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UN Chief Urges World Leaders to Tackle Poverty

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says world leaders should not lose sight of their most fundamental obligation; to eliminate poverty in all its forms.

Speaking during Friday’s observances to mark International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Mr. Ban said no-one should be left behind in efforts to eradicate hunger in the world.

“We recommit to think, decide and act together against extreme poverty – and plan for a world where no one is left behind,” the UN chief said.

Mr. Ban noted that inequality keeps increasing with entrenched poverty and prejudice continuing to undermine the fabric of societies.

“We must end the marginalization of people living in poverty,” he said. “Their knowledge and perspectives are vital if we are to find meaningful, durable solutions.”

“Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty” was this year’s theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2014.

The theme calls for the recognition of the need for the participation of people living in poverty in the post-2015 development agenda.

The post-2015 development agenda will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is expected to tackle many issues, including ending poverty and hunger and improving health and education.

World leaders are expected to adopt this agenda in September 2015.

Friday’s observances at the United Nations Headquarters and around the world to mark the day sent a strong message that those living in poverty must be key partners in the future global development process.

Observances focused on the participation of those living in poverty in the development agenda.

More than 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty despite the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of reducing poverty rates by half being achieved ahead of time.

People living in extreme poverty, experts said, may experience discrimination, lack access to quality education and be the first to feel the effects of climate change.

In order to leave no one behind, development goals must be achieved for the most vulnerable communities and social groups, they agreed.

This year’s observance calls for an economy that protects the environment; fosters the creation of full employment and decent work opportunities for all; and ensures high quality education and healthcare with improved results for all, including people living in extreme poverty.


Official commemorations at the United Nations Headquarters featured testimonies of people living in poverty. There were also video presentations on how poverty is being tackled the world over.

The event was organized in partnership with the International Movement ATD Fourth World, the NGO Sub-committee for the Eradication of Poverty and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, supported by the Missions of France and Burkina Faso to the UN.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty looks at international efforts to eradicate hunger and struggles of people living in poverty, giving them a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and recognizes that people living in poverty are the first ones to fight against poverty.