Despite a significant reduction in the rate of worldwide extreme poverty, speakers stressed that eradicating it has slowed, especially in rural areas, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met to take up that issue today.
Daniela Bas, Director of the Division of Inclusive Social Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary‑General’s reports titled “Implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018‑2027)” and “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. While the global population living on less than $1.90 per day has dropped by 10 per cent to 25 per cent, she emphasized that the world is not on track to eradicate extreme poverty, with a slowdown in developing and middle‑income countries. She stressed that those left behind are becoming harder to reach.
Malawi’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, cited projections that 6 per cent of the world’s population will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030 if current trends continue. Approximately 35 per cent of his country’s population suffers those conditions. He added that studies suggest employment is no guaranteed escape, as 32 per cent of workers in developing countries remain extremely poor. The representative of Afghanistan noted that 1.3 billion people worldwide remain in poverty, half of them children, and most in rural areas in countries in special situations or facing conflict. His own country faces a high rate of 51.7 per cent poverty.
The representative of Indonesia noted that the current rate of 8 per cent extreme poverty is the lowest in human history, but despite that gain, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed. Zimbabwe’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the African Group, highlighted that the slow and uneven recovery of the global economy has had a negative impact on labour markets, especially in developing countries with restricted access to international financing.
The representative of Bolivia specified that “Globally, poverty has a rural face and a woman’s face.” Bhutan’s delegate stated that the country prioritizes empowerment of women as essential in overcoming poverty and has achieved a 59 per cent female literacy rate, although they still lag behind at the decision‑making level. The observer for the State of Palestine, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, recognized the necessity of women’s economic improvement and inclusion in eradicating poverty, and committed to fostering stronger international cooperation to ensure every woman and girl is empowered to achieve their full potential.
On the positive side, several speakers noted the success of national measures and programmes aimed at combating and reducing pervasive poverty. The representative of India highlighted initiatives that lifted 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016. She cited the Jan Dhan Yojana, the world’s largest financial inclusion scheme adding added 370 million bank accounts for the poor. She also noted the importance of sanitation in eradicating rural poverty, with the Clean India Mission building 100 million toilets in just 5 years. “On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2019, the villages in rural India declared themselves open defecation free” she stated.
The Russian Federation’s delegate noted extreme poverty has been eliminated in his country, but his Government still seeks to halve 2017 poverty levels by 2024 and improve rural economies by 2025. The representative of Cambodia, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said poverty levels have declined from 47 per cent in 1990 to 14 per cent in 2015, going beyond the 23.5 per cent target under the Millennium Development Goals.
However, the Central African Republic delegate noted that despite adopting a recovery and peacebuilding plan, the amount of people suffering food security in the country has actually increased 50 per cent to 1.8 million due to conflict and natural disasters driven by climate change. Cuba’s delegate lamented the amount of money worldwide focused on military spending when it could be used for development.
Reports were also presented by the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN‑Women) and the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Belize (also for the Alliance of Small Island States), Jamaica (also for the Caribbean Community), Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Nigeria, Honduras, China, Nepal, Uruguay, Namibia, Kazakhstan, Cabo Verde, Nicaragua, Togo, Myanmar, Ecuador, Bahrain, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Ethiopia, Gambia, Sudan, Burkina Faso and the United Arab Emirates. Representatives of the International Labour Organization, United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations also spoke, as well as an observer for the Holy See.
The Committee will meet again on Thursday, 17 October, at 10 a.m.
Introduction of Reports
DANIELA BAS, Director of the Division of Inclusive Social Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary‑General’s reports on “Implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2018‑2027)” (document A/74/210) and “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document A/74/257). She noted the global population living on less than $1.90 per day has dropped by 10 per cent to 25 per cent. Despite that remarkable progress, however, the world is not on track to eradicate extreme poverty, with a slowdown in developing and middle‑income countries, due in part to the effects of climate change. She stressed that those left behind, especially in rural areas, are becoming harder to reach.
