OCTOBER 17th –  International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

OCTOBER 17th – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all

It was established by the UN on December 22, 1992 and marks a significant date: on October 17, 1987, in Paris, one hundred thousand defenders of human rights from every country, gathered at the Trocadéro, on the initiative of Father Joseph Wresinski, to express their rejection of misery, to honor the victims of hunger, violence and ignorance, and to urge humanity to unite for the respect of human rights.


Poverty is a complex social phenomenon that depends on several factors. There is not just one poverty, but “poverties”. They are not only linked to a lack of income but are also closely linked to access to opportunities and, therefore, to the possibility of participating fully in the economic and social life of the country.

Poverty is a scourge afflicting three billion people worldwide. A situation so serious that it deserves first place among the famous MDGs, the Millennium Development Goals. The hope was to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the number of people living on less than 1 dollar a day. Today we can say that the UN and the international community have at least partially failed, the poor, although they have decreased by 1 billion, are still too many, the problem exists and persists. The issue of poverty, in fact, has been included in the “Post-2015 Development Agenda”.


Money, food and work are still the essential needs of many people today. But poverty is not only lack of income or work: it is isolation, fragility, fear of the future.

Europe is facing a significant increase in the number of people living in poverty and requiring food and other assistance. It is the era of the new poor, that is, those people who, despite working, cannot make ends meet, either because of the high rate of youth unemployment or because of the increase in the cost of living and taxes. This picture, therefore, makes the problem of poverty more current than ever and incredibly close to us.

To think about it, so little would be enough to improve the lives of many, just think that the 300 richest people in the world possess as much as the 3 billion poor have to live.

In the last 12 years, in Italy, people in absolute poverty have doubled from 2.113 thousand in 2008 to over 4.5 million in 2019. At the same time, the number of billionaires has almost tripled: from 12 in 2008 to 40 in 2020. In the report “Dignity and not rights”, Oxfam denounces that because of the pandemic shock half a million people in the world risk becoming new poor.

"Extend your hand to the poor"

Extend your hand to the poor
(Syracuse 7:32)

 is the message of the Fourth World Day of the Poor
wanted by Pope Francis and which will be celebrated next November 15.