International Day for the Eradication of Poverty - 17 October

Message by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty

2015 will be a milestone in the global fight for the eradication of poverty.

Since the Millennium Development Goals were set in 2000, the target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half was achieved five years before the 2015 deadline. This is not enough. Poverty remains a tragic reality for far too many women and men across the world. This translates into daily lives of hunger, deprivation and disease, undermining human rights and dignity, throwing a shadow over the development of entire societies.

© Oxfam / E. Mbuyi

In 2015, we have the opportunity to set a new goal to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030. This must stand at the heart of the future agenda for human development, founded on and driven by human rights and dignity, to ensure access to economic well-being for all women and men, while reaffirming and creating the conditions for their full and meaningful participation as citizens.

No one can be left behind, and no one can be excluded. This is why UNESCO is working across the board to foster positive social transformation for poverty eradication. UNESCO promotes quality education and lifelong learning to empower women and men, to improve the health of mothers and children, for the benefit of all society. UNESCO harnesses the power of the sciences to improve farming, healthcare, food security and energy. UNESCO supports communication and freedom of expression, to strengthen the rule of law and good governance. UNESCO safeguards and promotes cultural heritage and diversity as drivers of social inclusion and sources of employment and income, contributing to belonging and social cohesion.

© Tarialan, Mongolia - UN Photo / E. Debebe

Our vision is clear. We cannot eradicate poverty in a single stroke. This requires action at the political, economic, social and cultural levels. This calls for every Government, for every woman and man, to think, decide and act together against extreme poverty. We have made real progress since 2000, but we need to far more still to bring dignity and social justice to all. These are the stakes for 2015.

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