She cited recommendations including sustained investment in agriculture, expansion of education access and skills upgrading, and expansion of social protection coverage. “We must reach those left furthest behind first,” she said. The second report on eradicating rural poverty underlines that despite progress made, those in rural areas have been shut out, with 45 per cent of them children under age 15. She highlighted that the lack of suitable institutions and resources means economic growth still leaves those people in its wake. Poverty, she stated, is rooted in structural biases requiring dedicated and integrated action. She further recommended coordinated social and rural action and investment to transform those economies. Investment in agriculture is essential, as well as financing to address the digital divide. She also called for expanded social protection and bridging the poverty gap specifically affecting rural women.
ASA REGNER, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN‑Women), introducing the “World Survey on the Role of Women in Development” (document A/74/111), said the analysis of poverty rates by sex and age in the Survey shows that gender gaps in poverty are at their widest among women between the ages of 25 and 34 years. This coincides with the phase in life of family formation and child‑rearing, during which women and their households face increased expenses associated with having children, while also experiencing constraints on the time they have for engaging in paid work. Poor women in particular face significant barriers in accessing income‑generating work, which are heightened by inadequate public services and basic infrastructure. An integrated policy approach is needed to reverse the depletion experienced by women who face the double bind of income and time poverty.
She then introduced the Secretary‑General’s report titled “Women in development” (document A/74/279), observing that notable gender gaps remain in labour markets in both developing and developed countries. Digital innovations, cellular technology and Internet access are changing the employment landscape worldwide and opening new markets for women entrepreneurs, but are also creating new gender gaps. At the same time, gender pay gaps are enduring and appear to be widening in some parts of the world. Disproportionate numbers of women are in informal employment in many countries. Even though mobile platforms have helped to generate and organize work, these platforms may contribute to the informalization of employment. Structural barriers like institutionalized discrimination and occupational segregation continue to perpetuate gender gaps, as do discriminatory laws and gender norms.
MARION BARTHELEMY, Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary‑General’s report on “Human resources development” (document A/74/284), noting it places a special focus on education and its link to the future of work. The digital revolution is influencing the productivity of work and is a key driver of economic development. She noted it is important to ensure equal opportunities for all and to prioritize lifelong learning, as well as the emergence of new business models. Manifold changes are therefore needed in the private sector and Government alike. She emphasized the emerging new technologies create winners and losers and also have a pronounced effect on gender equality.
She stated that education policies should invest in strong foundational skills because learning is cumulative, and therefore a poor foundation hampers all future education. Policies must support prospective workers in identifying the right skills, and Governments should work with the private sector and labour unions to ensure, among other elements, that the new skills are portable, locally, regionally and internationally. She also recommended closing the digital divide by creating ecosystems for innovation, with policies to narrow skill gaps and target those left behind. It is important to establish a system of entitlement drawing on public and private funding, so workers can take paid time off for training.
ABDULLAH ABU SHAWESH, observer for the State of Palestine, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted with concern that despite some progress, the world as a whole is not on track to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, as called for under Sustainable Development Goal 1. With heightened political uncertainty on trade and weaker global growth, per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth in many regions is significantly below the rates needed to eradicate poverty. In this regard, the Group calls on the international community and the United Nations development system to give the highest priority to poverty eradication within the Organization’s development agenda and to urgently take measures to address the root causes and challenges of poverty in all its forms and dimensions. It also calls on the developed countries to commit to fully implement their official development assistance (ODA) commitments and support the effective national efforts of developing countries through predictable financial resources and technical assistance. Regarding women in development, the Group recognizes the necessity of making women’s economic improvement and inclusion an important pillar to eradicate poverty. It is committed to fostering stronger international cooperation to ensure every woman and girl is empowered to achieve their full potential. Human resources development is vital to efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and expand opportunities for people. It is equally important to harness the opportunities of ongoing technological changes in human resources development and address the associated risks, including the loss of jobs displaced by advancing technologies.
