The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is an international observance celebrated each year on October 17 throughout the world. The first commemoration, “World Day to Overcome Poverty” took place in Paris, France, in 1987 when 100,000 people gathered on the Human Rights and Liberties Plaza at the Trocadéro to honour victims of poverty, hunger, violence, and fear at the unveiling of a commemorative stone by Joseph Wresinski, founder of the International Movement ATD Fourth World. In 1992, four years after Wresinski’s death, the United Nations officially designated October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The October 17 Commemorative Stone, that Father Joseph Wisinski unveiled at the Trocadero Plaza in 1987 is recognised as a symbol of humanity which enshrines his words Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights are respected is our solemn duty.
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty promotes dialogue and understanding between people living in poverty and their communities, and society at large. “It represents an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard and a moment to recognise that poor people are at the forefront in the fight against poverty.” (United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General, A/61/308, para. 58).
Poverty in the Current Day
In 2021, an estimated 698 million people are living in extreme poverty, up from 1.1 billion people in 2010 and almost two billion in 1990. The number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to fall in 2021.
China and India experienced the greatest national reductions in people living in extreme poverty between 2010 and 2021, while 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa experienced increases. Yemen saw the highest increase in people living in extreme poverty between 2010 and 2021.
As we enter the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) decade of delivery, essential poverty data remains out of date. We have taken income distribution data from the World Bank’s PovcalNet and multiplied incomes by 85% of the forecasted GDP per capita growth rates.
- According to estimates, 698 million people, or 9% of the world’s population, would be living in severe poverty in 2021, which is defined as having a daily income of less than $1.90. More than one-fifth of the world’s population (1,803 million people) and more than two-fifths (3,293 million people) live on less than $5.50 a day, respectively.
- Due to the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent worldwide economic collapse, an estimated 50 million more people lived in extreme poverty between 2019 and 2020. As the world economy began to recover in 2021, the number of people living in severe poverty is thought to have decreased; nonetheless, there are still thought to be eight million more people living in poverty now than there were in 2019.