Fighting poverty

Updated: 2011-10-18 08:02

(China Daily)

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Since it was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1993, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year on Oct 17.

It is intended to promote awareness of the need to eradicate the poverty caused by sanctions, war, disasters, discrimination and wealth centralization, particularly in developing countries.

At the UN Millennium Summit, world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration, comprising eight goals, of which the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger was the first priority. They committed themselves to halving the proportion of the world's people whose income is less than $1 a day by the year 2015.

Since the 1990s, the number of people living in extreme poverty has been falling, and the rates continue to fall.

However, the unprecedented 2008 global financial crisis, which originated in the United States and engulfed the world, and the current debt crises have focused the attention of many governments on bank bailouts and deficit reductions, resulting in the poor in the least developing countries being neglected.

To help impoverished people shake off poverty should not be seen as a burdensome task for developed countries, even though a number of them are struggling with huge financial deficits, and high unemployment.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is an opportunity to remind developed countries to make good on their promise and earmark 0.15 to 0.2 percent of their Gross National Product (GNP) for official development assistance (ODA) to the least developed countries.

Every human being deserves a decent life and the theme for this year's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is "From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Center of Inclusive Development".

The ultimate goal of development is to improve the livelihoods of all people, rather than some. Besides accessing assistance, people living in poverty should be included in decision-making processes, no matter within a country or in the international community. This is the essence of inclusive development.

The eradication of poverty is of great complexity, which needs global efforts and a brand-new development pattern. People living in poverty are more vulnerable to challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation. In addition, global inflation and rising food prices also threaten the livelihoods and survival of the poor.

China intends to raise its poverty line of $1 per capita net income a day as soon as possible, as it is comparatively low compared with the international standard of $1.25.

But it has already made great progress in poverty alleviation with the number of the poor in the country dropping from 64.31 million in 2006 to 26.88 million in 2010.

(China Daily 10/18/2011 page8)