TAMANDA CHIBWENA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating herself with the Group of 77, said that baseline projections suggest that 6 per cent of the world’s population will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030, if current trends continue. Extreme poverty is now concentrated in a small number of countries, particularly low‑income developing countries. Around 35 per cent of their population is living in extreme poverty. Tackling these pockets of extreme poverty will be challenging due to their persistence and complexity. Recent studies suggest that even employment does not guarantee a decent living as in low‑income developing countries, about 32 per cent of workers are living in extreme poverty. It is important to ensure full employment and decent work with adequate minimum wages to ensure access to basic services, she said. Social protection systems are also essential to prevent and reduce poverty and provide a safety net for the vulnerable. Uprooting poverty in its entirety will require reorienting the focus to countries where the challenges are complex and pervasive, the low-income developing countries. The need for enhanced support cannot be overemphasized.
SHARON LINDO (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating herself with the Group of 77, said her organization is not a homogeneous group of countries and securing a meaningful future for all its citizens is well within its interest and aspirations. For the Alliance, the challenge of poverty eradication lies much more in securing a future than addressing the present. Regarding climate change, she said the current pace of climate change and the indicated magnitude of its impact requires that the international community triple its level of ambition. There are small island developing States that have already lost islands to the rising seas, others struggle under the weight of prolonged droughts, while the economies of others are threatened by bleached corals and disappearing fisheries. Climate action cannot be separated form development action in these countries as they must divert resources from social spending to address the impact of climate change. These diverted resources place even greater stress on society. “Mr. Chair, are these interrelated and overlapping challenges facing SIDS [small island developing States] an indication of a new wave of poverty?” she asked. “It is a difficult exercise to right your own wrongs, but it is a tremendous exercise to cope with issues that are not of your own making.” The small island developing States continue to work to lift its people out of poverty and safeguard their livelihoods and lives. But these countries cannot move ahead alone. The small island developing States Partnership Framework provides the basis on which the counties can expand partnerships and develop solutions.
SOVANN KE (Cambodia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the bloc has implemented a series of action plans to develop rural areas and end poverty, noting that the current Framework Action Plan for 2016‑2020 has three main objectives, including improving access to resources and services. It is being implemented in the spirit of “ASEAN help ASEAN”, with community empowerment central to it. Among initiatives on rural development and poverty eradication are the promotion of technical and vocational education and training, provision of social protections, gender empowerment projects and promotion of agricultural techniques and entrepreneurship skills. Inclusive education and creation of knowledge‑based societies will help ASEAN’s competitiveness. ASEAN Community Vision 2025 aims to promote regional integration with a view to achieving a single market. ASEAN has collectively become the world’s fifth economy, ranking third in Asia. Poverty levels have declined from 47 per cent in 1990 to 14 per cent in 2015, going beyond the 23.5 per cent target under the Millennium Development Goals. The bloc is eager to achieve a similar success under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
TAPIWA ROY RUPENDE (Zimbabwe), speaking on behalf of the African Group, stressed that the Second Committee should play a critical role in promoting measures to help States eliminate poverty. For African countries, this means instruments to increase financial flows and mobilize domestic as well as foreign resources. He noted that the slow and uneven recovery of the global economy has had a negative impact on labour markets, especially in developing countries with restricted access to international financing. Another major element that has derailed efforts at eradicating poverty in Africa has been the inadequacy of resources and the appropriate means to do so. Adding that education has been proven to help reduce poverty, he said it has a documented effect on health, nutrition, economic development and environmental protection. He called for enhanced partnership with Africa’s Governments to expand access to inclusive and equitable education, universal health coverage, training, skills upgrading and high‑quality public services.
