Date of Meeting: 18 Oct 2016

Meeting Organizer: NGO Committee for Social Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Permanent Missions of France and Burkina Faso to the UN

ISJC Staff Present: Joseph Halliday

Reporter: Joseph Halliday

Which SDG does this topic cover? 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 17

Type of meeting: Summit/conference

Brief summary of presentation of information made


Maria Sandvik (ATD 4th World director) and Mariyamou Drammeh act as masters of ceremony. They make reference to the commemorative stone in the Trocadero Human Rights Plaza in Paris, with the following quotation from Father Joseph Wresinski: ‘Wherever men and women are condemned to live in poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.’ Aim of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is to commemorate those who have died through and live in poverty, and to work towards change. Reference made to Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 16.

Statement from Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, given on screen - Available at weblink given below.

Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General

SDGs are vision of peace, prosperity and dignity – goal one (no poverty) is crucial and it unlocks the rest of the goals. Poverty maifests itself in many ways: lack of access to health, sanitation and so on. Poverty both the cause and effect of economic exclusion. Exclusion and humiliation are key drivers of social unrest and radicalization. The causes must therefore be examined. But, he points out, most people in poverty are stoic about their situation as they work daily to alleviate it. ‘We should provide the tools’ to help them. Must include them in economic participation, and make sure they are listened to. Speaker urges that we all have a part to play.

Nicola Maucher and Johnny Ocean, parent advocates and human rights activists (NY)

Expressed feelings of frustration over lack of funds and having higher priorities when limited funds are available, leading to missed activities and opportunities for their family. Own child experienced different attitudes due to living in shelter: a lack of help and support, and lower educational attainment (falling behind in school). These problems lead to a downward spiral – poor or no jobs, a lack of money, homelessness, incarceration. Speakers state that the problems of poverty lead to the next generation of poverty.

Kimberley Tyre, parent advocate from Child Welfare Organising Project (NY)

Shared experiences of living in poverty, particularly with young children who were taken into foster care for six months at one point due to financial situation. ‘I was always ridiculed by those who had not experienced poverty so did not understand.’ Poverty causes emotional, financial and physical distress. Speaker calls for greater awareness and unity. ‘If you are poor you need to get to the table or people will not know you exist.’

Video message from ATD Fourth World activists and Partners in Republic of Mauritius

Showing real life effects of poverty in developing countries: daily struggle to afford basic education, food and medicine. Many unable to read, and this was humiliating. In Mauritius, one speaker stated that some NGOs sought to impose their ideas of solutions, but those living in poverty needed accompanying through their problems, they needed to be worked alongside.

French poem, on experiences of being homeless in the developed world, from Patrick Lubin

Marlon Wallen, Community and HIV/AIDs activist

Speaker from Trinidad, arrived in NYC aged 16. Diagnosed with HIV after 2 years. Realised he could not return home because of a healthcare system that was falling behind. Migration thus caused by inequalities – in healthcare, in the exploitation of natural resources, the workforce and so on. Speaker’s situation is example of the manifestation of poverty. Speaker’s message: making a difference requires all to speak out. As the 1990s HIV/AIDs slogan goes: ‘death equals silence.’

Yemdaogo Eric Tiare, Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso to the UN

Despite foreign aid, only some countries have achieved a decline in poverty. Millennium Development Goals helped but still much to do. Sub-Saharan African counties especially – 50 per cent of all people in extreme poverty around the world can be found in this one area. All groups – NGOs, states, supra-/super-state organisations ‘must redouble their efforts.’ Poverty is the major challenge of our time and is synonymous with most development programmes. Particular focus should be given to partnerships between groups. Working together can give lasting prosperity and end poverty.

Francois Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the UN

Expression of thanks to speakers and organisers. International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is key both as a reminder of aspirations in this area and to share the experiences of those living in poverty. Speaker cites mixed results of MDGs – over 800m still live in extreme poverty, though 1bn in the last 34 years have escaped it. French government works hard to try to tackle the issue. Speaker thanks UN deputy secretary-general for the UN’s efforts, and points out that poverty exists even in developed states like France due to inequality. Human rights underpin the aspirations of those gathered.

Sparsh Shah, singer, songwriter and rapper, presents a cover version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the World’

Donald Lee, president of the International Committee for October 17

Poverty causes humiliation and exclusion. This feeds feelings of loss of pride, low self-esteem and self-worth. Persistent poverty is a denial of human rights. This year’s theme (‘Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: ending poverty in all its forms’) refers to moving from this point to the end of poverty. Poverty is not simply a lack of funds, but all the effects mentioned. Goal is to recognize and promote the contribution of all peoples.

Closing remarks by masters of ceremony.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • Poverty, including extreme poverty, is not found only in developing countries, but across the world in unequal societies. The Salvation Army, in its role as a church and a social services provider, should recognize that many people it comes into contact with may be struggling and support where possible.
  • The Salvation Army has an important role to play in recognizing the many effects of poverty other than the obvious financial implications: stigma, health (particularly mental health) and emotional distress, amongst others, and that this requires a careful, holistic approach.

Web links for more information - web site for International Day of Poverty - page on website with Secretary-General’s message

Tags: United Nations, Social Justice, SDG1: No Poverty, SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being, SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals