Remarks by Ms. Kiki Gbeho UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative at International Day for for Eradication of Poverty ‘Moving from Humiliation and Exclusion to Participation: Ending Poverty In All Its Forms’

Oct 7, 2016

I am pleased to be in Groot Aub with colleagues from the United Nations, the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare and the NGO community, to observe this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  


People of Groot-Aub,


Before I read the statement of the UN SG, allow me say just a few words on poverty.


In 1987, 100,000 people gathered in France to honor those living in extreme poverty. Five years later in 1992, the UN declared the 17th of October the “International Day of Poverty Eradication”. And ever since, this date has been observed, to remind the world, that we still have unfinished business when it comes to poverty.


And whether you define poverty as not having enough food to eat or access to services; or as living on less than a US$1.90 a day; or as the denial of choices and opportunities; or a violation of human dignity; poverty is “the world’s most ruthless killer and the greatest cause of suffering on earth”.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Precisely for these reasons, in the year 2000, the world adopted The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These Goals achieved remarkable results when it comes to poverty eradication. The MDGs, are credited with mobilizing global action to reduce the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by half, from 26% to 13% between 2002 and 20121.


Capitalizing on the momentum built, the new Sustainable Development Goals, were adopted last year. These new Goals call for global action to eradicate poverty, save the planet and ensure prosperity for all by the year 2030.


Here in Namibia, His Excellency the President, has launched a war on poverty, elaborated the Harambee Prosperity Plan and has challenged us to ensure that by 2020 poverty will be eradicated and that no Namibian will feel ‘left out’.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

When it comes to development, we in the UN never tire of acknowledging Namibia’s good stories. Namibia ranks number 4 in Africa in terms of gender parity in parliament[1]; number 1 in Africa in terms of press freedom and over 90% of all Namibian children go to school. Namibia has registered a 50% reduction in HIV infections, 84% of the population has access clean water[2]; and Namibia is considered a leader in effecting one of the fastest reductions in poverty rates on the continent.

However, despite such remarkable progress, Namibia still faces a number of challenges. 27% of the population approximately 600,000 people are estimated to live in poverty[3]. Poverty levels are highest in rural areas as compared to the urban parts of Namibia. Female-headed households, pensioners and subsistence farmers with no formal education, are less advantaged[4].  The unemployment rate stands at 28.1% with the majority of that number being the youth[5].


Ladies and gentlemen, we still have work to do.


Therefore, each year, on the 17th October we in the UN, your partner of choice pause to stand in solidarity with those who still live in poverty.


We pause, to listen and to reflect and most important to re commit to the fight against poverty.


So in conclusion, allow me to quote one of the greatest statesmen this continent has ever produced Nelson Mandela who said "As long as poverty, and inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest." 


Now allow me to read a message from the UN Secretary General



U N I T E D   N A T I O N S                                   N A T I O N S   U N I E S





17 October 2016


We are approaching the end of the first year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  With its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda is a universal vision for peace, prosperity and dignity for all people on a healthy planet.  Achieving this objective is inconceivable without fulfilling the mandate of SDG 1 to end poverty in all its forms.


Today, some 1 billion people live in extreme poverty and more than 800 million endure hunger and malnutrition.  But poverty is not simply measured by inadequate income.  It is manifested in restricted access to health, education and other essential services and, too often, by the denial or abuse of other fundamental human rights. 


Poverty is both a cause and consequence of marginalization and social exclusion.  To fulfil the promise of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind, we must address the humiliation and exclusion of people living in poverty.


Humiliation and exclusion are powerful drivers of social unrest and, in extreme cases, the violent extremism that is troubling so many parts of our world.  But, in most instances, people living in poverty respond to these societal ills with stoic resilience as they work to escape the degrading reality of their daily lives.


The duty of all Governments and societies is to address systemic socio-economic inequalities and facilitate the engagement of all people living in extreme poverty so they can help themselves, their families and their communities to build a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous future for all. 


The message of today’s observance is “Moving from Humiliation and Exclusion to Participation: Ending Poverty in All its Forms”.  We must break down the walls of poverty and exclusion that plague so many people in every region of the world.  We must build inclusive societies that promote participation by all.  We must ensure the voices of all those living in poverty are heard.


On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, let us listen to and heed the voices of people living in poverty.  Let us commit to respect and defend the human rights of all people and end the humiliation and social exclusion that people living in poverty face every day by promoting their involvement in global efforts to end extreme poverty once and for all.


[1] Inter-Parliamentary Union “Women in national parliaments as at 1 August 2015” 

[2] 2015 Namibia MDG report 

[3] Namibia MDG Interim Report, 2013

[4] Namibia MDG Interim Report, 2013

[5] National Planning Commission, 2015

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