Theme for 2021
Building Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet

On this page you will find:

  • Testimonies: messages from people living in extreme poverty,...
  • Presentation: the meaning of the Day, its spirit,...
  • Highlights: activities, messages, significant gestures,...
  • Contact us: for any question related to October 17.
  • Toolbox: poster, concept note, documents of reference, videos,...

Select a country to see what took place the previous years

Den Haag - Wednesday 17 October 2012 - Commemoration before the Dutch Parliament

Event description

11.15 am Silent walk from the International Court of Justice (Peace Palace) to the Dutch Parliament and moment of reading testimonies, songs and meeting one another.

DEN HAAG 17 oktober 2012, Werelddag van Verzet tegen Extreme Armoede 11.15 uur een bescheiden stille voettocht vanaf het monument met de wereldvredesvlam, bij het Vredespaleis aan het Carnegieplein. 12.00 uur een herdenking aan de Hofweg in Den Haag. (Bij de marmeren bank met artikel 1 van de Grondwet en met zicht op de vergaderzaal van de Tweede Kamer). U bent van harte welkom! U kunt rechtstreeks naar de herdenking komen, maar u bent ook welkom bij de stille voettocht! Neem zo mogelijk anderen mee! Meer informatie bij:  Ingrid Hutter, Landelijk Vierde Wereld Centrum, Regentesseplein 13, 2562 EV Den Haag, email ingrid [dot] hutter [at] atd-vierdewereld [dot] nl (Ingrid Hutter )  Henri van Rijn, coördinator Fonto, Phoenixstraat 66, 2611 AM Delft, of email: fonto [at] planet [dot] nl (Henri van Rijn)       For other events in the Netherlands please click on this link
In front of the Dutch Parliament
Den Haag

Manila - Sunday 14 October 2012 - Ang pandaigdigang araw upang sugpuin ang matinding kahirapan - celebration by the CBCP-NASSA Network for Families and Children Living in the Streets

In 2012, CBCP-NASSA (National Secretariat for Social Action), through its National Director Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, initiated a social forum for Civic and faith based organizations catering to street families. 

As the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines dedicates the second Sunday of October for extreme poverty day, this network of 24 organizations within Metro Manila, decided to commemorate the International Day on Sunday October 14, 1-5 pm. 

The commemoration will bring together very poor people, workers and volunteers committed with them as well as youth from different parishes. For young people to be aware and understand that they, as youth and later as adults, can play an active role in participating in overcoming poverty, It is essential that they hear and meet people who experience poverty every day as well as people working alongside them.


Mass - Background sharing - Live testimonies - Cultural presentations

"I was living in formal housing with my husband and my children. But when my husband died, my earnings as labandera were not enough to pay at the same time for the schooling of my children and the rent. Education of my children is very important so we moved to this place where there is no rent to pay, but it is not legal to live in this place, from where we can be evicted anytime."

Malate Catholic School - Jaime Cardinal Sin Gymnasium Madre Ignacia St. corner San Andres, Malate. Manila.

Strasbourg - Wednesday 17 October 2012 - "Building Europe through Human Rights: Acting Together against Extreme Poverty"

Event report

For effective human rights in Europe, “we need to be acknowledged, decision-makers should ask those of us with the most difficult lives” - a person struggling against extreme poverty, from Belgium.

We need to bridge the gap between decision-makers and people in poverty. They have a lot to contribute.” - Jean-Marie Heydt, President of the Conference of INGOs at the Council of Europe.

Stop making decision for us: listen to us”, “We have ideas, ask us”, participants struggling against extreme poverty, from France.

On the occasion of the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty, on October 17 2012, people living in extreme poverty had pride of place at the Council of Europe. From the United Kingdom, to France, to Siberia in the Russian Federation, people living in poverty, decision-makers and members of the civil society took part in a conference entitled “Building Europe through Human Rights: Acting together against extreme poverty”.

The Presidents of the Committee of Ministers, Parliamentary Assembly, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and Conference of INGOs, adopted a declaration stressing the need and urgency of continuing the fight against extreme poverty. The declaration that was made public during an INGO conference dedicated to the problem, calls for joint action with a multidimensional, structural, progressive and long-term approach.

One of the aims of today's conference is to work towards better understanding of the conditions for real and effective participation of people living in poverty and social exclusion. Without their participation, extreme poverty cannot be eradicated and the human rights and dignity of each person will not be respected. One of the aspect of this participation is to give effectiveness of stipulations such as article 30 of the European Social Charter, which recognises the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion. This right is, however, far from effective. Indeed, participants stressed the need to build long-lasting, sustainable partnerships between decision-makers and people in poverty, in order for social policies to be effective.

Partnerships must also be set-up between people in poverty and professionals. In England, for example, people with an experience of extreme poverty, together with facilitators, organise training courses for social workers, at Royal Holloway University of London. The training aims to give social workers a better understanding and insight into the lives of families living in poverty.

