The economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global monetary show a real challenge to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of ending poverty by 2030. Poverty is not solely an economic issue, but rather a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses a lack of both income and the basic capabilities to live in dignity. Persons living in poverty experience many interrelated and mutually reinforcing deprivations that prevent them from realising their rights and perpetuate their poverty, including: dangerous work conditions, unsafe housing, lack of nutritious food, unequal access to justice, lack of political power, and limited access to health care.
This year marks the 27th Anniversary of the declaration by the United Nations’ General Assembly, in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992, of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This day aims to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries. Its commemoration each year demonstrates how we can achieve greater participation by enabling young people from all walks of life to come together to respect the human rights and dignity of people living in poverty.
The theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2020 is “Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all” and it addresses the challenge of achieving social and environmental justice for all. The growing recognition of the multi-dimensionality of poverty means that these two issues are inseparably intertwined, and that social justice cannot be fully realised without aggressively rectifying environmental injustices at the same time. Whereas, progress has been made in addressing income poverty, there has been less success in addressing the other important dimensions of poverty, including the rapidly growing impact of the environment, within a more holistic approach.
There is no denying that poverty is a social struggle and affects communities far and wide with impacts on single people and whole cities. With rising awareness in recent decades there are now more steps than ever being taken towards the eradication of poverty and the assistance and inclusion of those struggling with poverty towards being a part of the solution. The complexity of poverty is now better understood due to increased cultural awareness and sympathy with true connection and motion towards a solution.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), understand the importance of public awareness, and the active participation of young people living in extreme poverty in the decision making processes. The participation, knowledge, contributions, and experience of young people living in poverty and those left behind is valued, respected, and reflected in our efforts to build an equitable and sustainable world in which there is social and environmental justice for all. We believe that young people should be engaged in representing the voice of the people who are in need.
As the world commemorates the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we call on youth and other stakeholders from all countries to actively work to support the world most vulnerable. We urge young people to join the #EndPoverty global campaign and promote the call to action in order to connect with others who have joined the fight to overcome poverty worldwide.