Decolonizing Ourselves: World Poverty Day

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17th), the Feminist Task Force joined partners in commemorating the day at the UN. FTF leader and GCAP co-chair, Marta Benavides, spoke about “decolonizing ourselves and working together qualitative change.”  The World Poverty Day event was organized by the Policy and Strategy Group of the, the online platform for the global conversation on the Post 2015 Development agenda.

The panel included John Hendra, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women; Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director, UN Millennium Campaign; Maryanne Broxton a Constituent Advisor, ATD Fourth World; and as the Expert Listener, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, Amina Mohammed.  Below is Marta’s presentation. To view the livestream of the event, go to the “Peoples’ Voices” conversations on the Post 2015 process at

I am really glad that we are here together because I really need to talk with you. 

I am not against anything, not even against poverty. We have made a decision to live with peoples of the world and that is the reason that I am here to be a witness and to help people building resilience and constantly, making accommodations and adaptations. Ambition and everything that you have got asked to do nowadays is what we have been doing since Columbus got lost. (Laughter) Yes, he got lost.

There has been this kind of view that makes you think that you have been discovered. When you say you are discovered, it is taking position in the name of the churches and of the queen. We need to know where this paradigm has come from. And that is colonialism. And all over in this world have really been very present about de-colonializing ourselves and working together for qualitative change. Poverty has come from that kind of discrimination and that kind of extraction because from this point of view you can see it very clearly on the US immigration issue.  And this is major problem for all of you. And to our Mother Earth. Indigenous people don’t want to be called by any name.

I have chosen to live with them because I want a different world order. I don’t want a better world. I want a different world. There has come a new international economy, and we also have new international informational order. Those have to go together and then we work for the people around the world together to create the conditions for human rights, to participate,…for economic, social and cultural rights of people. For human rights. For fighting for protection of human beings and for respect for Mother Earth.

All the people have dignity.  We are not asking for any handouts.  This is the least what we have to do. Fisher people in Nicaragua (where it’s mostly Christian country), they were saying there is this poverty that we cannot get ourselves out of.  In the bible, it says, that there is always poverty and we are the poverty. What do we do then? Just give up? Just give up our hope? And they said, No, while there is poverty there will be the poor!  And that is why we have to change it

The UN has always been built upon and for peace.

Peace is a synonymous with development. Without peace there is no development for us,…

that’s what development is. It has to be for the community, for nations and for persons. I am asking all of us to work with UN to accompany UN.  The UN is our instrument.

In my country there are people dying every day. Especially young people, women and rural people are dying every day at least 17 a day. We cannot exploit it. I am saying that the UN is a great and precious instrument and arrangement to fulfill the real development we have organized but it cannot be for show off and for cosmetic thing. It has to be for real thing.

People of the North need to take responsibility to transform the paradigm that we are living in.  

Let’s be sure that we accompany the UN.

There is a new development agenda being created to bring it to 2030 but it has to go further than 2030, 23rd century, 7th generation, just like the indigenous people talk about. It has to be a new millennium for the peace. Please don’t forget the new development agenda has to care for all, the Mother Earth and air, water trees. Let’s work to end this paradigm. Work together. For a peoples-centered agenda.

Many thanks.

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