All Stakeholders Must Help Address Poverty

JAKARTA

Although no special event was organized during the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17, the government has declared its commitment to reducing the poverty rate.

To mark the day themed “Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace”, representatives of governments and civil society gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss how poverty violates fundamental rights.

They also called for the need to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and step up anti-poverty efforts.

The eight MDGs, agreed upon by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, aim to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.

“Poverty is easy to denounce but difficult to combat,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the occasion.

“Those suffering from hunger, want and indignity need more than sympathetic words; they need concrete support,” he added.

With fight against poverty being the core of the UN development agenda, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the UN General Assembly designated this day to promote awareness about the need to eradicate poverty and destitution across the world.

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova on the occasion noted that despite the global economic development, more than a billion people live in extreme poverty, which the World Bank defines as living on less than $1 a day.

“This situation is a violation of basic human rights and an obstacle to development,” she said.

Bokova stated that progress has been achieved in poverty eradication efforts, in light of the fact that extreme poverty has been reduced by 50 percent since 2000.

“This proves that with political will and the joint commitment of states, outcomes can be achieved. To succeed, we must redouble our efforts to combat new forms of poverty and social exclusion,” she said.

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York last month, during the meeting of the first High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as a co-chair of the panel, presented his concept titled “Sustainable Growth With Equity”.

When explaining the concept, he said economic growth must not rely heavily on the exploitation of natural resources, adding that the main objective of development is to end poverty and improve living standards.

“Our ultimate goal for the post-2015 developing agenda is to end world poverty and to improve the well-being of our citizens. It is also clear that the agenda must be built on the Millennium Development Goals¿ achievements as it sets new goals and targets,” President Yudhoyono told a joint press conference after the meeting.

The Indonesian government has implemented various programmes, grouped under four clusters, in its effort to alleviate poverty.

“The four clusters are expected to improve the quality and livelihood of the people of Indonesia in a fair and equitable manner,” the President said in his state of the nation address during a plenary session at the House of Representatives on August 16 this year.

He noted that the first cluster involved Direct Assistance of Rice for Poor Families (Raskin), School Operation Assistance Funds (BOS), and Family-Based Poverty Alleviation programmes.

According to the head of state, the second cluster deals with the implementation of National Programme for Independent People’s Empowerment (PNPM Mandiri), while the third cluster includes development of micro, small and medium enterprises through People Business Credit (KUR) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

President Yudhoyono said the fourth cluster comprised “inexpensive housing programme, provision of inexpensive public transportation facilities, equitable distribution of clean water and electricity, the welfare of fishermen, as well as of poor people in urban areas”.

Indonesian Minister for National Development Planning Armida Alisjahbana, who is also the Chairperson of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) said at the opening ceremony of the 6th International Poverty Reduction and Development Forum, held in Beijing on October 17, that the indicators of progress in development and poverty reduction efforts could ¿not be gauged by economic growth alone, but by poor people¿s access to proper food, clothing, shelter, education, health care and other daily needs¿.

“Poverty in itself is a multi-dimensional issue that needs to be addressed by all stakeholders and supported with pro-poor policies and economic mechanisms,” she stated.

Approximately 31.02 million people live below the poverty line in Indonesia, constituting nearly 14 percent of the country¿s total population. Meanwhile, the number of people living below the poverty line in coastal areas of Indonesia has reached 7.87 million, accounting for 25.14 percent of the total number of people living below the poverty line.

According to Indonesian Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al-Jufri, 19 ministries have been assigned to deal with poverty eradication efforts.

The minister said Indonesia has 24 types of social welfare problems that affect some 100 million people.

“The number of abandoned children is about 22 million, while there are 2.8 million abandoned elderly people,” he pointed out.

“If everyone has solidarity and feels the responsibility to address the problem, it won’t be too difficult to tackle it,” Salim stated.

Filed under: The Nation

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