India joins ‘Alliance for Poverty Eradication’ at UN as founding member

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India has become a founding member of an Alliance for Poverty Eradication at the UN, launched by the President of the General Assembly, aimed at focussing on efforts to boost global economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande will formally launch the ‘Alliance for Poverty Eradication’ on June 30, which he said will serve as a forum for Member States to raise awareness about the danger that poverty poses to world peace, human rights and sustainable development.

He will also galvanise Member States, the international community and other stakeholders to support actions geared towards poverty eradication.

India has joined the alliance as a founding member and stressed that ending poverty is not just about monetary compensation but guaranteeing access of the poor to quality education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation, decent housing and social security.

“There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. Global inequality is deeply entrenched. It’s shocking to note that just a little over 2000 billionaires have more wealth than 60 per cent of the planet’s wealth,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu said.

Speaking at the informal meeting of the President of the General Assembly and members of the Alliance on Tuesday, Naidu said COVID-19 has added a new dimension to poverty, stressing that “poverty is like punishment for a crime that one did not commit.”

He stressed that the Alliance for Poverty Eradication should contribute to the policy discourse that seeks to analyse poverty from the perspective of multiple deprivations.

“For instance, people experience poverty differently even within the same household. While data is limited, there is evidence that women and children are disproportionately affected by poverty. Hence, gender mainstreaming is vital for policy design and implementation,” he said.

A concept note on the formation of the alliance with the UN said that it aims to provide a forum at which participants would deliberate on measures that need to be instituted so as to get the world economy working in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, canvass support for efforts that have proved effective in alleviating and ultimately eradicating poverty within and across the world’s regions.

The concept note said that before COVID-19 practically shut down socio-economic activities across the globe, the number of people classified as poor was approximately 2.1 billion. Of this number, 767 million were found to be living in extreme poverty.

“While the extent of the damage wrought by COVID-19 to world economy is yet to be determined, the pandemic threatens not only to erase past gains but also to force an additional half a billion of the world population into poverty,” the note said.

Naidu also emphasised that the alliance should call for inclusion and empowerment of those left behind as a priority, targeting those furthest behind. It should also brainstorm about sectors where jobs could be generated in the age of digitisation and automatisation and distribute successful case studies from member states that have successfully integrated economic, social and environmental policies that have helped in poverty alleviation.

“The alliance should also use the United Nations development system to enable it to bring together its special expertise and policy portfolios to focus on integrated system-wide action for poverty eradication,” Naidu said.

He pointed out that India is implementing a comprehensive development strategy based on a digital foundation to end poverty in all its forms, through accelerated economic growth and broader social safety nets. According to United Nations Development Programme, between 2006-2016 over 271 million people in India moved out of poverty, recording the fastest reductions in the multidimensional poverty index values during the period.

“Let’s join hands to make this alliance a leading voice for poverty eradication. Let’s work to bring dignity to life,” Naidu said.

The concept note said the alliance will ideally start with a nucleus of like-minded countries and move steadily to bring others on board and when fully operational, the alliance will be the leading voice for poverty eradication.

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