By Adedayo Akinwale
The has appointed Nigeria as the coordinator of the newly launched poverty eradication group, aimed at confronting complex and multi-sided challenge posed by poverty to humanity around the world.
The President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, in a statement issued Wednesday, was quoted to have said that poverty was the most formidable obstacle to attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Muhammad-Bande, who spoke at the formal inauguration of the group at a high-level meeting on ‘Poverty Eradication Strategies’ in New York, lamented that poverty had become a blot on humanity’s conscience, adding that Covid-19 pandemic has made the already bad situation to be worse.
He said with 30 founding member states and still growing, ‘Alliance for Poverty Eradication’ is the ‘signature event’ which is being chaired by Nigeria as its Interim Coordinator.
The UNGA president stressed that to alleviate the problem, the group should pull together all the factors and interests in poverty eradication and serve as a one-stop networking, information sharing and bridge-building centre.
Muhammad-Bande stated: “Before the onset of the pandemic, 2.1 billion people were classified as poor globally, with 767 million living in extreme poverty. It is estimated that by the year 2030, more than 100 million people would have relapsed into poverty, due to COVID19 and climate change.
“The Alliance should provide a mechanism for interrogating the poverty challenge from all possible, or at least, multi-disciplinary angles. There is no amount of time and attention given to poverty eradication that is too much.”
Also, the Charge d’affaires ad interim of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Ambassador Samson Itegboje, said Muhammad-Bande had demonstrated his commitment to leave no one behind by launching the initiative at the outset of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.
The Nigerian diplomat, who chairs the group as the Interim Coordinator, said being the topmost priority goal of the agenda for sustainable development, eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is important now more than ever.
Itegboje added: “Evidence indicates that poverty is the foundation of most social vices and crimes, such as terrorism, illegal migration, conflicts, violent extremism, intolerance, fraudulent practices, exclusion, piracy, human trafficking, drug trafficking and abuse and corrupt practices both in high and low places.”
Itegboje noted that it was against this background that his delegation wished to stress that the time is ripe for the international community to develop structures and strategies to address the scourge of poverty.
According to him, “The Alliance for Poverty Eradication must therefore offer hope and clearly point us to the right direction, particularly coming at a time when the dismantling of economic activities globally as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, is projected to revise gains already made in the achievement of the 2030 agenda as well as push additional half a billion people into extreme poverty.”