DIEDRE MILLS (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the report on the Implementation of the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty does not provide adequate information on poverty eradication in small island developing States. Any future reporting on implementation of the plan of action should focus on how the United Nations is targeting small island developing States with their poverty eradication efforts. She added that future reports should reflect the findings of recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other global scientific bodies. As a result of persistent climate impacts, social problems have intensified throughout the Caribbean. These problems range from poverty to crime. In the face of these challenges, CARICOM is sparing no effort to assist populations through targeted approaches, including a youth mainstreaming strategy to multisectoral planning.
IVAN KONSTANTINOPOLSKIY (Russian Federation) cited the fourfold decrease in poverty since 1990 but expressed regret at slowing recent progress, a negative trend that threatens achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. He agreed with the Secretary‑General’s reports’ focus on rural poverty, necessitating sustainable agricultural systems and support for small‑scale farmers. Extreme poverty has been eliminated in his country, but his Government still seeks to halve 2017 poverty levels by 2024 and improve rural economies and Internet access by 2025. He noted today’s innovations are a decisive factor in expanding the global economy. Comprehensive measures including employment protection, minimum wage and support for child care, have been launched to benefit women and lift them out of poverty.
ANTONY MULA (Indonesia), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, noted that the current rate of 8 per cent extreme poverty is the lowest in human history. Despite that gain, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed. He noted his Government prioritizes infrastructure investment to reach those left behind and has reached 98.3 per cent electrification. While economic growth is essential in reducing poverty, it is not a cure‑all. His Government has expanded access to national health insurance to 223 million of its citizens and is extending Internet access to the entire country.
OUMIA PABA SALE (Cameroon), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said her country has established social protection measures that consider gender equality and land conservation. The Government has focused on food security and resources to improve resilience and incomes, which has increased production and revenues in farms and rural areas. However, the country suffers from severe security and environmental challenges due to the presence of Boko Haram terrorists in the Chad Basin. Under these tension and conflict‑filled conditions, much of the available resources are focused on security. She called on international partners to aid the country in combating Boko Haram terrorists.
ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating herself with Group of 77 and the small island developing States, lamented the amount of money worldwide focused on military spending when it could be used for development. In addition, the current unjust international economic order is marginalizing a growing number of mostly developing countries, which bear the least responsibility for the current economic crisis. She noted that hunger is once again on the rise and malnourishment is affecting millions of children worldwide. Adding that Cuba is suffering from an illegal and immoral economic blockade, she said the country is nonetheless showing progress on the social front. It has universal health care and education, has eradicated severe child undernourishment and reduced its hunger and nutrition index.
NADIN HAMZA ALOUFI (Saudi Arabia), aligning herself with the Group of 77, said eradication of poverty is a moral and human imperative. Her Government is a leading country in prompt response to countries hit by natural hazards and is among the world’s major donors. She noted that Saudi Arabia has provided over $100 billion to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP). She cited assistance to women as key in alleviating poverty and said her country is enacting programmes to bridge the gender divide including in education and land ownership.
GLADYS TAN (Singapore) said that her country remains steadfast in its commitment to eradicating poverty. Each child in Singapore has access to quality and affordable education, reflecting the national belief that education is a social enabler. Similarly, public housing is kept affordable through extensive subsidies and concessionary loan interest rates. As a result, 87 per cent of Singaporeans in the poorest fifth of the population own their homes. In addition, Singapore provides support for low‑income households in temporarily meeting their basic living expenses, she said. Social spending comprised half of the Government’s total expenditures in 2017. Only by harnessing the resources of all stakeholders, and adopting a whole‑of‑society approach, can States generate the multiplier effects to ensure that the low‑income and the vulnerable do not slide into poverty.
MOHAMMAD NAEEMI (Afghanistan), aligning himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, stated that 1.3 billion people remain in poverty, half of them children, and most are in rural areas in countries in special situations or facing conflict. He noted that his country endured a four‑decade‑imposed war and now faces a high rate of 51.7 per cent poverty and significant food insecurity. Many of Afghanistan’s people still lack access to any social services. He noted progress on poverty is directly linked to the overall well‑being of the Afghanistan economy as well as its political instability.
