Poverty remains the most significant challenge facing mankind: CARICOM

Henry Mac Donald

NARRATOR:  With nearly 1.5 billion people still living in absolute poverty, eradication efforts had not succeeded and it remained the most significant challenge facing humankind, delegates told the General Assembly's committee that deals with economic and financial matters.

Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community-CARICOM, the representative of Suriname Ambassador Henry Mac Donald said the eradication of poverty and hunger remained among the greatest challenges of modern times and a seemingly unattainable goal.

TAPE: Sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth that leads to the creation of employment is a necessary condition for poverty reduction. However, the reality is contrary: the economic crisis has led to sharp falls in employment. The recession has subjected workers in the informal sector to even lower earnings owing to a decrease in demand and increased competition for informal jobs. As a result, progress in reducing working poverty has slowed. The number of working poor has increased in some regions, including Latin America and the Caribbean; the surge in the number of discouraged workers, particularly among youth, who are also disproportionately affected by unemployment and overrepresented in the informal sector and among the working poor. Surging food prices and global food insecurity are sparking concerns again over increased poverty and hunger. Poverty tends to increase when food prices rise, since poor people spend large shares of their income on food.

 NARRATOR: According to Ambassador Mc Donald, CARICOM believes that agriculture is the main source of livelihood for poor people and that agricultural productivity and rural development are vital for poverty eradication.

TAPE: Renewed emphasis is being placed on agriculture not only to counter food prices but also to ensure the region's population eats what they produce to secure nutrition that is safe and reverse the high incidence of chronic Non-Communicable Diseases now prevalent in the region….. CARICOM reiterates its view that the greatest asset in the hands of the poor in their fight against poverty was their ability to work. In this regard, we express our concern that the economic crisis and its impacts are jeopardizing the capacity of our member states to take primary responsibility for their own development because of diminishing resources at the disposal of governments and private sectors to invest in the provision of productive employment.

NARRATOR: Ambassador Mc Donald concluded that the international community must pay attention to improving the lives of women, indigenous and tribal peoples, youth, people with disabilities, and individuals working in the informal economy.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 3’06″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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