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,...

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New York - Friday 15 October 2021 - Online commemoration of International Daye for Eradication of Poverty 2021

Event report

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP), the United Nations ensures that the knowledge, contributions, and experience of people living in poverty are recognized and celebrated. This year, the theme of IDEP was “Building Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet’’ and its commemoration was held on Friday, October 15th on Zoom, gathering a global audience of 400. This was the opportunity to hear from those who are at the forefront of fighting poverty while also facing the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change. Read the summary of the commemoration below.
This year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty’s commemoration began with a welcome from moderator, Dr. Antonia Joy Kategekwa. Dr. Kategekwa is a leading development law and policy specialist who is currently the Strategic Advisor to the Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa. She introduced the spirit of the International Day:


 

Dr. Kategekwa asked, “How can we build forward together, to end persistent poverty, respecting all people and our planet?” and handed the mic over to UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner to deliver opening remarks on this theme.Mr. Steiner’s remarks emphasized how human choices shaped by values and institutions have given rise to planetary and social imbalances. He addressed the global state of poverty, noting that poverty is rising for the first time in  ageneration due to the pandemic. Mr. Steiner also highlighted some of the attributes of multidimensional poverty’s face to the world: 1.6 billion informal workers who receive low wages, work in unsafe conditions, and have limited or no social protections; political instability and conflict that increase poverty, famine, and migration; and the ‘GDP of the poor,’ which indicates an economy reliant on depleted and degraded natural resources that is destined to grapple with climate change. Indeed, the experience of poverty intersects with that of most global crises.
With this backdrop of the global poverty situation provided, Dr. Kategekwa introduced video messages from people living in persistent poverty whose lives have been deeply affected by environmental degradation and climate change.

Barclay Owen works as a garbage collector and lives with his family in the Central African Republic. He was very content to make enough money to move his young family from a dangerous neighborhood overridden by violence to a safer neighborhood along the Ubangi river. But then, climate tragedy struck in the form of extreme flooding, forcing Owen and his family to move back to their old neighborhood and stripping them of nearly all of their belongings. Aside from flooding, the land is also severely deforested, mined, and polluted, human actions that deregulate and upend every part of the local ecosystems. Owen frames his work as a garbage collector as a personal commitment to support not only his family, but also the environment. Like others on the frontlines of poverty and environmental degradation, Owen works very hard, adapts, struggles, resists–does everything to make his children’s future different from his present. Owen’s story ended with a plea to unite for an economy that respects both human beings and the Earth.

Community activist Gerry Scardo joined us from the Central Appalachian Mountains to deliver a warning about the region’s “broken seasons” and flooding events. Noting the land’s ceaseless abuse by the mining and fracking industries, Scardo works to educate her community about how these industries contribute to the flooding. In a region facing immense financial challenges, the most vulnerable struggle to keep up with repairs necessitated by the flooding. She concluded her message by emphasizing the region’s need for broader investment in initiatives that mitigate environmental impact and build resilient communities unreliant on the fossil fuel industry. Scardo used her IDEP platform to address the government, saying, “Community and individuals alone cannot overcome the challenges of climate change and a declining economy.”After watching the messages by Barclay Owen and Gerry Scardo, Lenen Rahaman, founder of MATI NGO in Bangladesh, and Kerstin Stendahl, UNEP Co-Manager of Poverty-Environment Action and Coordinator of the UNEP Ecosystems Division Ecosystems Integration Branch, joined for a dialogue on the global poverty situation and how it is impacted by the pandemic and climate change.
Rahaman spoke from the grassroots perspective and centered the experiences of people on the ground in Bangladesh, in particular children. Echoing the final message Scardo shared in her video, Rahaman lamented the insufficient support people living in poverty receive from government adaptation and mitigation projects. One of the often overlooked effects of this lack of support is the stress and anxiety felt by children in Bangladesh who are experiencing poverty and carrying the burden of being witnesses to the great cataclysms of climate change. In a country where rising sea levels and flooding pose an omnipresent threat to all, Rahaman works with children who express oppressive feelings of uncertainty about their future, feelings that he says affect both body and mind. Rahaman’s method of listening to people living in poverty is one he says needs to be replicated by the government of Bangladesh and the global community alike. Without the participation of people with first-hand experiences of poverty and climate change, efforts to address these issues will fall short.
Stendahl used her time to reflect on how people living in poverty are the population most vulnerable to weather and climate impacts because of their economic reliance on climate sensitive sectors, such as subsistence agriculture, fishing, and tourism, harking back to Mr. Steiner’s words on the ‘GDP of the poor.’ During the discussion, she put a spotlight on the issue of internal migration, of which the changing climate is a leading driver. Stendahl asserted that the solutions to these issues are clear: we must increase the resilience of vulnerable communities by protecting biodiversity and restoring ecosystems. In her work, Stendahl facilitates multilateral cooperation in the global response to climate change and pushes government and industry to prioritize investing in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.
The second half of the commemoration focused on community-led initiatives to address poverty and climate change. It began with a video message from a vacation home in La Bise, France, where members of the ATD Fourth World Volunteers Corps have organized a space for people living in poverty to disconnect from their daily lives and spend time in nature. It is also used as a place for families in the foster care system to reunite and bond. The ATD Volunteer Corps members consider this special place a laboratory for the society they dream of: peaceful, welcoming, respectful of all people and the planet. It is rarely recognized that people living in poverty deserve respite and time away from work and struggle. Vacationers in the video described their visit to La Bise as the first time they felt close to the Earth and had lived in a space free of prejudice. For some, it was also their first vacation. As one person in the video put it: “It’s not just about cultivating the land. There is also the mind. […] In truth, here, it is to cultivate oneself.”

