UN Leaders Call to Protect the Most Vulnerable
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On the occasion of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments to maintain funding for anti-poverty measures and social protection, despite the economic crisis, and highlighted current efforts towards a post-2015 development framework to tackle persistent inequalities and new challenges facing people and the planet.

17 October 2012: UN leaders called for concrete action to tackle social, educational, and equity issues as they commemorated International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, held this year under the theme “Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace.” Several highlighted the need for special attention in the UN’s post-2015 development agenda.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments to maintain funding for anti-poverty measures and social protection despite the economic crisis, saying the poor need concrete support. He highlighted current efforts towards a post-2015 development framework that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) while tackling “persistent inequalities and new challenges facing people and the planet.”

Helen Clark, Administrator, UN Development Programme (UNDP), highlighted progress achieved in poverty reduction, access to water and slum improvement, as well as gains towards reducing malaria deaths and improving gender equity in primary school enrollment. She said the post-2015 development agenda will require a high level of ambition in order to eradicate extreme poverty.

Irina Bokova, Director-General, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called for increased efforts to combat new forms of poverty and social exclusion, emphasizing the need to go beyond tackling material poverty to build the capacities of individuals and broaden their available choices through educational, scientific and cultural means.

Magdalena Sepulveda, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, called on States to ensure that the poorest have access to justice, emphasizing that this is key to realizing a wide range of human rights. She highlighted barriers faced by the poor in accessing justice, such as lack of information, illiteracy and language.

Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO), warned that that a prolonged and deep recession would entail social costs especially for the most vulnerable. He called for the post-2015 development agenda to prioritize: sustainable job creation and full employment; recognition of the rights of people living in poverty; social dialogue to build consensus on policies and action for inclusive growth; social protection; and full participation of all actors.

Kanayo Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in a recently published “Viewpoint” piece, highlighted the need to address violence and insecurity in anti-poverty efforts. [UN Press Release] [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [UNDP Statement] [UNESCO Statement] [UN Special Rapporteur Statement] [ILO Statement] [IFAD Story]

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