October 17th

October 17: The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 

“Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.” – Joseph Wresinski


Since 1992, October 17th has been officially recognized by the General Assembly of the United Nations as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This day is an opportunity for those living in extreme poverty to speak out about their experiences living in extreme poverty and exclusion from society. It is also an invitation to all people to openly recognize the special knowledge that those living in poverty have and the struggles they face, and to include them in the discussion on how best to eradicate poverty.

Every year, ATD Fourth World teams all over the world gather to share the challenges and achievements of the previous year’s struggle and join together to continue the fight against poverty. Concerts, speeches, marches – in each culture around the world the celebration can take a different form. In New York, families from underprivileged neighborhoods bring their message each year to the floor of the United Nations. In New Orleans, October 17th is an annual celebration that the team has only failed to celebrate in 2005, when the city was still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In Appalachia, the event begins with a potluck supper and includes presentations and discussions around a given theme, followed by live bluegrass music. Contact a team in your area to find our how to get involved in an October 17 event near you or visit overcomingpoverty.org, featuring news, ideas and events from around the world.

The first day for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was celebrated in 1987, when ATD Fourth World founder Joseph Wresinski led more than 100,000 people to the Trocadero Human Rights and Liberties Plaza in Paris, France. A commemorative stone was laid then, engraved with the same text as similar stones at the UN offices in New York, at the European Union offices in Belgium, and around the world.


In 2008, the International Committee for October 17th was launched by different civil society organizations and international agencies to promote the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and the observance of the day, and to promote spaces where people from various backgrounds can come together to fight for the eradication of extreme poverty. The committee is composed of a variety of individuals, including people with a first-hand experience in poverty, ATD Fourth World members, UN stakeholders, civil society members, and other organizations.

At the United Nations in New York the commemoration is organized in partnership with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Subcommittee for the Eradication of Poverty and counts with the ongoing support of the Missions of Burkina Faso and France to the United Nations.

See events for past years

2015 Building a Sustainable Future: Coming Together to End Poverty and Discrimination
2014 Leave No One Behind: Think, Decide, and Act Together Against Extreme Poverty
2013 Working Together Towards a World Without Discrimination: Building on the Experience and Knowledge of People in Extreme Poverty
2012 Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace
2011 From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development
2010 From Poverty to Decent Work: Bridging the Gap
2009 Children and Families Speak Out Against Poverty
2008 Human Rights and Dignity of People Living in Poverty
2007 People Living in Poverty as Agents of Change: 20th Anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
2006 Working Together Out of Poverty

See what other teams around the world are doing in: Peru, Belgium, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Switzerland.

For more information, please visit United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.