International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2022: History, significance, and theme

World Poverty Day, also known as the World Eradication Day for Poverty, is observed annually on October 17th. It is celebrated to raise awareness about the need to end global poverty in all its forms everywhere.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

"Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected in our solemn duty."-Father Joseph Wresinski

World Poverty Day was first observed on October 17th, 1987, to overcome poverty across the world. After five years, the United Nations (UN) general Assembly declared poverty a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to deliberately work towards respecting the rights of the poor and reducing poverty rates worldwide.

The aim of International Poverty Day is to promote dialogue and understanding among people below the poverty line, the communities they live in, and the global community at large. The day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the struggles of the poor and offer them an audience to hear their issues, concerns, and needs.

History and significance

The event was first celebrated in Paris, France, in 1987 at the Human Rights and Liberties Plaza at the Trocadro to honor victims of poverty, hunger, violence, and fear. The commemorative stone was unveiled by Joseph Wresinski, founder of the International Movement ATD Fourth World.

Then, in 1992, the United Nations officially designated October 17th as an International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The day is marked to raise awareness and highlight the problems faced by poverty-stricken families and work towards eradicating poverty globally in all its forms. Such people are deprived of their basic needs because they are living in unsafe houses. They are facing unequal access to justice and a lack of political power.

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2022: Theme

The theme for this year's effort to eradicate poverty is "Dignity for all in practice." The dignity of a human being is not only a fundamental right in itself, but it constitutes the basis of all other fundamental rights. Therefore, "Dignity" is not an abstract concept; it belongs to each and everyone. Today, many people living in extreme poverty are experiencing that their dignity is being denied and disrespected.
The 2030 agenda again gestured towards the same promise established under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the commitment to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that everyone everywhere enjoys peace and prosperity.The current reality shows that there are 1.3 billion people around the world still living in multi-dimensional poverty in which half of them are children and adults.

Poverty and inequalities are not inevitable. They are the result of the deliberate decisions or inaction that disempower the poorest and marginalized in our society and violate their fundamental rights. The silent and sustained violence of poverty-social exclusion, structural discrimination, and disempowerment-makes it harder for people trapped in extreme poverty to escape and denies their humanity.


This year observed the 35th anniversary of the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty and the 30th anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

In a world where there is an unprecedented level of economic development, technical means, and financial resources, the fact that millions of people are living in extreme poverty is a moral outrage. Poverty is not solely an economic issue, but rather a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses a lack of both income and basic capabilities to live in dignity.

People living in poverty experience many interrelated and mutually reinforcing deprivations that prevent them from realizing their rights and perpetuate their poverty, including:

  • Lack of nutritious foods
  • Unequal access to justice
  • Dangerous work conditions
  • Limited access to health care
  • Lack of political power

World Bank - Poverty and Prosperity Report 2022

  • According to the "Poverty and Prosperity Report," the world is unlikely to end extreme poverty by 2030 because of the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine.
  • The pandemic has overturned decades of poverty alleviation efforts, with over 71 million more people slipping into extreme poverty in 2020. This means that 9.3% of the world population were living in extreme poverty.
  • This is the highest one-year spike since monitoring started in 1990.
  • Extreme poverty is defined as the number of people living on less than $2.15 or Rs.177 per day.
  • The on-going crisis in Ukraine, reduced economic growth in China and energy and food inflation are threatening to disrupt the poverty alleviation efforts.
  • Without significant economic progress, around 574 million people (about 7% of the global population) will still face extreme poverty by the end of this decade. These people will be mainly concentrated in Africa.
  • Currently, extreme poverty is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, where over 60 percent of the population is in extreme poverty.

Poverty in India

Since 2011, the Indian government has stopped releasing official data on poverty. Hence, the World Bank report used the findings of the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy's (CMIE'S) Consumer Pyramids household survey (CPHS). According to the CPHS, 5.6 crore of people in India had slipped into poverty in 2020. This is higher than the World Bank's previous estimate of 2.3 crore additional Indians slipping into poverty in 2020.

Important Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India

  • Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005
  • National Rural and Urban Livelihood mission
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana
  • Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojna (SJSRY)
  • Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana
  • Annatyodaya Ann Yojana (AAY)
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
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