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Expert Group Meeting

Preparatory to the spring meeting of the Commission for Social Development, the UN assembled a small group of “experts” to speak to it on the topic of how to empower people to eradicate poverty. Several referred to the three forms of power needed:

  • Power within (an individual’s sense of rights, dignity and voice, along with basic capabilities).
  • Power with (ability to organize, express views, demand rights).
  • Power to (ability to influence decision makers and power holders).

Governments need to create/ maintain an environment that promotes this power, and curtail the excessive concentration of power and its misuse.

The NGO community was well-represented by a young man who spoke in the voices of the poor (who were not present!) He gave real examples of the name-calling and disrespect they undergo, how they are made to live in fear and shame, and made to feel worthless. “Extreme poverty is both a cause and a consequence of multiple human rights violations; stigmatization and humiliation increase the persistence of poverty; people living in poverty have a history of persecution and exploitation; and enforced silence perpetuates poor planning and poor governance.”

–Celia Martin, NDS