International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed on October 17 each year since 1993. It promotes people’s awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution worldwide, particularly in developing countries.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is celebrated every year on October 17 throughout the world. It was officially recognised by the United Nations,[1] but the first commemoration of the event took place in Paris, France, in 1987 when 100,000 people gathered on the Human Rights and Liberties Plaza at the Trocadéro to honour victims of poverty, hunger, violence and fear. This call was made by Joseph Wresinski (1917–1988) founder of the International MovementATD Fourth World.

Various non-government organizations and community charities support the Day for the Eradication of Poverty by actively calling for country leaders and governments to make the fight against poverty a central part of foreign policy. Other activities may include signing “Call to action” petitions, organizing concerts and cultural events, and holding interfaith gatherings that may include a moment of silence.

The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to October 17, 1987. On that date, more than 100,000 people gathered in Paris, France, to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. Since that moment, individuals and organizations worldwide observed October 17 as a day to renew their commitment in collaborating towards eradicating poverty. In December, 1992, the UN General Assembly officially declared October 17 as the date for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (resolution 47/196 of December 22, 1992).

In December 1995, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997–2006), following the Copenhagen Social Summit. At the Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders committed themselves to cutting by half the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015.

This year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty holds particular significance because it will be the first observance following the formal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Within this new development framework, designed to replace and carry forward the aims of the Millennium Development Goals, all countries committed to “ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions.”

One of the main aims of the day is to make the voice of the poor heard. To this end, commemorations often include testimonies from people living in poverty, describing their own experiences or those of people they know.

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