Message from Judith Karl, UNCDF Executive Secretary, on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2016

  • October 17, 2016

  • New York, USA

The theme of this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is "Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all its forms".

It reminds us that eradicating poverty remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Globally, 767 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, many lacking access to adequate food, clean drinking water and sanitation. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men due to unequal access to paid work, education, and property.

The theme of this day also reminds us that ending poverty in all its forms – the first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals endorsed a little over a year ago as part of the 2030 Agenda - will not be achieved by waiting for rising averages. We need approaches that specifically target and prioritize the so-called last mile – and this includes not only the poorest of the poor, but also the household, sub-national, and small enterprises that are under-served and excluded, where development needs are greatest, and where resources are most scarce. We also need explicitly to target and prioritize investments that address the factors that exclude those left behind and that empower poor women and men to participate more fully in their country’s development and build a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

For UNCDF, this means making finance work for poor people. We make sure that development finance is reaching local economies, poor households, and stressed localities, and putting in place incentives that attract finance to where it will have greatest impact for excluded localities and populations. In shifting the dynamics of how resources are allocated, UNCDF has a special focus on the world’s Least Developed Countries, and the last mile within those countries. Many LDCs rely heavily on ODA for external financing, can face difficulties in mobilizing additional investments for development, and will require significant resources to achieve the SDGs. And because of market failures – such as perceptions of high risk, low returns, or weak local level accountability - investments in LDCs do not always flow to where needs are greatest.

This makes it important to use ODA in ways that de-risk the last mile and crowds-in public and private resources – especially at the domestic level. Specifically, UNCDF demonstrates how strong public/private partnerships can unlock resources at the local level with public resources – including ODA – laying the groundwork for private investment.

On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, UNCDF recommits to using its capital mandate to help build more inclusive, equitable, and fairer societies. And, in doing that, it commits to helping to end poverty in all its forms.