UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the international
community to join in the struggle against poverty and make this
"moral challenge of the present age" a calling for the many,
instead of a task for the few.
The UN chief made the appeal in a message for the 14th
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty which falls on
The UN chief noted that this year's theme "Working together out
of poverty" highlights the need for a truly global anti-poverty
alliance, which calls for the active participation of both
developed and developing countries.
The world has made real but insufficient progress towards the
Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Annan said, noting while
extreme poverty declined significantly between 1990 and 2002 from
28 percent to 19 percent of the developing world's population,
progress has been uneven both within and between regions and
In much of Asia, economic and social progress has lifted nearly
a quarter of a billion people out of perpetual poverty. But poverty
rates in Western Asia and Northern Africa have remained stagnant.
While the transition economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia
have registered increases, sub-Saharan Africa lags far behind, with
the region unlikely to meet the MDG of halving extreme poverty by
2015, the Secretary-General said.
Annan stressed that more needs to be done to tackle poverty and
underdevelopment. He urged developed nations to come through on
their Official Development Assistance and debt relief commitments,
and developing nations, for their part, to adopt national
strategies to achieve the MDG.
For developing countries already on track to achieve the Goals,
they can aim higher by adopting even more ambitious targets, Annan
The UN chief deplored that "global partnership for development
"remains more phrase than fact. He urged all key development
actors, governments, the private sector, civil society and people
living in poverty, to undertake a truly collective anti-poverty
effort that will lift living standards and alleviate human
In 1992, the UN General Assembly declared Oct. 17 the
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The observance
aims to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty in all
countries, particularly in developing countries.
(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2006)