CATHERINE UDIDA (Nigeria), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said her country has concluded a mapping of its metrics and phenomena of poverty, identifying the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. It has also developed a national social investment programme, through which monthly cash transfers are provided to the most vulnerable. Aware of the importance of education in poverty eradication, the Government has begun a schools feeding programme, which ensures free meals for students of school age. Going beyond these measures to focus on a longer‑term strategy, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme has provided easier access to financial services for traders, market women and women cooperatives in the country, which has in turn improved Nigeria’s economic productivity.
FADUA ORTEZ (Honduras), aligning herself with the Group of 77, noted the reports reveal the world must step up its efforts towards the 2030 Agenda and sustainable development. She cited the importance of having a multidimensional approach rather than a “household income” approach to poverty. She stated the current income classification model does not enhance financing against poverty. Her Government aims to drive job creation and fight corruption and has addressed inequality suffered by households comprising 4 million people. She stressed the importance of more job growth, access to financing and inclusive policies for women.
LILIANA OROPEZA (Bolivia), aligning herself with the Group of 77, expressed regret over the asymmetry of 1 per cent of the world’s population holding an inequitable amount of its wealth. In less than 10 years, her country has tripled GDP and is leading the region and aims to eliminate poverty by 2025. Her Government reduced extreme poverty by 38.5 per cent over the past decade. “Globally, poverty has a rural face and a woman’s face,” she said, requiring a global effort to address the inequality.
JINGNAN GUO (China), aligning herself with the Group of 77, said global efforts to reduce poverty have made some progress over the past few years, although conflicts are still plaguing some countries in this endeavour. The international community should stay united and support multilateralism in supporting development and eradicating poverty. In so doing, developed countries should honour their ODA commitments. China has lifted 815 million out of poverty and by 2020 will have eradicated poverty for all rural people in the country. Underscoring the ecological aspect of poverty eradication, she said development in China does not come at the expense of the environment.
SUVANGA PARAJULI (Nepal), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said extreme poverty over the last few decades has been reduced, but will likely not be eradicated by 2030. Pointing to rural poverty, he said the battle to eradicate it would be won or lost in those areas. The international community must holistically respond in decoupling poverty and population growth and all actions to do so should be coordinated, forward‑looking and meaningful. It should enhance productive capacity and support rural farms, especially in least developed countries, providing also financial and technological support.
SANDEEP KUMAR BAYYAPU (India), aligning herself with the Group of 77, stated poverty eradication continues to be the greatest challenge for humanity, with 1.3 billion worldwide still suffering. She noted significant differences in the scale of absolute poverty in societies around the world, with stark inequalities both among and within nations, caused by structural economic problems, lack of resources and natural hazards. Her Government is driving multiple initiatives and lifted 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016. She cited the Jan Dhan Yojana, the world’s largest financial inclusion scheme, which has added 370 million bank accounts for the poor who were outside the banking net. Additionally, Ayushman Bharat, a cashless and paperless universal health coverage programme, targets 500 million people with coverage of $7,000 per family every year. She also noted the importance of sanitation in eradicating rural poverty, with the Clean India Mission building 100 million toilets in just 5 years. “On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2019, the villages in rural India declared themselves open defecation free” she stated.
KALDEN DORJI (Bhutan), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his own landlocked State has always sought to balance social growth and economic development. Reduction programmes have resulted in only 1.4 per cent of the population living on $1.90 or less in 2017, and Bhutan is poised to graduate from the category of least developed countries in 2023. Eradication of poverty, he stated, enhances achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. He recognized the empowerment of women and girls as essential in overcoming poverty and stated his Government has achieved a 59 per cent female literacy rate. However, there is still a gap of their presence at the decision‑making level. Stressing the importance of education, he noted teachers are Bhutan’s highest‑paid civil servants.
