NEWS CENTRE

Stand Up Against Poverty: October 16-18

As we approach the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17, readers are encouraged to increase their awareness of the impact of extreme poverty, to reflect on the lives of those struggling with its effects, and to consider involvement in the global campaign, Stand Up Against Poverty.

Poverty eradication is an ethical, social, political and economic imperative. It is critical that the issue is acknowledged by governments and society and, in so doing, address the root causes of poverty, provide for basic needs and ensure that the poor have access to all that is needed for future development. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly restated that the greatest global challenge is the eradication of poverty and proclaimed the Second UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-17).

See the Faces Beyond the Facts
More than one billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day. Poverty in the developing world, however, goes far beyond income poverty. It means having to walk more than one mile everyday simply to collect water and firewood; it means suffering diseases that were eradicated from rich countries decades ago.

HUNGER: More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day… 300 million are children.
WATER: More than 2.6 billion people – over 40 per cent of the world’s population – do not have basic sanitation, and more than one billion people still use unsafe sources of drinking water.
AGRICULTURE: In 1960, Africa was a net exporter of food; today the continent imports one-third of its grain.
HEALTH:
Every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday.

REFLECTION
As we approach International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17, readers are invited to consider the impact of extreme poverty and to reflect on the insights of Jeffrey Sachs.

Jeffrey Sachs presents the underlying issues, the facts, the impact of world poverty and most importantly the faces of poverty in his book The End of Poverty. The following are some excerpts from his book.

“Currently more than eight million people around the world die each year because they are too poor to stay alive. Our generation can choose to end that extreme poverty by the year 2025. They die namelessly, without public comment.

Our generation’s challenge is to help the poorest of the poor to escape the misery of extreme poverty so that they may begin their own ascent up the ladder of economic development. The end of poverty, in this sense, is not only the end of extreme suffering but also the beginning of economic progress and of the hope and security that accompany economic development.

The bank of international justice is not bankrupt. The world’s poor cannot accept a bad check marked insufficient funds, especially when it is painfully clear that the funds are ample and even residing in the accounts of a few hundred of the… superrich…

Raise the Voice of the Poor:
Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jnr, did not wait for the rich and powerful to come to their rescue. They asserted their call to justice and made their stand in the face of official arrogance and neglect. The poor cannot wait for the rich to issue the call to justice…The world needs to hear more.

Let the future say of our generation that we sent forth mighty currents of hope, and that we worked together to heal the world.”

Sachs, Jeffrey, The End of Poverty, 2005

ACTION
People across the world are called to action to highlight the issue of poverty and work for the elimination of extreme poverty. Join the global movement Stand Up Against Poverty on the weekend of October 16-18. In 2008, 116 million people ‘stood up and took action’. Will you join the 2009 campaign?

FURTHER INFORMATION

Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au