The Eradication of Poverty and the Family

Oral Intervention to the 51st Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development

15 Februar 2013

United Nations Commission for Social Development
Fifty-First Session

Item 3(b) of the Provisional Agenda

Mr. Chairman,

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council appreciates the opportunity to address the Commission on Social Development and wishes to emphasize the importance of family in the consideration of the Commission’s priority theme.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the family as the basic unit of society, entitled to protection by society and the State.

The UN Rapporteur on extreme poverty reported that a national protection floor is a basic set of rights and transfers that enables and empowers all members of a society to have access to essential services such as adequate nutrition, health care, education, housing, water and sanitation, and income security.  

Countries that have developed comprehensive universal social protection covering the majority of the population including families have successfully reduced poverty and improved social conditions.

Transfer programs such as cash transfers shield families from economic shocks, improve child nutrition, school attendance and reduce child labor.

Social protection and support programs help empower family members to become self-sufficient.  These programs should be designated to assist and protect families and to reintegrate people excluded from economic activity.

Economic empowerment is critical for poverty eradication

All family members who are unemployed should have access to education, job training and job retraining as well as access to technology and technical assistance.  Education, skills training and access to health care are essential to any empowerment strategy designed to contribute to poverty reduction as well as access to technology and technical assistance.

Among the most evident impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic has been the erosion of families as they lose working adults.

These households where orphans live are poor and suffer disadvantages in education, nutritional status and wellbeing.

According to the Secretary-General’s Annual Report at the 67th Session of the General Assembly, millions of lives have been saved thanks to improvement in child and maternal health care and the expansion of HIV treatment.

Increased availability of HIV treatment explains much of the progress made in containing the disease.

By 2011, an estimated 8 million people had gained access to HIV treatment and 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa had reached the target of universal access to antiretroviral treatment.

Increased availability of HIV education and treatment explains much of the progress made in containing the disease.

Governments and their developing partners should forge public-private partnerships to help people in poverty be empowered to use their own skills to work their way out of poverty.

An example of this is the work of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) which worked in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

They affected dramatic changes in Ethiopia since it launched the USAID funded HIV/AIDS program in 2004.

Nearly 7 million Ethiopians have received training in HIV/AIDS prevention.

Their organizations were able to harness the power of a 35 million constituency to produce a powerful partnership for real change in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.

Mr. Chairman,

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council strongly urges the Commission to consider key family issues in its final document, and urges governments to develop public and private partnerships to empower people living in poverty.

Thank you.