Background of the Day


The ob­ser­vance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to 17 October 1987. On that day, over a hun­dred thou­sand peo­ple gath­ered at the Trocadéro Plaza in Paris, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948, to ho­n­our the vic­tims of ex­treme pover­ty, vi­o­lence and hunger. They pro­claimed that pover­ty is a vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights and af­firmed the need to come to­geth­er to en­sure that these rights are re­spect­ed. These con­vic­tions are in­scribed in a com­mem­o­ra­tive stone un­veiled on this day. Since then, peo­ple of all back­grounds, be­liefs and so­cial ori­gins have gath­ered every year on October 17th to re­new their com­mit­ment and show their sol­i­dar­i­ty with peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty. Replicas of the com­mem­o­ra­tive stone have been un­veiled around the world and serve as a gath­er­ing place to cel­e­brate the Day. One such repli­ca is lo­cat­ed in the gar­den of United Nations Headquarters and is the site of the an­nu­al com­mem­o­ra­tion or­ga­nized by the United Nations Secretariat in New York.

Through res­o­lu­tion 47/196 adopt­ed on 22 December 1992, the General Assembly de­clared 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and in­vit­ed all States to de­vote the Day to pre­sent­ing and pro­mot­ing, as ap­pro­pri­ate in the na­tion­al con­text, con­crete ac­tiv­i­ties with re­gard to the erad­i­ca­tion of pover­ty and des­ti­tu­tion. The res­o­lu­tion fur­ther in­vites in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal and non-governmental or­ga­ni­za­tions to as­sist States, at their re­quest, in or­ga­niz­ing na­tion­al ac­tiv­i­ties for the ob­ser­vance of the Day, and re­quests the Secretary-General to take, with­in ex­ist­ing re­sources, the mea­sures nec­es­sary to en­sure the suc­cess of the Day’s ob­ser­vance by the United Nations.

October 17th presents an op­por­tu­ni­ty to ac­knowl­edge the ef­fort and strug­gle of peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty, a chance for them to make their con­cerns heard, and a mo­ment to rec­og­nize that peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty are the first ones to fight against pover­ty. Participation of peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty them­selves has been at the cen­ter of the Day’s cel­e­bra­tion since its very be­gin­ning. The com­mem­o­ra­tion of October 17 th al­so re­flects the will­ing­ness of peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty to use their ex­per­tise to con­tribute to the erad­i­ca­tion of pover­ty.

Observance of the Day in 2016

The United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be ob­served in the United Nations and nu­mer­ous places around the world.  The key com­mem­o­ra­tions are held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and the Trocadéro Plaza in Paris, where the first Commemoration was held.

Each year, a theme is se­lect­ed in con­sul­ta­tion with ac­tivists, civ­il so­ci­ety and non-governmental or­ga­ni­za­tions to high­light key chal­lenges in the fight to erad­i­cate ex­treme pover­ty which will be the sub­ject of dis­cus­sion by all at the var­i­ous com­mem­o­ra­tions around the world. This year, the theme is: “Moving from hu­mil­i­a­tion and ex­clu­sion to par­tic­i­pa­tion: Ending pover­ty in all its forms”.  To pro­vide some guid­ance to or­ga­niz­ers of com­mem­o­ra­tive events about the key el­e­ments of the theme, the International Committee for October 17 has is­sued a Concept Note which can be down­loaded us­ing the fol­low­ing links:

concept-note-17-october-2016-en_page_1           note-explicative-17-octobre-2016-final_page_1