Thailand and the United Nations Pledge to Action Against Poverty as part of Stand Up Against Poverty Campaign

Thailand events are part of global plan to mobilize one percent of the world’s population

In an event marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the Royal Thai Government and the United Nations today jointly pledged their commitment to stamping out poverty and inequality in Thailand and around the world.

The event, held in Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok, began with a walk against poverty led by the province’s governor, Mr. Preecha Kamolbutr, and in which more than 10,000 people from all sections of Thai society took part.

The walk – symbolizing world unity behind the goal of eliminating poverty – culminated in a rally where local and national Thai government officials signed a promise committing them to further action in efforts to reduce poverty at the provincial and local levels. There are approximately 5.4 million people in Thailand living below the national poverty level, the threshold set by the government for having sufficient food and other basic necessities for survival.

The officials were then joined by Thailand’s Deputy Interior Minister, Preecha Rengsomboonsuk, and the UN Resident Coordinator a.i., Tomoo Hozumi, who pledged to fight against poverty and for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“We are standing because every single day 50,000 people around the world die needlessly as a result of extreme poverty,” Mr. Hozumi said as part of the pledge. “In Thailand, we pledge to intensify our efforts to help achieve the MDGs at both the provincial and the community levels, for the benefit of each and every person living in this country.”

In his pledge, Minister Rengsomboonsuk said, “We are ready to join hands with all parties in taking care of the poor and those affected by social issues without prejudice.”

The event – organized by the UN Millennium Campaign and the UN Country Team, in partnership with the Thai Ministry of Interior – was one among thousands of similar events taking place throughout Thailand as part of a series of global events for the Stand Up Against Poverty campaign. The campaign aims to mobilize more than one percent of the world’s population – over 67 million people – on 17-19 October to demand that world leaders deliver on their promises to eradicate extreme poverty and achieve the MDGs by 2015.

In Thailand, the Ministry of Interior has established a campaign, entitled “180 Day Roadmap for Poverty Reduction,” which highlights governance and decentralisation in order to facilitate poverty reduction. The UN Country Team in Thailand is supporting the campaign, which also includes MDG exhibitions promoting issues such as health, education and environmental sustainability at the provincial level.

The eight MDGs, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and leading development institutions. Last year, more than 43 million people took part in Stand Up Against Poverty events around the world.

In Thailand, at least 180,000 people living below the national poverty line are expected to visit poverty reduction “clinics” – information centres set up by the Ministry of Interior, aimed at encouraging domestic and individual savings, health promotion, and empowerment of the poor, as a first step towards fulfilling the day’s pledge.