Statement for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Letters to the Editor | October 17, 2008, Friday // 00:00

The United Nations General Assembly has established October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Below is a short summary of a recently published statement by the Baha'i International Community on this world-wide problem.

Eradicating Poverty: Moving Forward As One:

Baha'is feel that till now, financial aid has often had a detrimental effect on recipient communities; increased dependency on foreign assistance, subservience to externally dictated priorities, misappropriation of funds and other negative effects.

Individuals and institutions must work together to take up this task. One of the goals of poverty alleviation, then, centers on the individual: he must be helped to reclaim his dignity, to gain confidence to improve his condition and strive to realize his potential.

Beyond the achievement of personal well-being, he must be nurtured to become a source of social goodвЂ"of peace, happiness and advantage to those around him. It is at the level of service to others that our humanity achieves its highest expression.

The second goal centers on institutions: at every level of society, they must serve as channels through which the talents and energies of individuals can be harnessed in service to humanity.

Justice provides the means capable of harnessing human potential to eradicate poverty from our midst, through the implementation of laws, the adjustment of economic systems, the redistribution of wealth and opportunity, and unfailing adherence to the highest ethical standards in private and public life.

Unity asserts that progress is systemic and relational, that a concern for the integrity of the family unit and the local, national, and global community must guide poverty alleviation efforts.

Solutions depend upon changing attitudes and implementing improved strategies----in the following areas:

Better governance, justice and human rights, individual responsibility, gender equality, economic activity, extremes of wealth, sustainable development, agriculture, employment, knowledge and education, religion and the spiritual dimension.
In our efforts to eradicate poverty, we are experiencing no less than the birth pangs of a truly global civilization: new modes of thought, new standards and new legal and institutional arrangements are struggling to take hold.

As our understanding of the problems and their possible solutions expands, an unprecedented global consensus and accompanying capacity for international cooperation pave the way for an outcome far greater than any we have been able to achieve.

Yet, to generate the knowledge and commitment needed to overcome poverty, the full spectrum of human spiritual and intellectual potential will need to be summoned for the task. And as the fullness of our humanity is engaged, it will regenerate the fabric of civilization.

The full statement is available on website:

Terry Madison

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