FAO Liaison Office in New York

UN launches Alliance for Poverty Eradication

30/06/2020

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director-General, Qu Dongyu, spoke in a virtual high-level meeting focusing on “Trends, Options and Strategies in Poverty Eradication Across the World”. Convened by the President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the event also marked the inauguration of the United Nations’ Alliance for Poverty Eradication.

“To protect and keep up progress achieved, we need new champions to lead efforts towards eradicating poverty, which is directly linked to achieving Zero Hunger,” noted Qu. The FAO Director-General went on to underline the importance of rural development in tackling poverty. Dr Qu specifically urged for increasing small-scale production, supporting diversified economic activities, and investing in human capital.

The onset of COVID-19 has exacerbated what was an already grim situation on the poverty front. Before the pandemic practically shut down socioeconomic activities across the globe in the first quarter of 2020, the number of people classified as poor worldwide was approximately 2.1 billion. Of this number, 767 million were living in extreme poverty.

In his opening remarks, Muhammad-Bande stated that the Alliance for Poverty Eradication “represents an opportunity to confront an enduring and multi-faceted challenge” by enabling the international community to compare notes and exchange ideas on cross-national good practices regarding poverty eradication.

“This event could not have come at a more pressing moment,” stressed the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres. “After many years of progress, poverty and hunger are now on the rise, elevating already high levels of inequality within and between cultures,” he explained. Guterres reiterated his commitment to building back batter and creating a people-centric economic recovery.

The President of the Economic and Social Council, Mona Juul, emphasized that “those with the least are always hit hardest”. Juul called for solidarity and development action to shift the world towards a resilient development path. She also referred to poverty eradication as “an indispensable requirement for sustainable development”.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier De Schutter, said that the number of people who are currently extremely poor is “unacceptably high”. De Schutter also noted that presently only 29% of world's population has access to the full range of social protection measures available internationally.

A concrete aspect of positive action was reported by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who outlined his government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next decade. “It is my conviction that devoting our efforts towards human capital development, efficient management of our resources, and transformation of the agricultural sector are crucial to poverty eradication,” he stated.

The webcast of the high-level meeting on poverty eradication is available here.