Message by Kemal Derviş, Administrator of UNDP on the Occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
New York, 17 October 2008 - This year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty comes at a particularly challenging time for the world’s poor. While we are yet to see the full impact of the global financial crisis on developing countries, it’s clear that together with high and volatile food and fuel prices, current global economic conditions threaten the gains that have been made to reduce poverty and advance development for large numbers of people.
The effect of the financial crisis could reduce demand for developing countries' exports, as well as the availability of credit and foreign direct investment to finance projects. Donor countries must recommit to meeting development assistance targets in recognition that in our inter-dependent world in which our destinies are inextricably tied to each other, leaving the poorest and most vulnerable further behind is not acceptable.
For developing countries, it’s vital that governments formulate a strong mix of social and economic policies that stimulate productive public and private investment that sustain inclusive growth. Importantly, governments need to resist the pressure to reduce service delivery which impacts the poor particularly hard, and instead ensure that social safety nets are in place for the most vulnerable. It is of particular importance to ensure that poor farmers and small scale entrepreneurs have the protections and opportunities they need to improve their livelihoods.
In these difficult times, it is, therefore, important that we strengthen the protections and recognize the rights of the poor and vulnerable. The theme of this year’s Day, “Human Rights and Dignity of People Living in Poverty”, is, for that reason, especially pertinent. In this, the 60th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we are reminded that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and that the fight against poverty is not an act of charity, rather a matter of economic and social rights for all people.
UNDP supports the strengthening of countries’ capacity to mainstream human rights in national development programmes and policies, focusing, in particular, on the principles of non-discrimination and equality. In practical terms this means that UNDP supports the design and implementation of national development and poverty reduction strategies that improve opportunities for marginalised and vulnerable groups and supports their participation in the development process.
On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, let us redouble our efforts to give the most vulnerable individuals and groups the chance to escape poverty and destitution, in respect of human rights for all.
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