UN Secretary-General hosts ‘Stand Up against Poverty’ event
By Anwulika Okafor
NEW YORK, USA, 17 October 2007 – Hundreds of people gathered on the lawn of UN headquarters in New York today to join Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the International Day of the Eradication of Poverty, and Stand Up against Poverty 2007.
Stand Up against Poverty is a 24-hour period of coordinated global action aimed at giving a voice to the world’s most vulnerable populations, as well as reminding leaders of their commitment to poverty-eradication initiatives and the Millennium Development Goals.
Last year, more than 23 million people in 87 countries took part in over 11,000 Stand Up events.
‘Partnership for development’
“We must redouble our efforts and form a true partnership for development, a partnership of rich and poor countries alike,” said Mr. Ban. “It is why today, we join hands in a collective effort with those living in poverty – one which brings in civil society, the private sector and individuals around the world.”
Attended by ambassadors and youth delegates, today’s UN event was held in partnership with the International Movement ATD Fourth World, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to ending extreme poverty.
There was also an awards ceremony for the winners of the International Children’s Art Competition, whose designs will be featured on UN stamps with the theme, ‘We can end poverty’.
Remember the MDGs
Stand Up against Poverty 2007 called to mind the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of global objectives – including poverty eradication – set forth by 189 UN members states in 2000.
The Millennium Declaration they all signed read, in part: “We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected. We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.”
There has been much progress on these goals, yet the number of people living in extreme poverty has not decreased – even though the first MDG calls for halving the number living in poverty by 2015. With this year marking the halfway point to the MDG deadline, organisers of Stand Up against Poverty believe that now is the time to advocate for a global commitment to poverty reduction.
Before Mr. Ban departed today’s event, he led the crowd in a recitation of the Stand Up against Poverty pledge: “Today and every day, we will stand up and speak out against poverty. We are millions of voices standing in solidarity to say: Keep the promise, end poverty now!”