Every attitude, every gesture has to fight poverty and exclusion. There are many ways to act, regardless of our skills and availability. These messages, these testimonials reflect. Feel free to contribute.

Testimonies are published under the responsibility of the author. They are subject to validation: these will be published only if they comply, in form and substance the spirit of this day as defined in the International Charter for October 17.



2017 Video Message of the United Nations Secretary-General for 17 October

We are delighted to share with you a video message by the United Nations Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of 17 October International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

“Hello everyone. Today we stand in solidarity with 800 million people around the world who live in extreme poverty. Many more are threatened by alarming high rates of unemployment, insecurity, inequality, conflict and the effect of climate change. But we have made remarkable progress in eradicating poverty since 1990 and all countries have recommitted to fighting poverty and exclusion everywhere.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our plan to take a different course and this globally agreed agenda pledges to secure a healthy planet and build peaceful, inclusive societies to ensure lives of dignity for all. Its pledge to leave no one behind will require innovative approaches, partnerships and solutions. And that means addressing the root causes of poverty in order to eradicate it entirely. It means listening to the views and guidance of people living in poverty and getting together with them.

Let us join hands to stop poverty all together in dignity. Thank you.”


Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

2017 - Message by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promises to leave no one behind, and calls for eradicating poverty by 2030. For this, we need swift action by Governments to translate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into effective policies that are supported with appropriate resources. The 2030 Agenda is ambitious -- we need ambitious measures to take it forward.

The 2030 Agenda emphasizes the integration of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of poverty eradication, so we need integrated action across different policy spheres, making the most of capabilities and resources through targeted policies designed to accelerate progress across the board. This is the importance of UNESCO’s leadership in advancing cooperation through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. Along with the Organisation’s Global Priorities, Gender Equality and Africa, these are areas with catalytic impact across the 2030 Agenda, acting as development multipliers for a wide range of goals and targets.

Capabilities must be combined with ownership. National plans to eradicate poverty will be stronger if they are inclusive, integrating the voices of all parts of society. Access to basic services is essential, as is the required knowledge capabilities -- but eradicating poverty calls also for greater participation by all women and men, starting with young people, whose empowerment is key to success.

Eradicating poverty is a human rights imperative -- it is also a development imperative and a peace imperative. This is why we need action now to translate promises into reality. This is UNESCO’s message on this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.


Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Press release on the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty

Dear friends, partners,

Please find attached our press release on the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty, which will be celebrated tomorrow in the world. We would appreciate it if you could kindly share it in your respective networks. This press release is also a very important tool to promote our petition on the "Peace by another way" initiated by Prof. Albert Tevoedjre. To recall, the petition can be signed through our site www.cipina.org

Yours sincerely.

M. Tidiane DIOUWARA Directeur Ambassadeur de la Paix Conseiller diplomatique

Association CIPINA

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty - 2016

Click on the link to listen to the President's speech:


Táim thar a bheith sásta a bheith libh inniu ar an lá thábhachtach seo - lá ina thagann daoine le chéile, in áiteanna ar fud na cruinne, chun seasamh i ndlúthpháirtíocht le bhaill uile ár bpobal Domhanda atá ag fulaingt i mbochtanacht.

[I am very pleased to have the opportunity to join you all on this important day when people come together, in venues across the world, to stand in solidarity with all those members of our global community who live in poverty.]

May I thank ATD Fourth World-Ireland for their invitation to address you on this commemoration today, and all of you for the very warm welcome you have extended to me here this morning.

2016 is, of course, the centenary of the birth of Joseph Wresinski, the founder of ATD Fourth World. ATD, as you know, stands for ‘All Together in Dignity’ while the term Fourth World is typically used to indicate and describe the most poverty stricken and economically troubled regions of nations within the Third World, nations often excluded from society. The purpose of ATD Fourth World is, therefore, to stand together in dignity with some of the most excluded people in the world.

Founded by Fr Joseph Wresinski when he was sent as chaplain to 250 families placed in an emergency housing camp in Noisy-le-Grand, near Paris its foundations are truly rooted in a spirit of solidarity and collectivism. His words:

"The families in that camp have inspired everything I have undertaken for their liberation. They took hold of me, they lived within me, they carried me forward, they pushed me to found the Movement with them"

speak movingly of the great unity and commonality which saw an initiative that started as the distribution of food and old clothes to the poor, become an organisation that works in partnership with communities across the world to end the exclusion and injustice of persistent poverty. Joseph Wresinski was a man whose compassion, vision and great spirit of humanity should continue to inspire us today.

