Today, 25 years after the United Nations General Assembly declared 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Caritas Europa asks European countries to take more seriously their commitment to realise the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1: End poverty. In particular, we ask that they put in place appropriate social protection systems and measures that cover everybody, especially the most vulnerable (target 3 of goal 1).
Since the financial and economic crisis of 2008, considerable progress has been achieved in terms of reducing unemployment, but at a dear price. Austerity policies put wages under pressure, and today the number of working poor is higher than before the crisis. Employment is a way out of poverty, but only if there are jobs for everybody and at a decent wage.
As explains a young professional who relies on the help of Caritas Malta to cover basic needs: “Living in Malta seems to be like living in paradise. This may be true for tourists who come and visit the island. Unfortunately, for low-income earners it is a struggle, as one cannot plan the future. I personally cannot save any money until the end of the month as my salary is very low and it is rather difficult to live decently. 3/4 of my salary is dedicated to the payment of rent and electricity bills. This is rather a struggle for me as I rarely eat decent food and I do not have any social life as I can't afford to go out with my friends”.
However, employment alone will not eradicate poverty. We also need better welfare systems and family oriented policies. It is time that our heads of government show political leadership and implement the available legal instruments and financial resources. Hence, Caritas Europa calls on European countries to accept all the provisions of the Revised European Social Charter and its monitoring mechanisms, and to implement policies accordingly in order to reach the SDG 1 and its targets by 2030.
“Our leaders must ensure that no one is left under the poverty line. This can be done if they put in place fair and sustainable social models that keep family policies at the centre, provide for inclusive labour markets and ensure access to adequate social protection systems for all. This certainly is the model that Caritas stands for,” said Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.
By 2030, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty should be the day when we celebrate that poverty has been eradicated!
For more information, please contact:
Social Policy and Advocacy Officer
Tel: +32 (0)2 235 03 96
Mob: +32 (0)478 58 54 33
|Sonia De Voght
Tel: +32 (0)2 235 26 56
Mob: +32 (0)473 34 13 93