Sustainable Poverty Alleviation/ reduction
" I am often asked what is the most serious form of human rights violations in the world today, and my reply is consistent; extreme poverty." Mary Robinson -(former UN High commissioner for human rights and President of Ireland
Poverty alleviation remains an indispensable challenge facing humanity. Poverty demoralise and put families at risk and poor people lack confidence, believe and dignity in the society. According to UN, more than half of people living in Sub Saharan Africa live on less than one dollar a day. Poverty provides a setback to sustainable development and environmental protection. For most people, particularly in rural areas, to get the next meal is more important than desertification or wildlife protection. Poverty creates a culture of silence. A culture where men, children and women struggle to join together, organise and develop solutions to their problems.
While CEDCOW, continue to advocate better standards of living and poverty reduction efforts, we also believe that the government and established institutions in Africa should make more efforts to prevent poor and marginalised people from unleashing their anger to the forest and other natural resources in their desperate bid to keep bone and flesh together.
We also stress that HIV/AIDS, is an important factor pushing individuals below the poverty line, arising from social and economic exclusion through stigma, and its devastating economic impact on the health, economic and education systems.
We recognise that poverty in some countries is complicated by the income distribution system which limit the prospects for translating any gains from economic growth into shared prosperity and meaningful poverty reduction.
We encourage micro-credit schemes, income generating activities , revenue sharing and other incentives eg distribution of cash from tourist entrance fees or reinvestment of revenue obtain from exploitation of timber and oil into community projects. This approach will immediately improve local income and living standards and remove pressure from protected areas.
We acknowledge that present global economic crisis threatens to destabilise poverty eradication efforts in Africa as most people fall victim to contracting remittances, capital flow and donor support. At the same time, we believe that investment in development is most vital than ever to secure social stability, security and prosperity.
We also believe that the key to success is working together so that a world without poverty can and will be achieved in our lifetimes. Everyone must become involved!
Our mission is to cultivate self-reliance and work with partners who maintain a strong physical presence in their areas of operation. In pursuing these methods we have thus earned the trust, respect and confidence of the traditional leadership, community members, as well as central and local government authorities.
Our commitments towards poverty reduction include:
Poverty is a denial of rights, an infringement on freedom and liberty. The elimination of poverty should be addressed as a basic entitlement and a human rights. UNDP has adopted subsequent policies Integrating Human Rights with Sustainable Human Development. It numerous reports have reaffirmed that human development is essential for realising human rights, and human rights are essential for full human development.
Our Poverty strategies target individuals and groups that are socially excluded, marginalized, vulnerable and disadvantaged. Our human rights development approach provides a deeper and broader understanding of the root causes and consequences of poverty. It recognises that the poor must be considered the principal actors of development; they can no longer be seen as passive recipients; they are strategic partners rather than target groups. As outlined in the MDGs, we support the view that for sustainable human development to be enhanced, every individual everywhere, man or woman, girl or boy must have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, that they must have choices, and the power to make them, over how they live. It is also our belief that "Equality of rights for all is the indispensable foundation on which human development must be built".
We equally believe that transparency and accountability are deemed essential by poor people to bring about institutional change, to reduce poverty, including the way the poor are treated by service providers. To be meaningful and sustainable, poverty reduction must be both empowering and lead to empowerment of those who are left behind. It should be based on the recognition of the potential of the people as efforts to reduce poverty, and seek to facilitate an enabling environment for their own initiative and solution.
Amongst others, our goals include:
Encourage all actors , partners and institution in Africa to adopt a human rights-based approach to development.
Identifying obstacles to the implementation of the human rights-based approach by addressing different interests, cultural, social and economic realities
Enhance the synergy between poverty reduction and democratic governance.
Strengthen community development, and human rights education among pro-poor reduction programming .
Promote and support participatory assessment methodologies that link
Non-discrimination: Implies that equity and equality cut across all rights and are the key ingredients for development and poverty reduction.
Empowerment:Implies empowering people to exercise their human rights through the use of tools such as legal and political action to make progress in more conventional development areas.
Accountability of actors : Implies accountability of public and private institutions and actors to promote, protect and fulfil human rights and to be held accountable if these are not enforced .
Strengthening civil and political rights, which can play an instrumental role in addressing the causes of poverty.