International Day for the Eradication of Poverty - 17 October

World Social Science Report 2016

Message by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

“Uniting all for peace, sustainability and dignity: breaking the vicious circle of poverty”

Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030 is an ambitious but achievable goal -- the key to success rests on political determination, driven by solid knowledge about the causes, mechanisms and consequences of poverty. The possibility of achieving fast and sustained poverty eradication depends on our ability to work collaboratively.

As measured by the 2016 Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index, 1.6 billion persons are identified today as poor. That staggering figure reveals levels of human deprivation far beyond what arbitrary income lines can capture. Poverty is about money, but never just about money, as underlined by UNESCO’s 2016 World Social Science Report. Better understanding of the relationships between income and other dimensions of poverty can help to empower people living in poverty as agents of change.

Delivering the poverty eradication goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development demands renewed policy approaches and more comprehensive and sophisticated knowledge. Beyond traditional mechanisms of poverty reduction, poverty can be only solved by tackling inequalities. So long as injustice and exploitation are embedded in economic, social and cultural systems, poverty will continue to devastate the lives of millions of women and men.

Breaking the vicious circle of poverty by 2030 is part of a larger cultural transformation based on solidarity, collaboration and peace to which UNESCO is deeply committed. Through powerful tools for social transformation -- education, culture, science, communication and information -- UNESCO contributes to embedding social justice within societies. Justice is a right, and justice and good governance are foundations for more lasting and sustainable peace.

Ending poverty is not just helping the poor – it is giving every woman and man the chance to live with dignity. By eradicating poverty, all humanity will be transformed. This is UNESCO’s message today.

© Ignacio Marin

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