United Nations

The UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, Liu Zhenmin, on Friday stressed the role of public institutions in poverty eradication.

Institutions play a critical role in poverty eradication, he told a webinar on strengthening the role of public institutions in achieving poverty eradication and sustainable development. Moreover, the impacts of COVID-19 have further highlighted the importance of public institutions in alleviating poverty.

They not only provide essential services such as health care and education, but also help to formulate public policies while promoting participation and ensuring that no one is left behind, he said.

The impacts of COVID-19 have also highlighted the urgent need for whole-of-government and whole-of-society institutional frameworks to provide services to all, particularly to the most vulnerable, said Liu.

“This calls for genuine political commitment at the highest level, transformational leadership and effective institutions,” he said.

The mindset and capacities of public servants to address the needs of people living in poverty are equally important.

This must include respect for diversity and the ability to engage various stakeholders, said Liu.He called for more responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making processes, guided by the 11 principles of effective governance endorsed by the UN Economic and Social Council in 2018, which focus on effectiveness, accountability, and inclusiveness.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge. While the fight against poverty is not new in human history, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added urgency to it, he said.

Recent estimates indicate that the pandemic is set to push between 88 million to 115 million people back into extreme poverty this year, threatening to erase decades of progress, he said.

The webinar, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with China National Academy of Governance, was held on the eve of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

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