In celebration of the courage and resourcefulness of people in poverty all over the world, a commemoration took place outside the Council of Europe. The people present observed a minute of silence in front of a replica of the Commemorative Stone in honour of victims of extreme poverty.

Please, listen to the interviews below :

In English:  Amanda Button, Angela Babb, James Guy

In Spanish:  Luis Jimean Quesada

In French:  Maritchu Rall, Nelly Schenker, Ursula Jomini, Jean-Gabriel Prieur

Acting together to eradicate extreme poverty in Europe

Agir ensemble pour éradiquer la grande pauvreté en Europe
Agir ensemble pour éradiquer la grande pauvreté en Europe



Acting together to eradicate extreme poverty in Europe
Strasbourg, 17 October 2012

The Presidents of the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe,

Reaffirming their commitment to human dignity and the protection of all human rights, which are universal, indivisible and interdependent;

Stressing that the effective enjoyment of human rights must be guaranteed to everyone without discrimination;

Concerned about the situation of people living in extreme poverty, which arises when the economic, social and cultural effects of poverty come together and are long lasting, depriving these people of any prospect of the effective exercise of their rights in the foreseeable future;

Observing that it is the people belonging to the most disadvantaged social groups who are the hardest hit by the economic crisis and often also by fiscal austerity measures;

Particularly concerned about the damaging effects of poverty of children and their families, which deprives children of equal opportunities for their development and leads to the intergenerational transmission of poverty;

Convinced that, in order to eradicate extreme poverty in all relevant policy areas at international, regional, national and local levels, an approach based on human rights should be applied;

Considering that a democratic society requires initiating policies that recognise and value every person’s potential to improve the quality of life and to contribute to the common good;

Convinced that efforts to ensure access to rights and justice as well as practical and effective exercise of these rights by people living in extreme poverty will be fully effective only within a comprehensive, consistent and long-term policy with the participation of the people concerned;

Considering that through its legal instruments, including the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter, opened for signature in 1961 and revised in 1996, the Council of Europe has established a set of European standards relevant to the eradication of extreme poverty;

Considering that through recommendations and thematic resolutions, the Council of Europe has already established a European framework which should ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by all people living in extreme poverty in Europe;

Highlighting the relevance of the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights of the United Nations Human Rights Council;

Aware of the need and urgency of taking further steps in the fight against extreme poverty,

Undertake, each within their respective competences and specific nature, to work together to:

- formulate and implement policies and measures to promote the eradication of extreme poverty, based on the values ​​of dignity, freedom, participation, equality and solidarity, with a particular emphasis on children and their families ;

- create and develop the necessary conditions for people experiencing extreme poverty to participate effectively in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies and measures for the eradication of poverty,

- promote appropriate measures, in particular in the following areas, while following a multidimensional, structural, progressive and long-term approach:

1. participation in political and public life
2. autonomy and independence
3. family life
4. education and culture
5. housing and energy
6. health: prevention and care, food, water
7. employment and vocational training
8. social protection and proximity services
9. access to justice and protection against violence
10. awareness and solidarity of society

taking into account the circumstances and specific needs of each age group as well as family, social and territorial situations;

- establish effective mechanisms for the monitoring, evaluation and adjustment of policies and measures,

- strengthen cooperation within the Council of Europe by encouraging the involvement of all the relevant organs and entities, and by ensuring that the eradication of extreme poverty be included in the programmes and activities which promote human rights,

- mobilise all stakeholders, such as administrative bodies at national, regional and local level, parliaments, national human rights institutions and ombudsperson offices, the media, associations, universities, firms;

Call on Member States that have not yet ratified the Revised European Social Charter, including Articles 30 (right to protection against poverty and social exclusion) and 31 (right to housing), to consider doing so and to accept the system of collective complaints.

Appendix - Provisional version

Council of Europe texts concerning the fight against extreme poverty and human rights

Committee of Ministers

- CM/AS(81)Rec893 Reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 893 (1980) on Poverty in Europe

- Recommendation Rec(93)1 on Effective access to the law and to justice for the very poor

- CM/Del/Dec/Act(93)486/23 Supplementary reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1196 (1992) on Severe poverty and social exclusion: towards guaranteed minimum levels of resources

- CM(2000)62 rev. 26 April 2000 Draft political message from the Committee of Ministers to the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (Geneva, 26-30 June 2000) “Towards social development for all: a European strategy based on co-operation and partnership”

- Recommendation Rec(2001)12 on the adaptation of health care services to the demand for health care and health care services of people in marginal situations

- Recommendation Rec(2001)19 on the participation of citizens in local public life

- Recommendation Rec(2003)19 on improving access to social rights

- Final declaration of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Social Cohesion, Moscow 26 and 27 February 2009

- Guidelines on Improving the situation of low-income workers and on the empowerment of people experiencing extreme poverty, 5 May 2010