Next, Ana Lucia Santos Da Silva shared her experience as a farmer and women’s activist in rural Northeastern Brazil. In Massaroca, where Da Silva lives, climate change-enforced drought can be an indomitable force, leaving little water to consume, cultivate the land, or raise livestock. Between the oppressive drought and the Covid-19 pandemic, Da Silva informed us that her community struggles to feed itself and economic activity has ground to a near-halt, with many in her community facing unemployment. In her work, Da Silva organizes community members, especially women, and shares knowledge about how to mitigate the damage done by drought. She teaches people how to move from commercial farming to subsistence farming or what kinds of grains and livestock consume less water. Da Silva also presides over a committee of twelve associations working toward change in the region, espousing grassroots pressure to change public policy. They aim to restore their local ecosystem and create better living conditions for women.

After hearing about the community initiatives in France and Brazil, Dr. Kategekwa led a discussion between Glendy Rosales, an activist with ATD Fourth World and member of the Trabajar y Aprender Juntos (Working and Learning Together) project in Guatemala, and Olivier Richard, Head of the Development and Climate division at the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations.
Rosales began by framing her participation in Trabajar y Aprender Juntos (TAJ), or Working and Learning Together, around her background growing up in a neighborhood that is the largest garbage dump in Guatemala City, considered a “red zone” for its high rates of violence. With this initiative, she and other women from such red zones sought to address the employment discrimination and exploitation they face, as well as the pollution in the area. Supported by core values of solidarity, inclusion, and respect, the women in TAJ seek to create empowering work opportunities for their members. This work involves procuring waste from the garbage dump to make crafts that are sold. The profits are divided equally among the artisans, so that even the women who sell less can earn money, thereby creating an economy of solidarity. Like Ana Lucia’s story, the TAJ project is a great example of how women who are economically and socially excluded may act in synergistic support of one another and their environment.
Olivier Richard addressed the audience from the state perspective, delivering a warning about the policy design traps he feels governments and institutions should avoid. The first was a warning about the inefficacy of prioritizing policy aimed at poverty reduction over that of tackling climate change. Instead, Mr. Richard stressed the importance of working on both issues simultaneously with equal urgency, supporting the methodologies espoused by TAJ and Ana Lucia’s organization. He also warned against the tendency to address poverty and climate change in silos, advocating instead for the adoption of an integrated approach. Mr. Richard emphasized that in order to avert a climate crisis, the richest countries and the most privileged people will have to change the most; but ultimately everyone will have to change. He also spoke of the need for policy makers to be in more meaningful contact with the people they serve–to understand their realities, communicate about policy work, and hear their feedback.
Director General of the International Movement ATD Fourth World, Isabelle Perrin, and UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, were charged with concluding the commemoration.
Isabelle Perrin’s concluding remarks focused on how those who are suffering from poverty are not only the victims; they are also agents of change who know how to build a better world. She asked, “When are we going to learn from those who suffer the most? When are we going to build a just world that is really for everybody, including the future generations?” Perrin noted how, in her work, she has met people living in multidimensional poverty who act, resist, take care of their environment and community, and take charge of the things that others do not. Addressing those in the audience who represent development programs around the world, Perrin recommended that their organizations prioritize creating staff positions whose duty it would be to reach out to the most left behind families and involve them in internal decision making processes and policy-making.Olivier De Schutter expanded on Perrin’s message by noting that in order to face the great challenges of climate change and environmental degradation today, we must listen to the expertise of people living in poverty. There is no need to choose between investing in social protection or in greening the economy, no need to choose between the green transition and social justice. De Schutter emphasized that the reconstruction agenda should view these subjects jointly and that inequality presents an obstacle to the ecological transformation we urgently need. Illustrating how policy could address both poverty and climate change, De Schutter gave the example of triple dividend measures such as public transportation investments, which can reduce pollution and create jobs accessible to those in poverty.
Dr. Kategekwa then wrapped up the event by summarizing the commemoration’s main ideas. The day’s speakers were in agreement that there should not be a split between poverty and climate action. The two require joint solutions designed by stakeholders from the grassroots to the institutional level. She emphasized the discussion’s focus on the perspectives of people living in poverty, especially women and children, who should be able to participate fully in social development work from policy design to implementation. Dr. Kategekwa reminded the audience of the diverse points raised during the event, such as the need to move away from fossil fuels, the impact of internal migration, and the importance of protecting biodiversity. It is our hope that the day’s rich discussion is a call to action and a call to listen to the voices of people living in poverty, so as to make them full-fledged partners in the eradication of poverty.

