Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/SG/2692
        13 October 2000
    Secretary-General Stresses Global Responsibility to Work 
    For More Equitable World Economy

    NEW YORK, 13 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the Secretary-General’s message for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is observed on 17 October:

    Almost half the world's population lives on less than two dollars a day, yet even this statistic fails to capture the humiliation, powerlessness and brutal hardship that is the daily lot of the world's poor.

    Poverty on such a scale is unacceptable, not least because globalization has opened up vast avenues of wealth creation.  Globalization can be a strong force in the fight against poverty.  But globalization must mean more than creating bigger markets, and experience confirms that growth alone cannot reduce poverty and income inequality.  Economic policy must be combined with effective social policies aimed at education for all, health for all and gender equality.  This is essential if globalization is to work for all the world's peoples, and if we are to meet the goal of halving, by the year 2015, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty.

    This is an ambitious goal, but it is neither utopian nor impossible.  We have the knowledge and the means with which to achieve it.  What is missing is the will.  In the developed world, that means the will to provide meaningful debt relief, to remove protectionist barriers against exports from the poorest countries, and to spend more than just a negligible fraction of income on development assistance.  In many developing countries, it means the will to fight corruption, to put an end to persistent conflict and to build a platform of good governance.

    In the Declaration they adopted at last month's Millennium Summit, world leaders recognized the need to "spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty".   The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a reminder of the global responsibility that exists to work for a more equitable world economy, where all countries have a fair chance to compete, and where those who have more will do more for those who have less.

    * * * * *