- New Strategy for Social Cohesion, 7 July 2010

- Council of Europe Action Plan for Social Cohesion, 7 July 2010

- CM/AS(2010)Rec1912 Reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1912 (2010) Investing in family cohesion as a development factor in times of crisis

- Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter, 12 October 2011

- CM/AS(2011)Rec1963 Reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1963 (2011) on Combating poverty

- CM/AS(2011)Rec1958 Reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1958 (2011) on Monitoring of commitments concerning social rights

- CM/AS(2012)Rec1976 Reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1976 (2011) on The role of parliaments in the consolidation and development of social rights in Europe

Parliamentary Assembly

- Recommendation 893 (1980) Poverty in Europe

- Recommendation 1196 (1992)1 Severe poverty and social exclusion: towards guaranteed minimum levels of resources

- Recommendation 1355 (1998) Fighting social exclusion and strengthening social cohesion in Europe

- Resolution 1720 (2010) Investing in family cohesion as a development factor in times of crisis

- Recommendation 1963 (2011) Combating poverty

- Resolution 1800 (2011) Combating poverty

- Resolution 1824 (2011) The role of parliaments in the consolidation and development of social rights in Europe

- Resolution 1884 (2012) Austerity measures - a danger for democracy and social rights

- Resolution 1885 (2012) The young generation sacrificed: social, economic and political implications of the financial crisis

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

- Resolution 243 (1993) Citizenship and extreme poverty: the Charleroi Declaration

- Resolution 41 (1996) Health and citizenship: care for the poorest in Europe

- Recommendation 154 (2004) Fighting severe poverty in towns: the role of local authorities

- Resolution 182 (2004) Fighting severe poverty in towns: the role of local authorities

- Recommendation 210 (2007) The evolution of extreme poverty in European towns

- Resolution (2007) The evolution of extreme poverty in European towns

Conference of INGOs

- Recommendation du 25 June 2008 on the adoption of the Guiding principles « Extreme poverty and human rights (UNHRC) by the Council of Europe member States

- Recommendation CONF/PLE(2009)REC8 Combating poverty

See video

Event description

The Council of Europe is committed to eradicate poverty – the legal instruments exist. It is time to put them in practice – with determination and in a long term perspective.

In order to launch this dynamic the INGO Conference, with the support of the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, is organising on 17 October – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – a conference at the Council of Europe:

"Building Europe through Human Rights: Acting Together against Extreme Poverty"

The aim of the conference and of its follow up is to build on the European and international achievements and to translate them into practical lines of action. Together with all the stakeholders concerned: people living in poverty, representatives of public authorities and representatives of organised civil society.

Many INGOs enjoying participatory status with the Council of Europe already support the preparation of this conference.

Today we invite you to join us.

 Participation – registration

You are invited to participate in the conference and to mobilise the members of your INGO and also elected officials, civil servants, persons committed in partner organisations etc. in different countries.

The number of conference participants is limited by the meeting room capacities:

Plenary (9.15-10.15 and 16.30-18.00) : 170 places

Panel I (in English – French – Russian) : 170 places

Panel II (in French) : 50 places

Panel III (in French): 50 places

To allow for an adequate attribution of the places it is important that all interested INGOs contact us as soon as possible.

Avenue de l'Europe Council of Europe

Bangkok - Wednesday 17 October 2012 - The true story of Fon

Event report

This photo was taken from the evening of 17 October. We had a meal at the Fourth World House in Bangkok with young people and Mr Minar Pimple, Regional Director of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) in Asia. He is responsible for the Millennium Development Goals campaign and is originally from India.

In this photo, we are from India, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Sweden and France ! We called this evening : All Together with Fon because Mr Pimple from the UNDP sent on the 17 October, the electronic version of the Fon Tapori Minibook to all the offfices of the UNDP around the world. Ayumi from Japan has nearly finished translating Fon into Japanese. Ari who is from Indonesia, came to ask permission to be able to translate this minibook into Indonesian, because this story is so similar to what children in his own country are living that he wants it to be available for them too.

Mr Minar Pimple said; “Fon is a really brave girl. She tells her story with pride and determination".

Event description

ATD Fourth World Thailand invites you to share with a child a true knowledge about poverty :

Offer " the true story of Fon" 

a Thai mini-book written by a young girl and her family living in a very deprived area of Bangkok...


Glasgow - Wednesday 17 October 2012 - Stories, Song and Soup

Event report

Over 30 people braved the elements for stories, songs and soup to mark the UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty 17 October 2012.

Event description

Stories, Song and Soup

17 October 2012 - George Square, Glasgow

12 - 1 pm

Stories, songs and soup from the Glasgow Homeless Choir,  Let me Tell You stories from various residents in Glasgow, community singing  and soup and bread rolls made by volunteers at Bridging the Gap to keep us warm.

George Square