Oct 3, 2011, 1:58 PM
October 17th was set aside as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty by the UN General Assembly, and has been observed every year, since 1993, by the international community.
The day was designated to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries - a need that has become a development priority.
At the Millennium Summit, world leaders committed themselves to cutting by half by the year 2015 the number of people living in extreme poverty, that is, people whose income is less than one dollar a day.
Nonetheless, more and more people around the world are still living in abject poverty, mostly in developing countries such as ours.
Monday 17th October presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty.
Participation of the poor themselves has been at the center of the day’s celebration, since its very beginning.
The commemoration of 17th October is also a moment for reflection as to how well people are doing to end poverty.
It is an opportunity for us to do more in helping people living in poverty, and to use our expertise to contribute to the eradication of poverty.
The theme for 2011 is: “From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development”.
With just a few years to the MDGs deadline, it is critical to draw attention to the importance of poverty eradication for building sustainable futures for all.
People living in poverty face increasingly difficult challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation and rising food prices, which threaten their livelihoods and survival.
The path to sustainable development must ensure that people living in poverty are included in decision-making processes, and that concrete action is taken to respond to their needs and demands.
Just like the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “together let us listen to people - and stand up for their hopes and aspirations. That is how we will build a world free of poverty.”
We believe that by listening to these people, working with them, we can help improve their living conditions.
According to some analysts, the level of poverty is on the increase in The Gambia, despite various interventions by government and development partners.
To us, this means that we need to redouble our efforts and refocus our approach towards national development.
So many people in this country are living on less than one dollar a day. And we as a country must do more for these disadvantaged persons in our midst.