Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday called on the international community to stand in solidarity with people living in poverty.

“On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, let’s stand in solidarity with people living in poverty, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” the UN chief said in his message to the international day, which falls on Oct. 17 annually. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a double crisis for the world’s poorest people,” said the UN chief. “First, they have the highest risk of exposure to the virus, and least access to quality healthcare. Second, recent estimates show the pandemic could push up to 115 million people into poverty this year — the first increase in decades.

Women are at greatest risk because they are more likely to lose their jobs, and less likely to have social protection,” the secretary-general elaborated. “In these extraordinary times, we need extraordinary efforts to fight poverty. The pandemic demands strong collective action,” Guterres noted.”Governments must accelerate economic transformation by investing in a green, sustainable recovery. We need a new generation of social protection programs that also cover people working in the informal economy,” he added.

In 1992, the United Nations officially designated Oct. 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The day is observed each year throughout the world. This year’s theme is “Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all.”

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