He grew up in poverty and experienced, at first hand, the exclusion, marginalisation and daily humiliation, the náire, that goes hand in hand with a life lived below the bread line. He was a man acutely aware, not only of the great physical deprivations suffered by those who are poor and vulnerable, but also of the grinding everyday demoralisation and disempowerment which permeates the lives of the impoverished and disadvantaged in our communities.

Today marks the thirtieth occasion on which people have gathered around the world to observe the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Today also marks the first gathering to take place in the time-frame of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2016-2030) which has as its first goal: End Poverty in all its forms everywhere.

As President I have spoken before of how critical it is that we look beyond the aim of alleviating poverty, even beyond eliminating extreme poverty; of the importance of broadening these aims and seeking to eliminate poverty in all its forms and to address issues such as needless and avoidable early mortality and morbidity, the elimination of diseases, and the many other factors which so impoverish the lives of citizens across the world.

John Weeks, in his The Economics of the 1% has offered, as an appropriate definition of economics:

the study of the causes of the underutilisation of resources in a market society, and the policies to eliminate that resource waste for the general welfare'.

It is a definition which calls on us to seek out and come to understand the sources of societal inequalities, if we are truly work for the eradication of poverty across the globe.

The new Sustainable Development Goals recognise the need for a redefinition of the very notion of “development".  They signify an invitation to a crucial advance in multilateral diplomacy, in their being universal, in their applying to all countries, and no longer primarily to those labelled ‘developing’ or ‘poor’.

The new 2030 Agenda provides a comprehensive blueprint for an integrated continuum of action at international and national levels, stretching from the necessary response to emergency situations in the short term, to the need to empower vulnerable communities in the long-term.

If we are to eliminate global hunger we must not simply seek to  respond to immediate needs, but must meet the obligation that is involved in creating the capacity, in different circumstances and cultures, of our fellow global citizens in achieving food sufficiency. There is a clear distinction between an immediate response to famine and hunger that provides essential food, even nutrition, and the creation, or protection, of the capacity to produce food. What is required is a holistic approach to issues of famine, global hunger, poverty, nutrition and food production.

It is appropriate therefore that, during this important year, the UN  International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has asked us to focus on the theme of “Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all its forms” .

Every day, around the world, human beings living in poverty are denied the basic human dignities that so many of us take for granted. Basic livelihoods are casually removed by government brokered land deals with large international corporations; women are economically marginalised or denied the education that is key to their empowerment; entire groups are neglected or discriminated against based on their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

A denial of basic human rights to those who live below the poverty line is not, of course, limited to any particular part of the world.    Even in countries with developed economies and advanced technological infrastructures there are those who are left behind; discriminated against, isolated, insulted, stereotyped, and made objects of condescension by fellow members of society who, deliberately or unthinkingly, dehumanise and further impoverish the lives of those struggling with chronic poverty. Let us also not forget the many ways in which societies create a culture of dependency forgetting that truly effective compassion means striving for human flourishing and seeking the conditions that make it possible.

Poverty is, and always has been, a multidimensional problem.  It is a complex issue to define. However, the ways in which we define poverty are critical to how we structure political, policy and academic discourse and the fuller debate on both its definition or impact and the challenges we face in eradicating poverty from our societies.

Those who live in poverty speak of the isolation, shame, and humiliation they perceive as having been inflicted on them by society and of how such treatment as they experience is a key factor in their lived experiences of suffering. Until recently, however, intrinsic human emotions such as lowered or damaged self-esteem have been the missing dimensions in poverty analysis and research. But such dimensions are an essential part of the analysis if we are to understand the different types and intensities of poverty that impact on wellbeing and quality of life, their many layers and dimensions, and how they interact and interconnect, and look for explanations and effective solutions.

The introduction of a Global Multidimensional Poverty Index in 2010 was a welcome development, allowing for the measurement of the non-monetary deprivations which, combined with lack of economic capacity, define chronic poverty in over one hundred developing countries across the world.

