October 17, 1998 was the United Nations “Overcoming Human Poverty” commemoration day, and street newspapers from around the world remembered the day by placing the same image on the front page of their papers. The Grapevine joined other street papers from across North America and the world by printing the accompanying “Stop Misery” image.
From a report published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) it is estimated that 1.5 billion people earn less than one dollar a day. Only 30 percent of the countries that have formulated plans for reducing poverty have set time-bound goals to overcome it. The report calls for more determined and focused efforts, backed by adequate local resources.
Overcoming Human Poverty report shows that overseas development assistance is at an all time low. One of the main messages of the report is that the rich cannot assume that they know what is best for poor people. It notes that the poor “have the strongest motivation and the greatest stake,” in the outcome of national and international efforts to improve their situation. The report goes on to say, “Systems of government need to be sufficiently decentralized, open and transparent so that they can respond to their priorities.”
The UN Development program has goals to halve the percentage of the population who are income poor by 2015; reduce by three-fourths the percentage of children who are malnourished; and reduce by three-quarters the percentage of young adults who are illiterate. The UNDP affirms that “freedom from poverty is an inalienable human right.”
Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine NEOCH October-November 1998