Event description

The Online commemoration of IDEP 2021 on the theme
‘’B
uilding Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet”

  A virtual commemoration with statements, messages and videos

Program of the Online Commemoration

  • Video message from the International Committee for October 17
  • Video message from the UN Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres.
  • Video message from people with experience of poverty in Latin America expressing that the only sustainable justice reconciles social justice and environmental justice.
  • Video message from Ambassador de Rivière, Permanent Mission of France to the UN.
  • Video message from people with experience of poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo, facing devastating floods but acting within their community to resist and rebuild together.
  • Music “With My Own Two Hands” (Ben Harper), Playing For Change
  • Video message from activists with experience of poverty in Belgium, engaged in a participatory process with a Belgian federal agency on the theme of sustainability.
  • Video message from Ambassador Tiare, Permanent Mission of Burkina Faso to the UN.
  • Video message from Ms. Isabelle Perrin, General Director of ATD Fourth World – call to action.
New York
United States

Dehli - Sunday 17 October 2021 - Suffering of the poorest due to natural disasters related to climate change, duty and contribution of science

October17, this year was a webinar

The October 17 conference in India went well. After the presentations, a few participants asked questions, such as Mr.Francky NISHIMWE who wanted to know ‘’ how to end poverty? And especially in Africa. One of the speakers (Christian RHUGWASANYE) replied: We cannot end poverty if if the poorest are also agents of change, if they have a place and a voice in projects and any activity like every other person. If you want to know more, Please click here:
Dehli
India

Glasgow - Wednesday 06 October 2021 - Little stones, Large Cairns. Sharing the UN Day for Eradication of Poverty

Event report

A contribution to the online event

Patrick Lubin – New York – 6 October 2021

Good afternoon everybody. Thank you for the invitation to celebrate with you today, for me it is a great honor.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is important for me because it is a commemorative day to honor all the victims of poverty and to celebrate all the people fighting to eradicate poverty in the world. It is a gathering all around the world, all of us who have suffered of poverty together with all that are fighting to end poverty. It is a moment of meditation to make silence to honor all the victims of poverty. For me it is as well a day to remember Joseph Wresinski, the founder of ATD Fourth World.

I remember very vividly the first time I went to the United Nations. Christelle, a friend, invited me to the commemoration on October 16, 2015.

For me, who has defended people all my live before living in the street,  when I spoke at the UN on October 17 2016, it was to represent all the people that, like myself have suffered in the street. It was an opportunity to honor the fight of these people.  I have witnessed all this and I have to be there, I have to participate.

I got into this fight because we are representing ourselves, our families, our communities and ATD Fourth World. We represent people around us, even if we don’t know them. We are engaged in the same fight to stop poverty, to bring awareness to churches, mosques and temples, to reduce inequalities, to stop human rights violations,  to change the laws.

To stop poverty in the world we have to get involved, I feel if I am not there I am missing something crucial. I have to be here and fight because we need to defend the right to be respected, to housing, to food and we need to end humiliation.

Being present and feeling welcomed at the United Nations is a huge honor for me, especially to have the right to speak. It is a powerful privilege to address my speech to the world, to explain what I went through while living in extreme poverty and what a challenge is to survive.

Not everybody has the possibility to speak at the UN. It is because of the work of ATD Fourth World that we can speak at the UN so I spoke representing ATD Fourth World.

