On May 7, the United Nations (UN) President of the General Assembly Tijjani Mohammad-Bande sent an invitation to all permanent representatives and observers of the UN. The purpose of this invite was to launch the UN Alliance for Poverty Eradication. President Mohammad-Bande virtually launched the alliance from UN New York headquarters on June 30th. He spearheaded this effort in order to further implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing rural countries suffering from poverty and widening income inequality.

The COVID Call To Action

During the launch, President Mohammad-Bande cited the ongoing problem of COVID-19 as his motivation for starting the alliance. He stated that “while poverty is bad, and has been established as such, the COVID-19 situation has made a bad citation worse.”

Although 2.1 billion people lived in poverty prior to the pandemic, an additional 850 million are at risk of falling into poverty due to the decrease in economic activity. It is projected that 100 million more people will sink into poverty by 2030 because of COVID-19 and climate change. The pandemic has also had drastic impacts on employment, particularly for youth and women. COVID-19 has rapidly increased unemployment and has created a barrier to achieving the education and training necessary to become employed.

Poverty Eradication Plans

The objective of the alliance largely centers around the implementation of the UN’s SDGs in the at-risk areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa and South Asia. There are seventeen SDGs in total. The Alliance for Poverty Eradication aims to emphasize goals one (No Poverty), two (Zero Hunger), and four (Quality Education).

Another general goal of this alliance is to promote awareness about poverty and the setbacks of COVID-19 for at-risk areas. For example, the group will ensure that UN members celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty each year on October 17.

With regard to direct aid, the alliance will sponsor infrastructural and administrative developments, social protection and employment generation. The creation of jobs is of utmost importance in order to bridge the widening inequality that the world’s poor face. Specifically, the alliance aims to create jobs in agriculture across rural regions since the pandemic disproportionally affects rural communities. The alliance will also mobilize resources through a UN Special Fund for the eradication of poverty.

President Mohammad-Bande also emphasized the Alliance for Poverty Eradication as a way to streamline the massive challenge of analyzing global poverty. He framed it as a one-stop for networking and sharing information about poverty eradication efforts.

Spirit of Collaboration

In addition to providing much-needed aid to countries suffering from poverty, ambassadors from various countries expressed a unanimous desire for the Alliance for Poverty Eradication to foster lasting partnerships. Through multi-lateral efforts, members of the alliance have the potential to implement enduring change more efficiently than ever before.

Thirty UN members, the most publicized being India and Bangladesh, have joined the alliance so far. Going forward, membership remains open to all UN member states. Given the need for unity in a time of turmoil, the alliance hopes more nations will contribute to the cause. As President Mohammad-Bande has said himself, “Solidarity remains our best line of defense.”

Read more of Stella Grimaldi’s article here at Borgen Project