Building Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet

October 17 is the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty. It has been commemorated since 1987, the year when, at the call of Joseph Wresinski, thousands of people from all walks of life gathered at the Plaza of Liberties and Human Rights in Paris, to affirm that:

Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.

In 1992, October 17 was recognized as an International Day by the United Nations. Since then, all over the world, people mobilize to recall publicly that we can put an end to extreme poverty. This day brings us together with people like those families in Bujumbura, Burundi, who say: "We will continue to move from darkness to light and gain hope to move our families and country forward. "

In 2020 and 2021, our world has been shaken by the global health crisis of COVID-19, which has amplified inequalities and worsened the situation of people living in poverty. They are as much victims of environmental destruction as they are often forgotten by states and threatened to be left behind from generation to generation. Excluded from sustainable development, they are often criticized for taking actions for their survival which are seen as unsustainable.

However, their place in building the future is undeniable. As essential agents of change, they act every day to put an end to persistent poverty; they are constantly creating and passing on within the family and the community, actions and gestures that respect people and nature and make it possible to better cope with the consequences of poverty in everyday life.

We are at a crucial moment. It is a great opportunity to dare to think and act differently. Empowering the people concerned would prevent crises from aggravating their poverty, acting as a "double punishment". As Chrismaine from Haiti tells us: "By ending persistent poverty, the earth will turn more fairly".

Key words: