…UNFPA Executive Director
October 20, 2015 By Regina Pratt
UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, noted on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October) that eradicating poverty will require sound economic policies that will create decent jobs and ensure social protection, coupled with improvements in the human capital of young people to strengthen their employability.
He said the day has special significance this year, as last month the world community adopted an ambitious, universal agenda that will guide development over the next 15 years, adding that the Sustainable Development Goals, which are at the heart of Agenda 2030, represent an entirely new level of ambition.
“Most notably, countries have committed to eradicating extreme poverty altogether, to lift people out of poverty, as countries will need stronger and better social protection systems,” he said.
Dr. Osotimehin said in order to sustainably eradicate poverty, countries need to create many more jobs by 2030, which is the target year of the new development agenda, and we will need to create 469 million new jobs.
“Approximately 40 percent of these jobs need to be created in the world’s least developed countries, which currently account for only 1 percent of global economic output,” he said, adding that many young people entering the labour force in these countries are unable to find productive and paid employment.
He further pointed out that majority find their first job in the informal economy which captures an estimated 70 percent of all employment in some countries, noting that an estimated 35 percent are living on less than one U.S. dollar a day, according to the International Labour Organisation.
The UNFPA boss further said that an essential but often neglected aspect of the development of human capital is the realisation of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all, while too many young girls are married off as child brides, too many become mothers as teenagers, too many suffer from violence and discrimination, too many drop out of school, and too many are denied equal participation in the social, economic and political life of their countries.
“The eradication of extreme poverty is inextricably linked to a healthy transition to adulthood for everyone, characterized by the protection of their human rights, including their reproductive rights, and a fair chance to pursue their dreams and live up to their potential,” he stressed.
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He further opined that sexual and reproductive healthcare, including family planning and contraceptive services, enables women and adolescent girls to protect their health and choose the number, timing and spacing of their children, empowers them to study, work and raise their families out of poverty.
Empowerment, education and employment of young people, particularly adolescent girls, he maintained, are essential in order for them to be able to capitalize on their own potential, enrich their communities and help unleash a demographic dividend for their countries.
“UNFPA remains committed to supporting the poorest and most vulnerable, empowering women and girls, facilitating the development of young people, and helping countries realize a demographic dividend. That is how we will end poverty and ensure that no one is left behind,” he concluded.