MARIA FERNANDA SIWERA (Uruguay) said her country has identified vulnerable sectors and is developing instruments to support them in its efforts to eradicate poverty. It is focusing particularly on rural areas, providing grants for entrepreneurs with viable projects. She noted that women continue to face serious challenges with respect to autonomy and decision‑making, as they are underrepresented in Government, making up only a quarter of employees in ministries. She stressed the need to respect human rights for women, including their sexual and reproductive rights.
WADE HENCKERT (Namibia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said 83 per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people resided in Africa in 2018. Pointing out that the fight against poverty is worsened by natural hazards which hinder economic and social development, he said Namibia has entered the fourth consecutive year of its worst‑ever drought. Further compounding the issue is severe water stress and rising rates of household food insecurity. Outlining the national drought response plan, he said those challenging conditions have nevertheless also led to declines in exports and agricultural revenue. “While we embrace globalization, it has contributed to rising poverty and inequality, especially in developing countries,” he said, adding that unilateral economic measures are increasingly limiting those States’ exports to global markets. Namibia is in the process of expanding its industrial base and diversifying its exports, but maintains that globalization should benefit all, he said.
KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said the fight against poverty is lagging as gross inequalities prevail around the world, especially in Africa, least developed countries, conflict‑prone and conflict‑affected States, and many middle‑income countries. The issue also impacts developed nations where there is a direct correlation between poverty and unemployment rates. Noting that Kazakhstan has since its independence created an enabling economic environment, he said it reduced poverty elevenfold in recent years. The Government is also committed to building a modern welfare State, addressing social challenges and ensuring that large‑scale reforms benefit millions of citizens — including in rural areas. Spotlighting the key role being played by women entrepreneurs, he said national efforts to combat poverty are not sufficient and must be complemented with international support.
ISABEL MONTEIRO (Cabo Verde), associating herself with the Group of 77, African Group and the Alliance of Small Island States, emphasized that “resilience is the only way forward” but remains impossible as long as poverty is a reality. Calling for concrete measures to address those issues, she said Cabo Verde — a small island developing State with structural barriers and vulnerabilities to extreme weather and economic shocks — has achieved remarkable economic growth and significantly reduced poverty. Its Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development (2017-2021) projects the nation’s transition to a high middle‑income country, with a strong focus on such transformative sectors as renewable energy, transport, connectivity, blue economy and tourism. Noting that the strategy is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda, she said the Government is also committed to achieving the climate change goals laid out in Cabo Verde’s nationally determined contribution — namely, to reach carbon neutrality with 50 per cent renewable energy targets by 2030.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Central American Integration System, said eradicating worldwide poverty is just the starting point in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Empowering women, decent work and food security are necessary to break people out of the poverty cycle. He stressed that the international community must do away with unilateral coercive measures, which prevent people from progressing and are “inhuman and criminal and should be denounced”. He called on developed countries to honour their commitments to ODA and predictable financing.
YANNICK-MICHEL LENANGUY BINZ (Central African Republic), aligning himself with the Group of 77, African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his nation has adopted a recovery and peacebuilding plan as a framework for initiatives through 2021. His Government is aiming to reduce by half those living in poverty in all dimensions, and to overcome gender inequality in all sectors including education and microfinance. He noted that the amount of people suffering from food insecurity in the country has actually increased 50 per cent to 1.8 million due to conflict and natural hazards driven by climate change.
KANYI FOLIVI (Togo), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said insufficient global action is being taken to ensure the world can eradicate poverty by 2030. Efforts to achieve this target have been exacerbated by climate change, unpredictable hazards and natural disasters. Poverty is more evident and striking in rural areas, which often include the most disadvantaged social groups. In eradicating poverty there must be true multilateral cooperation in mustering the resources that will lead to concrete action. His country is focusing on empowering the most disadvantaged, especially in rural areas, and working to ensure the inclusion of women and youth in national development.
