UN Secretary-General António Guterres says ending extreme poverty is not a matter of charity but a question of justice.
During the commemoration of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday, Guterres said poverty was not inevitable.
“It is not a natural state of being or occurrence. It is most often the outcome of choices that societies have made,” he said. “Today we must choose to build a fair globalisation that creates opportunities for all. Inclusive growth supported by economic and social policies that empower people and provide equal opportunities make the difference. We need policies that create a strong enabling economic environment and that promote access to education, health services, decent work and social protection to everybody. And we need policies that dismantle barriers that contribute to the perpetuation of poverty. This International Day also honours the struggles and activism of people living in poverty. We must do more to listen to them, address the indignities they face and tackle the power structures that prevent their inclusion in society.”
Guterres said the world had come a long way since it first commemorated the day 25 years ago.
He said nearly one billion people had been lifted out of poverty, thanks to political leadership, inclusive economic development and international cooperation. “However, too many are still being left behind.
Ten per cent of the world’s population remain in extreme poverty,” said Guterres.