Such non-monetary indicators have also been increasingly used in individual European countries, as well as at European Union level, in measuring poverty and exclusion -  allowing for a greater understanding of the stark realities of the experience of poverty and the many ways in which it can diminish and limit the lives of its sufferers.

Despite the development of more comprehensive indicators of poverty, many in society continue to view poverty as a one dimensional problem which can be measured in purely monetary terms. Today, however, we are asked to remember its multi-dimensional nature; to look closely into the deep and quiet corners of those lives deprived of a right to participate at all levels of society, and to reflect on the long inter-generational shadows consistent poverty can throw across individual families.

Historically, societies have often been condemnatory of those in poverty and at times they have branded or punished poor people as idle, criminal or disruptive. People living in poverty were subjected to abuses of power and to policies that deprived them of their autonomy; were categorised as undeserving; and were often segregated from society and banished to workhouses or other institutions designed to morally remedy the sin of being poor.

It is both disheartening and worrying to realise that in Ireland, as in so many other parts of the world, shame continues to be one of the most consistently reported characteristics amongst people experiencing poverty. It is a feeling reinforced daily in a society where the spoken and unspoken attitudes of fellow citizens so often fall short of the common humanity that is a critical component of a truly functioning society.

Professor Robert Walker, in his book The Shame of Poverty, wrote that:

"If a society creates the illusion of meritocracy – that you get what you deserve, that the harder you work, the richer and more valuable to society you become, it suggests that the opposite is also true – that it is shameful to be poor, and that poverty is self-inflicted."

We are, it would seem, living in a time when the increasing spread of extreme individualism has led to the erroneous fiction that poverty is a sign of a personal failure, that it has somehow been ‘deserved’. However, poverty and its associated suffering is never deserved.

Here in Ireland people with disabilities experience high levels of consistent poverty and are twice as likely to live below the poverty line as the rest of the population; almost one in five children live in households with incomes below the poverty line; 18% of adults living in poverty are in some form of employment, while more than 57% of those in poverty are retired, students, people in caring roles, people who are ill or people with a disability.

Behind those statistics are, of course, many personal stories of misfortune, unemployment, mistakes, regret, lost opportunity and sometimes abuse, neglect, addiction or illness. These are human stories; the stories of our fellow citizens who have, through circumstance, found themselves living in insecure and difficult situations.

There can be no doubt that how a society treats its more vulnerable citizens, how it deals with helping people into work and protecting those unable to work, is a critical reflection of its moral core. A society that creates a culture of suspicion or hostility towards those living below the poverty line; or that patronises and infantilises them; or that fails to view its citizens living in poverty as individual people with individual problems, preferring to dismiss them as homogenous members of an inadequate underclass, cannot easily lay claim to being part of a functioning democracy.

Earlier we listened to testimonies describing the different dimensions and experiences of poverty in Ireland. Those who gave those testimonies come here today as representatives of the seven hundred and fifty thousand people in Ireland who live in poverty, lacking the economic capacity to live lives defined as fit for humans within our society. Listening to those testimonies should be a stark reminder of the many ways our society can inflict, often through choosing not to know or care, unnecessary hurt or pain on fellow citizens who struggle every day with the challenges of poverty.

They are testimonies permeated by great courage, willpower and a determination to improve the landscape for fellow citizens experiencing poverty. They are generous and brave testimonies delivered by citizens of whom we can be very proud indeed.

True citizenship must be based on equality and the accordance of equal value to every citizen, including a basic level of rights and participation.  There can be no room, in such a vision of citizenship, for the prevention of full participation due to poverty and discrimination.

There are challenges too to our administrative systems.  When people living in poverty are treated as numerical units or administrative cases; when they are forced to jump multiple and difficult hurdles in order to claim financial benefits to which they are entitled; too many occasions when they are required to navigate their way around overly complicated procedures and layers of red tape in order to avail of vital services, we insult and demean those amongst us who are guilty of nothing except living, day in day out, below the poverty line.

When a citizen experiencing poverty is not enabled to exercise their voice, or to claim their rights and entitlements, not empowered to enter into informed dialogue about decisions which affect their lives, rendered unable to defend themselves or to assert their opinion or to speak up and object when they feel their rights are being violated or ignored, or obstructed from access to an education that would open up windows of opportunity, they have been failed by a society that claims to operate on the principles of a democratic republic.

