NIGERIA has been elected as the United Nations (UN) coordinator of the newly-launched poverty eradication group aimed at confronting complex and the multi-sided challenges posed by socio-economic under-development.
Known as the poverty capital of the world, Nigeria has 78m people living on less than $2 a day, the benchmark for determining extreme poverty. To combat the menace, the UN has created this new group to look at ways in which poverty can be eradicated and Nigeria has been asked to chair it.
Yesterday, Tijjani Muhammad Bande, the president of the United Nations General Assembly, said that poverty was the most formidable obstacle to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Speaking at the formal inauguration of the group at a High-Level Meeting on Poverty Eradication Strategies in New York, Mr Bande lamented that poverty has become a blot on humanity’s conscience, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation.
With Nigeria being elected to chair the group, it will now be headed by the charge d’affaires of the permanent mission to the United Nations Ambassador Samson Itegboje. Mr Bande said that with 30 founding member-states and still growing, the Alliance for Poverty Eradication is a signature event.
Mr Bande said: “Before the onset of the pandemic, 2.1bn people were classified as poor globally, with 767m living in extreme poverty. It is estimated that by the year 2030, more than 100m people would have relapsed into poverty, due to Covid-19 and climate change.
“This alliance should provide a mechanism for interrogating the poverty challenge from all possible, or at least, multi-disciplinary, angles. There is no amount of time and attention given to poverty eradication that is too much.”
Mr Itegboje added: “Evidence indicates that poverty is the foundation of most social vices and crimes, such as terrorism, illegal migration, conflicts, violent extremism, intolerance, fraudulent practices, exclusion, piracy, human trafficking, drug trafficking and abuse and corrupt practices both in high and low places.”
He explained that the Alliance for Poverty Eradication must offer hope and clearly point the world in the right direction, particularly coming at a time when the dismantling of economic activities globally as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is projected to revise gains already made in the achievement of the 2030 agenda as well as push additional half a billion people into extreme poverty. Mr Itegboje noted that it was against this background that his delegation wished to stress that time was ripe for the international community to develop structures and strategies to address the scourge of poverty.