2014 - Message from the International Committee for October 17
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International Committee for October  17

Message for the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty - 
United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Leave No One Behind: Think, Decide and Act Together Against Extreme Poverty

   People living in poverty know from experience that it is only when we work together that we are able to transform our lives and communities in order to build a more sustainable and equitable world for everyone.

   Without genuine social inclusion, nothing will change.

   Therefore, the new Sustainable Development Goals must ensure that the political commitments at the highest levels are translated into full and effective participation and implementation at the grass roots level.

   The theme of this year's commemoration of October 17, which was developed in close consultation with people living in poverty, captures their vision and aspirations for the new development environment in the post-2015 period.

   The call to “Leave no one behind” reminds us that we must eliminate discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion based on poverty, ethnic origin, gender, or economic and social status.

   It reminds us that we need to actively reach out to the most impoverished and excluded groups in our societies.

   It reminds us that our efforts to eradicate extreme poverty must uphold all human rights norms and standards, in keeping with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.

   The call “To think, decide and act together against extreme poverty” reminds us that people living in poverty must be full and equal partners in building a more just and sustainable world.

   In this partnership, we must be able to create and share knowledge together; decide on strategies, policies and actions together; and act on or implement these decisions together.

  For too long the experience, knowledge and wisdom that people living in poverty can contribute have been largely ignored.

   Policy makers and experts talk about poverty but poor people have to struggle against poverty every single day.

  Policy makers and experts are eager to propose solutions and strategies but they almost never consult with people in poverty about what works or doesn’t work, or what is required to overcome poverty.

   Corporations and celebrities are welcomed at public dialogues but people living in poverty have to struggle to be heard on the very issues that affect them directly.

   Indeed, we gather on October 17 each year to demonstrate our partnership and solidarity with people living in poverty; to acknowledge and learn from their efforts to overcome poverty; and to defend their human rights and dignity.

   Therefore, if we are truly committed to creating a just and sustainable world free of poverty, we must build and nurture a genuine partnership with people living in poverty.

   We will leave no one behind.

Donald Lee, President, International Committee for October 17