When strangers who arrive on our shores in need or difficulty are left in the uncertain limbo of direct provision for anything up to ten years, I am ashamed. When homeless families are forced to live in one hotel room devoid of cooking facilities, and subjected to a dehumanising set of rules and conditions; when others without a roof over their head are condemned to wander the streets by day, and desperately seek space in homeless shelters by night, we as a nation are failing to display the necessary spirit of humanity on which a democracy should be built.

On this important day, when we come together in solidarity with the poor across the world, let us consider how we treat those amongst us who are in difficulty or in need.  Let us pledge to strive to ensure that the common good will always be placed above narrow interests.  Let us also consider the many ways in which we can enable those living in poverty to make that life changing move from humiliation and exclusion to full participation in their society and their communities; a participation which will allow their voices to be heard and their possibilities to be realised.

We must, as a nation, continue to strive to deepen our understanding of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, ensuring that our policies focus on all aspects of poverty, including the shame, humiliation and social exclusion that so negatively impacts on the human dignity of citizens living in poverty.

Mar shaoránaigh de Dhomhain ina mbraithimid uile ar a chéile, caithfimid glacadh lenár ndualgaisí guth a thabhairt do na prionsabail sin ar mhór linn a fheiceáil i gceartlár ár dtoghchaí le chéile, agus gníomh a dhéanamh chun an fís sin a bhaint amach.

[We must also, as citizens of an interdependent world accept our obligations and duties to join forces across the globe in voicing and actioning the values we wish to see placed at the heart of our collective and global future.]

In conclusion, may I thank you sincerely for inviting me to attend this commemoration, to hear your enlightening stories and experiences, and to join you in expressing friendship and solidarity with people who live with poverty and social exclusion every day of the year in Dublin, in Ireland, in Europe and around the world.   Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

United Nations End Poverty Day Gathering
Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

Moving from Humiliation and Exclusion to Participation:Ending Poverty in All Its Forms

Message from Mr. Cassam Uteem, president of the International Movement ATD Fourth World, on the World Day for Overcoming Poverty 17 October 2016

This year’s theme for the World Day for Overcoming PovertyMoving from Humiliation and Exclusion to Participation:
 Ending Poverty in All Its Forms — is a reminder to all of us that, too often, humiliation and exclusion remain the lot of people living in extreme poverty.

Despite the enormous sacrifices that parents living in poverty have to make in order to meet the needs of their children, they do not always succeed in overcoming their difficulties. Often, these difficulties are compounded by a society that — without knowing or understanding what people really face — stigmatises, condescends, and passes judgement. We must eradicate the prejudice against the poor that feeds this type of behaviour.

To those who have felt demeaned, humiliated, and excluded, know that we stand by you in your struggle and we appreciate the courage you have shown in the face of unacceptable conditions. May this World Day help to renew your strength and your hope that, together, we will manage to break the vicious cycle of poverty. Sticking together and being able to count on one another will make us more capable of refusing to accept poverty and overcoming it.

To world leaders, it is important to emphasise that people in poverty are already actively engaged in improving the lives of those close to them. We must involve them in the design and implementation of projects intended to benefit people in poverty in particular. It is critical to listen to them in order to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, always bearing in mind the goal of leaving no one behind.

In our diverse world, mutual understanding and living amicably together are goals that we have to work at every day. They constantly require innovative measures. Ensuring the participation of those living in poverty is the key to that innovation so that they can not only influence policies concerning them, but also so that they are able to become partners in transforming our societies.

Any other approach is destined to fail, and is a waste of the intelligence of the people who have a unique experience of resistance and struggle. I am thinking of those children and young people deprived of access to education. I have also in mind those families with no choice but to live in places where their future is bleak and where they are denied work, training, or health care.

Ending poverty in all its forms means making it possible for every person to feel that his inalienable human rights are respected and his dignity recognised. All of us can enrich humanity through our knowledge, our spirituality, and our sense of usefulness to others. Each one of us should be an artisan, creating together a world that is more just and with a deeper sense of solidarity.

Find out more about the World Day for Overcoming Poverty.

Download Cassam Uteem’s message.

Mr Cassam Uteem, President of the International Movement ATD Fourth World