UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – 17 October

Theme — “Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the UN General Assembly designating October 17th as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

In the lead-up to October 17th, we offer a reflection on what this International Day means by Sr. Sheila Curran RSM, Justice Coordinator, AMRI-Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland.

As a foreword to her reflection, Sr. Sheila offers the following preamble:

Despite the good work of many NGOs and faith based organisations around the world, poverty is on the increase. UN Statistics offer the following facts:

836 million people still live in extreme poverty;
About one in five persons in developing regions lives on less than $1.25 per day;
The overwhelming majority of people living on less than $1.25 a day belong to two regions: Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa;
High poverty rates are often found in small, fragile and conflict-affected countries;
One in four children under age five in the world has inadequate height for his or her age;
65.6 million People had to abandon their homes to seek protection due to conflict or climate change.

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), one in six people in Ireland are at risk of poverty, and 105,051 people are living in poverty in Ireland.

REFLECTION

Sr. Sheila Curran RSM

Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), tells us that we are not exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice (201). He calls us to hear the cry of the poor to really see their poverty, hear their cries and know their sufferings (191). It is only when we really do hear their cry, truly see their poverty and, in our hearts, know their suffering that we can work in solidarity with them in their struggle for justice. It is the unequal distribution of resources along with decisions which favour the rich rather than the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good (203) that are at the heart of all economic policy.

Pope Francis seeks a Church which is poor and for the poor. He is not referring to the building but to all of us who make up the people of God. The only way this can happen is when we let the poor evangelise us, then and only then, will we act differently.
Over 50 years ago at the end of Vatican II a number of bishops signed a document called the Pact of the Catacombs, which carried within it, a commitment to return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, abandoning the trappings of the institution and becoming once again a poor servant church, for and with the people. If you click here, there is a video which I offer for your reflection on the pact of the catacombs.

As we reflect on this document may it energise us to work in solidarity with each other to become a Church which is poor and for the poor, both in what we say and in what we do.

Sheila Curran, AMRI Justice Desk.

To see a selection of how groups around the world will mark 17 October click here.

EVENTS in Dublin to Mark the UN End Poverty Day:

The national event to mark the annual UN End Poverty Day will again take place this year at the Human Rights and Poverty Stone, on Custom House Quay, Dublin 1.

It will include the symbolic launch by Ambassador David Donoghue of 17 Global Goals Boats on the Liffey. Guest speakers will be delegates from communities facing persistent poverty in Ireland, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the French Ambassador and the 17 builders of mini-boats.
Artistic workshops will be facilitated from 10am on site.

Formal ceremony will start at 11am sharp.

The gathering will be the Irish finale of the international #StopPoverty Campaign and the opportunity of the launch of an Irish Call to Action: “Let’s Walk as One to #StopPoverty”

The event will be live streamed and people who can’t attend will be able to join via the Web TV accessible by clicking here. 

Details about the UN End Poverty day and its observance in Ireland can be found by clicking here. 

No Hunger, No Poverty Candlelight Vigil and Chain of Lights by Irish 17 October Committee
In a symbolical walk, a human chain of lights will be created on Custom House Quay between the Famine Statues and the “17 October Human Rights and Poverty Stone” to link:

– The Zero Hunger Day (World Food Day) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (16 and 17 October)
– Goal 2 and Goal 1 of the 2030 Agenda, see www.globalgoals.org
– Past and Future generations

This event will be a way to call on all citizens to contribute to the achievements of these ambitious goals and to ensure that no one is left behind. A giant banner of 32 meters with the message “No Poverty – Leave No One – No Hunger” will connect the two memorials.
Faith leaders, including Father Peter McVerry, will attend this gathering to show solidarity in silence, meditation or prayer with those still trapped in poverty and hunger.

During the event, ATD Ireland will launch the 2017-2018 “#LeaveNoOneBehind Conversations” project supported by Concern.