Population Matters

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is celebrated annually on 17 October. It aims to make the voices of the poorest of society heard.

When the day was marked for the first time in 1987, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Paris to proclaim that extreme poverty and hunger are violations of the Declaration of Human Rights, and that we ought to ensure that these rights are protected.

800 million people live in extreme poverty
800 million people live in extreme poverty

In 2015, the world showed that it takes poverty eradication seriously. When 193 countries adopted 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), the first goal was a commitment to lifting everyone out of extreme poverty by 2030.

Yet, rapid population growth will make it difficult to reach that target. Currently, around 800 million people live below the poverty line. The global population is projected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, and most of this growth will occur in the poorest parts of the world.

Population Matters believes that the widespread implementation of the SDGs will be unachievable at current rates of population growth.

Whilst redistribution of resources and capital may contribute to eradicating poverty, improving access to contraception is arguably the most cost-effective step to take in the long term. Research has shown that it is easier for small families to escape poverty.

Moreover, increased funding for family planning facilities, reproductive health provisions and education would also help the world achieve SDG 5, which calls for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women — both of which enable people to escape poverty more easily.

Population stabilisation not only has the capacity to help us achieve the target of poverty eradication on the relatively short term, but it also allows us to move towards a long-term sustainable world in which all remain poverty free.

Because even if we redistribute our resources well, population growth strains natural resources and contributes to environmental degradation which will in turn cause conflict and more poverty.

Therefore, population size should be considered in discussions about poverty eradication.

Follow us