Remarks by James Wakiaga UNDP Resident Representative Asmara, Eritrea 17 October 2022
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2022
October 18, 2022
Your Excellency Minister Arefaine Berhe, Minister of Agriculture,
Excellencies, Ministers of the Government of the State of Eritrea here present
Excellencies, Ambassadors, Heads of Missions and members of the Diplomatic Corps,
The Representative of the FAO and other ccolleagues from the United Nations Family in Eritrea,
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen
I am very pleased to join you this morning to observe the dual commemoration of the World Food Day and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. On behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, and my own behalf as UNDP Resident Representative in Eritrea, I would like to sincerely thank H.E. Arefaine, the Minister of Agriculture and his Team for successfully leading this event today.
Today we are commemorating the international Day for the Eradication of Poverty under the theme “DIGNITY FOR ALL IN PRACTICE: The commitments we make together for social justice, peace, and the planet”. The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is traced back to 17 October 1987. On that day, over a hundred thousand people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948. The objective was to honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. They proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected.Indeed the Agenda 2030 has re-affirmed this right under the SDG 2 on food security for all.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
The umbrella theme of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (2022-2023) emphasizes on human dignity. Yet the events of the last two years have clearly demonstrated that humanity is under threat. The covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis have had a devastating impact on human progress. In fact, the 2021/22 Human development report indicates that some 90% of countries saw their HDI decrease in either 2020 or 2021. More than four times as many countries regressed than fell back during the global financial crisis in 2009.
The current reality shows that, in a world where we produce enough to feed everyone, 811 million people do not have enough food and 44 million are at risk of sliding into famine (source: WFP), 2 billion people still live without safe drinking water and 3.6 billion without safely managed sanitation (source: WHO and UNICEF). 1.3 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty (source: UNDP) with almost half of them children and youth.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted this dynamic, exposing social protection system gaps and failures as well as structural inequalities and diverse forms of discrimination that deepen and perpetuate poverty.
In addition to this, the climate emergency constitutes a new challenge to people living in poverty, as these communities are unduly burdened by more frequent occurrences of natural disasters and environmental degradation, leading to the destruction of their homes, crops and livelihoods.
Doubling down on Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals is our best bet to not only end extreme poverty, but to curb inequality and fast-track progress for the people who have been left furthest behind.
In this regard, I wish to commend the Government’s commitment to addressing food and nutrition security to enhance socio-economic development and social justice, which are key cornerstones of Eritrea’s development priorities agenda.
Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,
In conclusion, I wish to reiterate the commitment of UNDP and UNCT to support development aspirations of the Government and people of Eritrea towards eradication of poverty and building sustainable livelihoods. The UN in Eritrea will continue to enhance its partnership with the GoSe and Development partners, towards transformative development solutions in critical areas of basic social services, , food security, , climate resilience , fair energy transition and prioritizing women and girls as important drivers of development.
On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, let’s reflect on the progress made, and recommit to ensuring no one is left behind.