October 17 is a day to celebrate, at the UN we are present with our power to make people understand and become aware that there is another world where people suffer and are traumatized because of poverty. Society mainly doesn’t care, we are mistreated and humiliated. So we are there to stop humiliation and represent our people.

When Kim spoke at the UN for the first time, for her, for us, it is a lot of pain but it give us the chance to change what people think about poverty, what we can do better to stop poverty so that people understand and have knowledge of what poverty is, what kind of traumas we go through. Thanks Fighting poverty is a kind of war for us.

At the UN we want to send a message and there we feel we are not alone because people are there with their heart and intelligence to support us to eradicate poverty.

We are there to advocate for people who don’t have the possibility to speak, to be heard, so that we are not forgotten. If you speak at the UN you speak to the world.

Having the commemorative stone at the UN for me means to remember for ever October 17, 1987 when father Joseph Wresinski inaugurated the stone in Paris and when later the day was recognized the day to honor the victims of poverty.

I remember when I used to go with my father to the memorial to honor the victims of war, the stone is the same, it is a monument to honor people in poverty. Poverty is a war because it is killing people.

The stone is a place to be all together to respect and take a moment of silencfor the victims of poverty.

Event description

Why is there a stone in the centre of Glasgow marking October 17, the UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty? Listen to the story unfold.

6 October 2021

17:00 – 18:00 CEST

Online event, you can register here

About this event

On October 17, 1987, 100 000 people from around the world gathered in Paris in the Plaza of Human Rights and Liberties to unveil a large marble commemorative stone. Among them many for whom the living connections between poverty and human rights were a tangible everyday. Many for whom the journey to get there was long, unexpected and at times difficult. People calling themselves Human Rights Defenders.

Part of the text of the stone reads:

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

Since 1992, October 17 has been officially recognised by the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and many other stones have been unveiled around the world.

A day for those living with poverty and others standing in solidarity with them to state that poverty is not inevitable, is not acceptable and is a denial of human rights.

Our event shares the story of the day and how it is marked - both around the world and in here in Glasgow. Hearing from some of the people and places at it's heart, and asking how we can all get involved.

You will be invited to find and bring a small stone, big enough to write on to the event. Even though we will be meeting online, we can still see that little stones build large cairns.

Glasgow
United Kingdom

Ile IFE - Sunday 17 October 2021 - Online event with Whatsapp group plaform by TIM TALKS

Event report

Some interesting excerpts from the conversation via TimTalk

Event description

The 2021 international day for poverty eradication was commemorated by Tim Talks by organizing an online event to answer basic but important questions to the discourse of poverty eradication. The aim of this event is to make young people understand the severity of poverty and why they must be actively involved in its eradication.

Ile IFE
Nigeria

Sofia - Monday 18 October 2021 - Art Gallery, within different meeting outside under tents

Event report

An exhibition marking the World for overcoming Extreme Poverty Day 2021 took place between 18 and 20 October.

Visitors had the opportunity to discover its various parts, fruits of regular dialogues with people experiencing poverty and of initiatives with children and their families as part of the struggle to build a bridge with education. Anyone could come, sit down and look at the photos and movies revealing the world of these initiatives.
The first interactive workshop took place around a participatory research called “The Hidden Dimensions of Poverty”.

Participants shared how resisting to poverty is exhausting their abilities. "Because of our poverty situation, our hands are damaged by the constant carrying of luggage."
"Extreme poverty is a torture. Poverty can be fatal; not only a person can get sick, but he can also die. He became seriously ill and could not work."

Two other events took place on Tuesday: an artistic workshop with clay and the screening of the film "Crafts by Heritage" from Stolipinovo / Plovdiv /. It presents the work of various craftmen from the neighborhood. After the screening, a short discussion began. The director said that it was good for the film to be screened in Sofia and to see the many positive reactions.
On the third day, a meeting of the members of the Network Against Poverty was held. It was the first meeting not online, as this network has started in 2021. It continues its work on four main topics: access to housing, healthcare, ID cards and education.
The closing of this exhibition is not the end! This is the beginning of a new year of engagements! Let’s put an end poverty all together!

Event description

Bulgaria, from Monday to Wednesday, we are starting a 3 days exhibition in an Art Gallery, within different meeting outside under tents.
We'll present the 5' video about the Hidden Dimensions of Poverty in Bulgarian for the 1st time, and also it will be the first meeting of the new National Network against Poverty. Both of them required a long process.

You can look at the presentation in Bulgarian and English on our Facebook page: https://fb.me/e/2uXxVO8Xx

Sofia
Bulgaria