SU NANDAR HLAING (Myanmar), associating herself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, called the gap in reaching poverty eradication targets the greatest global challenge, which must be addressed to achieve sustainable development. Her country, for that reason, has put in place comprehensive strategies that she said go further than simply stimulating economic growth. As rural development is a priority, programmes have been established to increase productivity, enhance access to essential services and improve community infrastructure. Stressing the importance of the private sector in ending poverty, she highlighted reforms that aim to develop a market‑based economy with inclusive growth. Affirming her country’s commitment to achieving the full 2030 Agenda, she outlined the national framework for that effort and described initiatives to improve access to and quality of education. There is a need, however, for capacity‑building, technology transfer and other assistance from development partners including the private sector to implement the national human development strategy. Underlining the importance of gender equality in all such efforts, she reaffirmed the country’s commitment to working with all partners to realize the ambition of leaving no one behind.
ANDRÉS DAVID CÓRDOVA (Ecuador), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said it is important to move beyond the “lack of income” definition of poverty to a multidimensional reading. His Government is fighting the structural elements of poverty, including inequality and exclusion. It is the “duty of the State” to guarantee quality health and education services. He noted eradicating poverty involves fighting tax evasion, illicit financial flows and corruption.
ALI MERZA AL MAWLANI (Bahrain) said that women play a substantial role in sustainable development, and noted his Government is proud of the decisive role they have played in the country for the past 100 years. Bahrain continues to prioritize the empowerment of women economically and socially, with females making up 53 per cent of the parliamentary sector in 2019. He added that women make up 33 per cent of the private sector, 64 per cent of doctors and 73 per cent of those working in the field of education.
KOMPITA SENGDALAVONG (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his nation is determined to achieve its national development objectives with particular focus on poverty eradication. The eighth Five‑Year National Socioeconomic Development Plan 2016‑2020 incorporates relevant elements of the 2030 Agenda and aims to eradicate poverty and move Lao People’s Democratic Republic out of the least developed country status. In the 2018 review of the Committee for Development Policy, his State met two out of three eligibility criteria of the least development country graduation for the first time. These two criteria were the gross national income and human assets index thresholds. It has not yet met the economic vulnerability index and needs to meet the criteria for the 2021 review. This accomplishment relies on continuing momentum in the national development plan with emphasis on strengthening the competitiveness of domestic industries. Gross national income per capita increased from $510 to $1,996 between the 2009 and 2018 reviews.
TEDLA GATISO (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77, African Group, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, voiced concern about continued high poverty rates in both Africa and least developed countries. Calling for revitalized global partnerships through effective multilateralism that translates commitments into action, he declared: “No matter how difficult the path looks, what we have achieved over the past years should give us hope and inspire us.” By recognizing poverty as an existential threat and its eradication a vital national interest, the Government has worked to implement agricultural, industrial and environmental policies which resulted in significant per capita growth and improved human development. Among other things, he said, Ethiopia has started implementing successful safety net programmes and is working to become a leading African hub in the light manufacturing sector by 2025.
ISATOU BADJIE (Gambia), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the eradication of poverty is a challenge that no one country can confront on its own. It calls for a multidimensional approach with more proactive policies and strategies and a scaling up of implementation through increased investments. In reaching the 2030 Agenda targets on poverty reduction and eradication, Sub‑Saharan Africa will require special attention. The Gambia’s National Development Plan for 2018‑2021 adopts an integrated approach to addressing poverty in its different dimensions as well as inequality, especially between urban and rural areas. To enhance incomes and nutritional security in rural areas, the Government is adopting strategies to reduce reliance on rainfall and improving infrastructure through the construction of rural roads to link communities to services and markets.
MURTADA SHARIF (Sudan), aligning himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, noted that developing States have undergone unprecedented growth, but despite the progress, poverty will not be eradicated worldwide by 2030. Poverty rates persist in middle‑income countries and in Africa. His Government recently announced an economic programme for the coming decade, its first stage addressing the cost of living and basic populations needs. Despite efforts already made, Sudan remains a low‑income country still experiencing conflict. He noted the presence of 2 million refugees from neighbouring countries is an added burden, and development is further hampered by external debt and sanctions.
