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Official speeches and statements - October 18, 2019

Published on October 18, 2019

1. United Nations - International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2019 - "Acting together to empower children, their parents and communities to end poverty" - Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations (New York - October 17, 2019)

Dear friends, and I truly feel we are among friends here, thank you for this beautiful commemoration. You made it special.

Last year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty had a special significance as 2018 was the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, it also has a special significance as we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I would like first to express my thanks to ATD Fourth World for being at the initiative of this important annual event. I also would like to thank the Permanent Mission of Burkina Faso to the United Nations as well as our many partners.

In particular, I would like to extend my gratitude to each of you who are here today, children, parents, community leaders and all other participants. I know that most of you came from far away. It is a great show of mobilization. Your presence and your voices, and in particular the young voices we have heard, bring much hope and encouragement. I was also very moved by your songs and by your testimonies, and, maybe because I am also a single mother, by the powerful words of Ms. Madden.

I would like to stress two points in echo to what has already been eloquently said by speakers before me:

I/ First, this event takes place one month after Heads of States and of Governments have reaffirmed their commitments to all SDGs starting with the first, the eradication of poverty. We all know that all SDGs are interlinked, and as we are engaged in a race against poverty, we are now engaged also in a race against time. If we want to achieve the goals by 2030, we must find ways of speeding up progress and of making the "new decade of action" announced by the Secretary General a success.

II/ Progress has been made. However—and this will be my second message—much more remains to be done. Figures speak by themselves: today, more than 700 million people and one out of five children live in extreme poverty. Only 35 per cent of children worldwide enjoy effective access to social protection. Most alarmingly, the current trends indicate that 6% of the world population will still live in extreme poverty by 2030. We must reverse the trend and keep the promises of Agenda 2030. And to that end, I would like to reaffirm the commitment of the French government to eradicate poverty and, in particular, to eradicate children’s poverty.

The reduction of inequalities at the national and international levels is indeed a fundamental priority that France is determined to pursue. Great economists, and notably the recent Nobel Prize Esther Duflo, a French compatriot, have highlighted how important that is if we want to bring about the global transformation that is needed to achieve, in the true sense, global and sustainable development. I believe it is the key to achieve the peaceful, inclusive and just societies that we all want our children to live in, that I would like my children to live in. In the context of the G7 presidency, President Macron encouraged the development of partnerships, notably with African countries, and with key players of civil society to tackle social and environmental inequalities. At the national level, France unveiled last year an 8 billion euro anti-poverty plan in which improving the life of children born into low-income families is one of the key priorities. This will be achieved through very concrete measures including new childcare facilities and subsidized school lunches.

Dear friends, to conclude,

Victor Hugo, the great French author of books such as Les Misérables and Notre Dame de Paris, which if you are a student you may have heard of, once wrote "c’est de l’enfer des pauvres qu’est fait le paradis des riches": it is from the hell of the poor that the paradise of the rich is made. Let’s work hard together to make sure this becomes a lie and a reality of the past.

Thank you.