015 target date and agree to an ambitious new post-2015 global development agenda, they expressed their resolve to ensure the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people remain at the fore.


The theme of this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty “Working together towards a World without discrimination: Building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty,” reminds us that this objective will require that all of us, as individual citizens, community activists, development actors, and decision-makers confront discrimination in all its manifestations.


Discrimination denies people the opportunity to improve their lives, change the prospects of their families, and contribute to their communities and countries. Persistent discrimination and exclusion are an underlying cause of the inequalities which continue to dampen economies, stir unrest, and destabilize societies the world over. Many of the 1 billion people currently living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 per day, face reinforcing cycles of exclusion, discrimination, and poverty which leave them facing multiple indignities with low self-worth and little chance to escape.


Despite significant achievements in meeting global MDG targets, marginalized groups continue to lag behind in meeting almost all MDG goals and targets. Persons with disabilities, for example, experience significantly higher rates of poverty, lower educational achievement, poorer health, and less political and otherparticipation.


Gender-based discrimination also continues to drive poverty in all corners of the world. Women and girls continue to be denied equal opportunities to earn a living, own the land on which they work, pursue an education, or seek and obtain the services they need to be healthy and build better futures. As a result, women continue to die in childbirth at alarming rates and be over-represented among those in extreme poverty, hunger, and illiteracy.


UNDP has consistently supported countries to confront such discrimination. We help governments realize  the human rights commitments they have made, and to formulate policies which approach poverty as both a cause and a consequence of discrimination. We also seek to empower and engage poor people  – not as passive recipients of aid, but as active agents of development. People do know what they want and they do understand the challenges they face.


In facilitating agreement on the next post-2015 global development agenda, the UN is seeking to build on the understanding, knowledge, and engagement of people  who live every day with poverty and exclusion. The UN has asked people from all walks of lifeto share their priorities for the new agenda, and had actively sought the views of  those who would not normally be able to contribute to global policy debates – including: children, young people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, indigenous peoples, labour union members; micro entrepreneurs displaced people, homeless people, farmers, and prison inmates.. Seeking full representation of the views of women has been a top priority at all times.


More than  a million people from more than 190 countries have taken part. By listening and responding to these voices, UN Member States can chart new territory – generating the kind of public ownership which could turn the world’s aspirations, including to eradicate extreme poverty, into action through an agenda which is monitored and championed by the people to whom it matters most.




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