Global and national systems are further pushing people to the margins: Global Civil Society

Peoples Assembly in Rwanda disussing poverty and inequality-Photo by GCAP

A statement has been issued by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty – a global campaign to end inequalities and poverty on the International day for Eradication of Poverty

Nearly three years have passed since COVID-19 first surfaced, upending communities and taking the lives of more than 6.5 million people. In the rich corners of the world, life has largely returned to normalcy. But elsewhere, global and national systems are failing communities, further pushing people to the margins and making our planet uninhabitable. All the while, elite private interests have hugely profited.

Rising food and energy prices, loss of livelihoods and critical gaps in healthcare have been exacerbated by austerity programmes, the lack of universal social protection, wars, violence and the deterioration of civic space in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries. Now 1.3 billion people live in abject, multidimensional and preventable poverty with almost half of them children and youth. People are immensely suffering.

Nowhere is the moral failure of the world’s leaders more evident than in the international community’s approach to public health. While nearly 13 billion COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered so far— enough to provide a full regimen to 80 percent of the world’s population — fewer than 1 in 4 people in low-income countries have received a single dose.

War, violence and repression violate the rights of more than 1 billion children annually, disproportionately girls — from Afghanistan to Yemen, while the war in Ukraine alone has displaced an estimated 15 million people, the largest number since World War II.

The theme of the International Day for Eradication of Poverty 2022, “Dignity For All in Practice” recognises dignity as the cornerstone of all fundamental rights and calls for committing together for social justice, peace, and the planet.

GCAP organised National People’s Assemblies in 27 countries and 4 regions during the Global Week of Action Act4SDGs from 16 to 25 September 2022. These mobilisations aimed at gathering communities’ concerns and agree on collective actions to take on the rising  inequalities and worsening poverty situations. These efforts culminated in a virtual Global People’s Assembly that was held from September 20 to September 22, where people’s representatives and civil society shared concerns and demands were brought together in the declaration called Global Justice to Achieve SDGs – Sustainable Equality for All. Here the key demands:

  1. Strengthen Public Health and People’s Vaccine – Establish a global roadmap for vaccine equality, which goes beyond the June 2022 action of the WTO Ministerial Conference and includes a complete TRIPS waiver covering diagnostic tests, treatments and COVID-19 vaccines plus the adoption of the pandemic treaty proposed by the WHO.
  2. Social Protection – Invest and recommit to achieve SDG 1.3 and act now to ensure progressive realization of the right to Universal Social Protection for all by 2030
  3. Civic Space and Human Rights – Honour, uphold and respect human rights, civic space and protections for civil society activists and environmental defenders.
  4. Gender Justice – Take a human rights-based and gender transformative approach to the implementation of all aspects of the 2030 Agenda and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its related crises.
  5. Climate and Environment Justice – Meet and exceed the Paris Climate Accords. All countries must take immediate steps to reduce their emissions commensurate with the Paris Agreement Goal of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees and in proportion to their historical and current emissions.
  6. Debt Justice – Unconditional cancellation of public external debt payments by all lenders – bilateral, multilateral and private lenders – for all countries in need in the face of the health, economic and climate crisis, for at least the next four years, as an immediate step, followed by a clear programme for the unconditional cancellation of unsustainable and illegitimate outstanding debt.
  7. Economic Justice – Convene a fourth Financing for Development Conference – FfD4 to bring democratic accountability to global finance.
  8. Pathways to Peace – Member States to cooperate with the UN to bring the 32 ongoing wars to an end – including an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine – and free communities from fear, insecurity and violence.
  9. UN Reform – Make global institutions more democratic, representative and inclusive by limiting the use of the veto in the UN Security Council and ensuring civil society’s right to meaningful participation, based on the best practices of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and the International Labour Organization, which provide effective, transparent and formal mechanisms for inclusion.

Read the full Declaration HERE.


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