“Following the 11 September attacks, the world economy is expected to slow down significantly, threatening to unravel hard-won gains in development,” said Mr. Annan. “The effects such as falling commodity prices, political tension, lower oil prices, lower investment, loss of tourism revenues, escalating trade costs and movements of refugees will take their toll on many of those who can least afford it.””Let us resolve to keep our focus firmly on the goals that the world’s leaders have set for the new millennium,” Mr. Annan said, referring to the Millennium Declaration adopted by last year’s Millennium Summit. In that text, world leaders pledged to free their peoples from the “abject and dehumanizing” conditions of extreme poverty.The Secretary-General emphasized that the UN’s mission to fight poverty has become more urgent than ever, and called on countries to devise more effective poverty reduction strategies. “Governments worked together to give us the Millennium Declaration, and they must work together, for the sake of the most vulnerable on this earth, to translate that vision into reality,” he stressed.For his part, the General Assembly President, Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea, called for greater investment in education, health care and basic social services. “Poverty is a scourge that must be overcome, and this can only be accomplished through concerted international efforts involving effective partnerships between developed and developing countries and between government, the private sector and civil society,” he said in a message. As part of the worldwide observances of the Day, a special event was held at UN Headquarters in New York near the commemorative stone engraved in honour of those fighting hunger, ignorance and violence. A testimony from families living in poverty, which was presented at the ceremony, underscored the need to treat every poor person with dignity and respect.The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed annually since 1993, following on the initiative of the International Movement ATD Fourth World. The observance of the Day aims to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries – a need that has become a development priority.