Today, 17th October 2019 marks yet another moment when we commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty as instituted by the declaration of the United Nations General Assembly, in its Resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992. This year, the day is commemorated under the Theme: “Acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty”, primarily because poverty hurts children’s development and, in turn, leads to lower income due to inability to have proper education, as well as, being subjected to numerous health hazards.
Children are the leaders of tomorrow, and the future belongs to them. We therefore, must endeavour to pursue policies, which ensure that the rights of children are protected. There should also be deliberate initiatives to ensure that children and their families and communities are empowered.
Children constitute almost one-third of the global population. With rapid population growth, they are one of the most vulnerable, marginalized and forgotten group of people. Statistics show that a staggering 47 per cent of the global population that struggle to survive on less than US$1.25 a day are 18 years old or younger, and are over-represented among those living in multi-dimensional poverty. Furthermore, children represent more than half of the current refugee population. Thus, the call for action to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty comes at an opportune time when the world marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on 20 November 1989, which sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.In particular, the Convention recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
Poverty eradication remains at the top of SADC agenda. SADC reiterates its commitment to tackle poverty within the framework of the regional development strategy, with special focus on the rights of a child.
I would like to express my profound appreciation to the United Nations for ensuring 2019 has special focus on the participation of children in the sustainable development initiatives. May I take this opportunity to call upon the global community to support this initiative as an integral part of their development agenda and recognize and support the important roles children, as future leaders, can play by sharing and applying the valuable knowledge they have acquired from their personal daily struggle to overcome poverty, which would help to shape the path to sustainable development for a better world.