Second Committee Discusses Poverty Eradication, Women’s Empowerment
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The UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial) discussed eradication of poverty and other development issues, including women in development and human resources development, also hearing an introduction of the UN Secretary-General's reports on these issues.

unga7013 October 2015: The UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial) discussed eradication of poverty and other development issues, including women in development and human resources development, also hearing an introduction of the UN Secretary-General’s reports on these issues.

Addressing the Second Committee on 13 October 2015, in New York, US, Daniela Bass, Social Policy and Development Division, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said the UN Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Second UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty 2008-2017 (A/70/281) calls for: promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and productivity; investing in agriculture; promoting decent employment, gender equality and women’s empowerment; expanding social coverage; combating social exclusion; and mitigating and helping communities to adapt to climate change.

Introducing the UN Secretary-General’s report on women in development (A/70/256), Purna Sen, UN Women, stressed the importance of macroeconomic policy for gender equality, and noted that the seventh World Survey on the Role of Women in Development (A/69/156) calls for: policies and investments to promote the equal participation of women and girls in all aspects of sustainable development and paying attention to unpaid care work, among other issues.

On the UN Secretary-General’s report on human resources development (A/70/293), Navid Hanif, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, DESA, outlined that a skilled, educated, capable, productive, and flexible work force is key for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In statements from Member States, most welcomed the 2030 Agenda’s recognition of the multi-dimensional nature of poverty, with some noting the strong inter-linkages between eradication of poverty and rural development. Many delegations identified universal access to education and investment in health as key elements for poverty eradication. Some countries, including the US and Nepal, highlighted the connection between poverty and terrorism.

Many delegations called for: effective means of implementation (MOI) for the 2030 Agenda; strengthening climate finance; easing the debt burden of developing countries; providing universal access to social protection and ensuring access to decent work; promoting infrastructure and agricultural development; creating an enabling international environment to end poverty, including through scaling up the global partnership for development, technology transfer, and the reform of the international financial institutions (IFIs); or strengthening rule of law and good governance. Several delegations stressed the importance of domestic resource mobilization (DRM), with a few highlighting that the responsibility for development lies first and foremost with each country.

Maldives said measurements like gross domestic product (GDP) fail to account for important aspects such as environmental degradation, depletion of natural resources, or inequality, and therefore the poverty line is not an efficient measurement of poverty. India expressed hope that the Second UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty will be its last. Calling for a strong push to improve the quality of human resources, Indonesia said carrying growth to the poor is as important as carrying the poor to growth, highlighting the role of education in that regard.

Some countries mentioned initiatives to support poverty eradication such as the Bolsa Familia Programme in Brazil or the poverty reduction strategy of Ukraine. Namibia announced the establishment of its Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Ministry, which recognizes that poverty eradication is cross-cutting and requires coordination. China announced that it will host a high-level forum on poverty alleviation and development on 16 October 2015, with the attendance of China’s President.

Most delegations highlighted the importance of gender equality and of empowerment of women as prerequisites to ending poverty. Participants outlined measures adopted nationally in this regard, such as a national strategy for gender equality and a national council on gender equality in Kyrgyzstan; a dedicated Ministry for Women and Children in Sri Lanka; and the adoption of a gender policy in Burkina Faso. Member States also called for: equal pay, equal opportunities and social protection; improving access to education; ensuring the participation of men as equal partners in the empowerment of women; and ensuring the economic independence of women through measures such as: improved access to financial services; including gender components in budgets at all levels; compiling and analyzing gender disaggregated data; and developing legal and institutional frameworks to support gender equality. [Second Committee Webpage] [Statements] [IISD RS Story on General Debate] [IISD RS Story on Working Methods Discussion] [IISD RS Sources]

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