Battle to eradicate poverty is "mother" of battles, says UN envoy
United Nations – Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – Statement by France’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations¹
New York, 17 October 2018
It is such an honour for my team – Hayet Zeggar in particular – and for me to be here with you this afternoon on this very special and important occasion.
As we today celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we are, as was eloquently said by the Secretary-General, at the very heart of what the UN is all about. Indeed, the fight for the eradication of poverty is the mother of our common fights for peace, for development and for human rights and dignity. This is the key to everything. That’s why the eradication of poverty is front and centre for us all and for the United Nations.
In the same spirit, we are gathered here today not only to pay tribute to the victims of extreme poverty, but to hear their voice and their message. Because they are, because you are, key partners for peace, for development and for human rights and dignity. We just can’t make it collectively without you. And we need you to succeed on these various fronts. This is the core of my message today.
I am so sorry I will also have to leave, with the Secretary-General, to attend the Security Council meeting in a few minutes, but I’d like to thank the Secretary-General not only for his inspiring words but also for his day-to-day commitment to the fight that you hold so dear. We are working very closely together and when Mr Guterres was the head of the UNHCR, it was the same – this fight was at the core of his priorities.
I would also especially like to thank the NGO ATD Fourth World without whom this commemoration would simply not have taken place. ATD Fourth World’s commitment to the eradication of poverty is a source of inspiration and admiration for all of us, and certainly for me. And the team here is really the dream team in the fight we are all committed to. I warn you, never say no to them, it is impossible.
More broadly, France has always been and will always remain a partner to the NGOs fighting against extreme poverty.
I also want to express my warm thanks to my colleague from Burkina Faso, H.E. Mr Yemdaogo Eric Tiare, to the teams of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, to the NGO Committee for Social Development and to the International Committee for 17 October for their invaluable support in organizing this event, but also more importantly for their exemplary commitment.
France’s battle against poverty at the United Nations took a new start in 1989 when the “Human Rights and Extreme Poverty” resolution was adopted by the Human Rights Commission.
Ever since, France has been constantly assisting any enterprise aimed at reducing extreme poverty worldwide to ensure that everyone can fully enjoy their human rights.
This year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has a special significance, as 2018 is also the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in Paris on 10 December 1948. The right to a decent life and human rights are indeed inextricably linked. In that vein, the stress must now be put on vulnerable populations so we can make sure everyone enjoys his or her rights to the fullest.
As 800 million people were living under the poverty threshold in 2017, it should come as no surprise that the United Nations has made the eradication of extreme poverty one of the pillars of its Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
I will conclude by saying that you can count on France, on President Macron and on me here in New York to stay at the forefront of international efforts in this existential fight for each and every one of us. If we truly partner with those who know first-hand what extreme poverty means on a day-to-day basis, then we will win together this battle./.
¹ The Permanent Representative spoke in English.