Today 10% of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty, with difficulties in satisfying the most basic needs, such as health, education and access to drinking water and sanitation. This is more than 700 million people, although poverty rates in rural areas is 17.2%, more than triple that for urban areas.

On October 17, 1987, more than one hundred thousand people gathered in the Place du Trocadero, in Paris, where in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been signed, to pay tribute to the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. The assembled crowd proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and expressed the need to join forces to ensure its respect.

In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 17 of each year the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and invited all States to “dedicate the Day to present and promote, as appropriate in the national context, concrete activities to eradicate poverty and indigence”.

The first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 by the UN is focused on ending poverty in all its forms. According to data from its official website, the situation had been showing a recovery, since “worldwide, the number of people living in extreme poverty decreased from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015”.

In any case, the situation caused by the pandemic forces us to be on alert, because “the rate at which this change is taking place is slowing, and the COVID-19 crisis puts at risk decades of progress in the fight against poverty. The economic consequences of the pandemic could increase poverty worldwide, affecting an additional 500 million people. This would be the first time that poverty has increased worldwide in 30 years, since 1990”.