BOKOUM MAHAMADOU (Burkina Faso), aligning himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, noted four out of 10 in the country remain below the poverty line. Poverty is concentrated in rural zones, due to lack of resources, high fertility rates and economic dependence. However, the Government is encouraging job creation, and has multiple funds to support women and young people and is launching training programmes for people with disabilities. New universal sickness insurance schemes and resources for excluded segments of the population have also been announced.
MOHAMED AMAZOUROUEI (United Arab Emirates) said his country is known for several achievements at its local level, eliminating pockets of poverty and improving standards of living. It has also made great strides nationally and internationally in eliminating poverty as a partner to many international organizations engaged in this task. In addition, it has set up charitable and development programmes in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018, the United Arab Emirates provided $3.8 billion in development assistance and contributed to education services worldwide.
FREDRIK HANSEN, observer for the Holy See, expressed alarm over the world’s continuing high rates of poverty — especially in least developed countries and Africa. The world is not on track to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and nearly 500 million people could remain in extreme poverty by 2030. “Poverty is not mere exclusion from economic development,” he stressed, describing it instead as a multidimensional phenomenon resulting from a range of interconnected factors. Efforts to eradicate poverty should therefore take into account the integral development of the whole human person. Underlining the importance of expanding job creation and ensuring decent work for all, he called for a people‑centred approach that puts the needs of workers — including domestic workers — at the heart of economic, social and environmental policies. Also crucial are social protection systems, health care and education, which help people become qualified workers and provide them with the spiritual goods necessary to grow and flourish, he said.
EWA STAWORZYNSKA, Technical Officer of the International Labour Organization (ILO), stated that gainful employment remains the most reliable way to escape poverty. However, 730 million people remain in poverty while being employed, with 172 million unemployed. She stated that access to social protection remains a key tool for eradicating poverty, but despite decades of progress, only 29 per cent of people enjoy that protection while 55 per cent have no access to it at all, locking them in a vicious cycle of vulnerability, poverty and exclusion. She noted that informal employment remains significant especially in rural areas, with those workers facing poor conditions. Turning to the gender gap, she stressed that only 48 per cent of women are in the labour force compared to 75 per cent of men and also disproportionately face violence and harassment at work. She cited the landmark Convention on Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work and urged all Member States to ratify it.
CLAUDIA LINKE-HEEP, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), noted that agriculture‑based products account for half of all exports from developing countries, yet only 30 per cent of those exports involve processed goods, compared to 98 per cent in the developed world. Harnessing the productivity and entrepreneurial potential of rural communities can contribute significantly to wealth creation and well‑being in those communities, achieving resilient economic and employment‑creating growth. Her agency promotes growth strategies based on diversification in rural economies, supports development of agro‑value chains and facilitates the transition of informal economic activities into the formal sector. The lack of an enabling business environment and a feeble entrepreneurial culture are also significant impediments in many developing countries. UNIDO applies mainstreaming strategies that help women and youth realize their economic potential and improve their standards of living.
CARLA MUCAVI, Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Liaison Office in New York, also speaking on behalf of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said despite progress in reducing poverty and hunger over recent decades, too many are still left behind. Globally, 736 million people live in extreme poverty, 10 per cent of the population, with 820 million still suffering hunger. She further noted that 80 per cent of the world’s poorest live in rural areas of developing countries. She stressed that the deprivations of poverty extend beyond income, with multidimensional effects on social marginalization and exclusion, malnutrition and poor living conditions. It further deprives people of access to essential health services, basic infrastructure, resources and employment. It is therefore essential to empower rural populations as a first step in eradicating poverty. Increasing or persisting inequalities in resources and human capital drag down economic progress and prevent recovery after economic downturns, while malnutrition threatens the young and their future at every level, from learning and health to lifetime earning power. She stressed the urgency of the international community in strengthening its political engagement and practical action.