International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2023: Theme, History, and Significance
On October 17th each year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed globally. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this day in 1992, aiming to spotlight poverty and advocate for its complete elimination in all its forms and dimensions.
Theme for 2023
The theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in 2023 is "Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting Dignity in Practice for all" This theme underscores the significance of decent work and social protection in ensuring that every individual can lead a life of dignity.
History of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
The roots of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty trace back to a movement initiated by individuals living in poverty. In 1987, a massive gathering of over 100,000 people occurred at the Trocadéro in Paris, France, to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence, and hunger. This gathering, known as the "March for the Homeless and Landless," was a potent demonstration of the commitment of people in poverty to change their circumstances. It led to the establishment of the International Movement ATD Fourth World, a global movement of people living in poverty and their allies.
The International Movement ATD Fourth World played a pivotal role in advocating for the creation of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. As a result, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 17th as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in 1992.
Significance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty holds significant importance on various fronts. Firstly, it serves as an occasion to raise awareness regarding poverty and its profound impact on people's lives. Secondly, it provides an opportunity to celebrate the progress made in reducing poverty and reaffirm our commitment to eradicating poverty for everyone. Lastly, the day encourages listening to the voices of people living in poverty and learning from their experiences.
Poverty in the World Today
Despite progress, poverty remains a significant challenge globally. According to the World Bank, in 2017, 689 million people lived in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.90 per day. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are the regions where extreme poverty is most concentrated, together accounting for over 80% of the world's extreme poor.
Poverty severely impacts lives by depriving individuals of basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, healthcare, and education. It also increases vulnerability to various shocks like natural disasters and conflicts.
Decent Work and Social Protection: A Means to End Poverty
Decent work and social protection are pivotal in the fight against poverty. Decent work provides individuals with the opportunity to earn a living wage and work in safe and healthy conditions. Social protection creates a safety net for people during challenging times, such as illness, unemployment, or old age.
Moreover, decent work and social protection are vital for promoting human dignity. When individuals have access to decent work and social protection, they can lead fulfilling lives and actively participate in society.
What Can We Do to End Poverty?
Ending poverty requires collective efforts. There are several actions we can take, both individually and collectively, to combat poverty effectively:
Support policies promoting decent work and social protection: Advocate for policies like a minimum wage, paid parental leave, and unemployment insurance that foster decent work and provide social safety nets.
Support anti-poverty organizations: Contribute to organizations working tirelessly to end poverty through donations, volunteering, or spreading awareness about their initiatives.
Challenge our assumptions about poverty: Overcome misconceptions and biases about poverty. Understand that those facing poverty are not lazy or unmotivated but are coping with challenging circumstances. Treat them with empathy, dignity, and respect.
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty serves as a critical platform to raise awareness and renew our commitment to ending poverty for all. We can all contribute to this vital cause by supporting policies that promote decent work and social protection, backing organizations working to end poverty, and challenging our preconceived notions about poverty. Collectively, we can make a lasting impact on eradicating poverty and building a more equitable world.