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Poverty goes beyond lack of food, shelter, healthcare — UNGA President

President of the United Nations General Assembly, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, says poverty is beyond lack of access to food, shelter, healthcare and sanitation.

He stated this in a message on Thursday to mark the 2019 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

According to him, poverty includes “a persistent feeling of distress and hopelessness, declining self-esteem, social exclusion, and exclusion from decision-making structures, and unequal access to justice”.

“We have the means to eradicate poverty; it is simply a matter of getting the policies right.

“We must address the underlying causes of poverty within and across countries,” Muhammad-Bande said.

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He identified the drivers of poverty as corruption, conflict, cross-border crime, extreme climate changes, and a shortfall in financing for development.

He urged member states to rededicate themselves to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development geared towards poverty eradication.

Muhammad-Bande, however, noted that the world had made progress in lifting people out of poverty.

“Today, there are fewer people living in slums; and more people than ever before, have access to electricity but 10 per cent of our population lives in extreme poverty.

“This year, the International Day focuses on Acting Together to Empower Children, their Families and Communities to End Poverty.

“Poverty disproportionately affects children. One out of five children in the world today lives in poverty,” he stated.

The UNGA president identified specific measures to be taken to end poverty including equal access education, which he said had the potential to chart a course out of poverty for children.

“If economic growth is to be sustainable, it must be inclusive. Investing in women’s empowerment is a direct investment into the development of societies.

“Deepening inequalities are detrimental to economic growth and social cohesion.

“We have, through Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, agreed on the ambitious Goal of eradicating poverty.

“We will soon enter into the Decade of Implementation. My role is to mobilise stronger commitment to action to lift people out of poverty.

“We must mobilise resources to raise the $2.6 trillion required to reduce inequalities to promote conflict prevention and sustain peace

“I am confident that by striving together, we will succeed in delivering for all. We should get on with this critically important task,” he said. (NAN)