School children in Gaza, cricket fans in India and African church-goers have helped set a Guinness world record for "the largest number of people to 'stand up against poverty,'" UN officials said on Tuesday.
The record was set when 23,542,614 people stood up as part of 11,646 organized events around the world during a 24-hour period this week, according to the official Guinness verification text, released at a UN news conference.
The "stand up" campaign was organized to promote the achievement by 2015 of a series of anti-poverty goals set at the Millennium Summit in 2000. It was timed to coincide with Tuesday's UN International Day for Poverty Eradication.
"Extreme poverty is a stain on human dignity," French UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere told reporters. "We must make sure this problem remains on the top of the UN agenda."
Guinness also verified that the campaign constituted "the largest single co-ordinated movement of people" in Guinness history, senior UN official Shashi Tharoor said.
Among the participants were 38,000 cricket fans in Jaipur, India; hundreds of thousands attending an anti-poverty concert in Harare, Zimbabwe; school children in Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank; churches across Africa, and hundreds of thousands watching soccer matches in Mexico, the United Nations said.
Child poverty drops, still high
Child poverty in southeastern Europe and the former republics of the Soviet Union has declined significantly after a decade-long rise since the early 1990s, a report by the UN Children's Fund said yesterday.
UNICEF said, however, that the number of impoverished children in this region remains disturbingly high. Some 18 million children under 15 were living on less than the equivalent of US$2.15 a day in 2003, the last year for which figures were available, UNICEF said. That compared with 32 million children living in what the agency considers "extreme income poverty" in 1998.
Poverty rates vary widely across the region, according to the report.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina 5 per cent of children lived below the poverty threshold, while in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan 80 per cent of children were considered poor.
Uzbekistan, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan also had child poverty rates of 50 per cent or more, the 126-page report said.
Source: China Daily