The Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations, Rafael Ramírez, highlighted the social progress made by the Bolivarian government over the past fifteen years during remarks made at the 53rd period of sessions of the UN Commission on Social Development currently being held at UN headquarters in New York.
During a debate on “reconsidering and strengthening social development in the contemporary world”, Ramírez stressed that a decade and a half after committing to the Millennium Development Goals, “the latest UNDP report showed that 1.2 billion people are in extreme poverty. Ten percent of Africa’s children do not have access to education. Child mortality continues to terrify, with 14,000 deaths a day of children under five, and gender equality and fairness continue to be a challenge.”
Regarding Venezuela’s progress, the Ambassador said that his “government prioritizes investment in the development of our poorest people with the aim of reversing historic levels of exclusion that had pushed over 71% of the population into poverty and extreme poverty. In 15 years, we managed to reduce the extreme poverty rate from 10.8% to 5.4%, and in the Plan for the Nation, which is a law, we have set the goal of completely eradicating it by 2019.”
Ramírez said that as of September 2014, Venezuela’s gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality with lower figures representing more equality) was at 0.382, which is the lowest in the country’s history.
Regarding housing, the Ambassador said that “through the Housing Mission we have made a great effort to substitute dangerous housing [ranchos, in Venezuelan Spanish] for dignified housing for people. Between 2010 and 2014, we have built 677,576 homes throughout the nation.”
During his remarks, Ramírez referenced UN instruments such as the General Assembly’s Resolution 1804. “All of these accomplishments have been made possible thanks to the full and sovereign exercise over our natural resources. We put into practice United Nations resolution 1803 of December 14, 1962, as a powerful tool for overcoming poverty and exclusion,” he explained.
Regarding the impact of political decisions about controlling resources, he emphasized that “the recovery of oil income allowed us to begin an accelerated process of directing these resources towards social investment.”
The Commission on Social Development of the Economic and Social Council meets annually to track commitments made during the Social Development Summit held in Copenhagen in 1995, and it discuss all social issues, focusing on those not covered by specialized agencies, such as disabled people, seniors, youth and families.
Correo del Orinoco / Press – Venezuelan Embassy in the US / February 10, 2015