Statement by Trust CEO for the International Day of Eradication of Poverty 2018 MM
2018 Theme“Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity”
The 2018 Theme for the United Nations International day for the Eradication of Poverty which falls on 17th October, resonates with the work that the Southern Africa Trust is passionately undertaking across the SADC region. Southern Africa is home to the continent’s second biggest economy, yet the majority of its 300 million citizens, particularly women and youth continue to live in abject poverty and in conditions that make it one of the most unequal societies globally.
The Southern Africa Trust conducted a research on experiences and challenges of women in the Agriculture and Trade Sector in the SADC region- Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. 120 Farmers and 120 Traders were interviewed.
The work of the Trust entails contributing to the reversal of these trends through supporting regional and national level efforts to end poverty, reduce inequality, and unemployment through support to civil society, the private sector and governments. In this regard, we join the United Nations and the global community in commemorating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. More interesting is the fact that this commemoration also mark 70 years of the existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One may ask, why should this be significant?
In today’s globalised world characterised by democracy, human rights and rule of law, it is imperative to understand that Poverty and Human Rights are inseparable. Our world would be a better place where we place human rights at the centre of all developmental processes. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals epitomise the need to look at deprivation of development initiatives as infringement on the rights of people. For instance, it is the right of people to participate in the economy, have decent work, good health, good education, adequate housing, food and safe water. In our view, therefore, Goal 1 which aims to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” and its seven associated targets, is a basis for the attainment of the other 16 Goals, all of which carry human rights elements.
The process of strengthening the link between poverty eradication and human rights can be more meaningful if we strengthen mechanisms which enable consultation with local communities to ensure ownership and localization of the development agenda. In this regard, multi-stakeholder participation is very critical to ensure that there are no gaps in implementation of poverty eradication measures with a human rights approach. The role that the Trust has effectively demonstrated goes to show the importance of involving various Civil Society Organisations and Social Movements in the shaping and monitoring of poverty reduction strategies, and the importance of empowerment of stakeholders to achieve the goal. In that way, our quest to leave no one behind will become more meaningful because of the strength the CSOs have in reaching out to the people that are less privileged at community levels where engagement is mostly needed. This is even more critical when one considers the need for Governments to undertake Voluntary National Reviews which demand multi-stakeholder engagement and consultations with local communities to ensure ownership and localization of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
As we look into the future, we need to accelerate the pace at which programmes are implemented to eradicate poverty. The only way to ensure that this is done within the framework of 2030 is to emphasise the centrality of human rights in all programming systems. On their part, the International Cooperating Partners should also live up to their commitments to provide adequate resources for this cause. We at the Southern Africa Trust stand ready to support the systems to deliver on the promise made in September 2015 in New York, through the signing up to the commitments by the Member States to the 17 Goals and 169 targets, to achieve “The Future We Want”.