74 UNGA: Statement by the delegation of Cuba Item No. 22: Eradication of poverty and other development-related questions. Second Commission. New York, 16 October 2019

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba associates itself with the statements delivered by the distinguished delegations of the State of Palestine on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and Belize on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States.

How can we achieve the commitment to eradicate poverty definitively in all its forms and dimensions, as Agenda 2030 seeks; if countries such as the United States earmark multimillion-dollar resources to military expenditures that could be allocated to the development of our peoples; protectionist and unilateral practices in trade increase; the current multilateral framework is undermined; unilateral coercive economic measures are increasingly implemented in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law; the Official Development Assistance is contracted in real terms and the foreign debt, which has been paid several times, continues to grow?

The current unjust and unsustainable international economic order has a growing impact on the marginalization of a considerable number of nations of the South. What is most regrettable is that the developing countries, the most affected, are the least responsible for the crisis. The historical responsibility of the developed world gravitates over the serious environmental crisis we are experiencing today, which is worsened each day by a model of global production and consumption that is not sustainable neither for present nor for the future generations.

It is a pipe dream to speak about progress in eradicating poverty, when hunger increases again worldwide and malnutrition continues to affect millions of children, with 821 million undernourished people last year, approximately 1 out of 9 in the world. Projections suggest that 6 percent of the world's population will still be living in extreme poverty by 2030. It is morally unsustainable that in the United States of America, the world's leading economy, the official poverty rate in rural areas is 16.9% and 13.6% in urban areas.

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba, a small island developing state, subject to the adverse effects of powerful hurricanes, droughts, climate change, and which, for almost 60 years now, has resisted an unjust, illegal, immoral and criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, intensified this year with the activation of the extraterritorial Title III of the Helms Burton Act, shows remarkable achievements in the social sphere and has already fulfilled several of the goals set in the SDGs.

Cuba is currently the second country in the world with the lowest value in the Multidimensional Poverty Index; we have made great progress in meeting the goals linked to the SDG 2, becoming the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean that has wiped out severe child malnutrition according to the UNICEF Annual Report 2018, and the fifth country among the first 14 that have managed to reduce the hunger and undernourishment index in a sustained manner for several years, according to the 2018 World Food Policy Report. The infant mortality rate in Cuba is among the lowest in the world, with 4.0 per 1,000 live births, life expectancy at birth is 79.9 years, there are no illiterates in Cuba and we have universal, accessible and free education and health systems for the entire population. We have a ratio of one doctor for every 125 inhabitants and an immunization program against 13 diseases that covers 100% of Cuban children. Drinking water coverage reached 95.6 % of the population and 97.7 % of the population have access to electricity. All of this is the result of the political will of our government to prioritize the areas with the highest social impact, to which more than two thirds of the country's budget is allocated each year.

Cuba firmly believes in the South-South cooperation and international solidarity. We share the modest resources that we have with other nations in need through international cooperation. Today, we have more than 60,000 health cooperators in 65 countries. The Cuban Literacy Program "Yo sí puedo", recognized by UNESCO, has taught millions of adults in 28 countries to read and write.

Mr. Chairman,

The eradication of poverty requires political will, solidarity, social justice, equality and respect for the rights of the peoples and of every human being. As Fidel Castro, Historic Leader of the Cuban Revolution, stated: "We must prepare ourselves to fulfill our duties towards the rest of the peoples, without which our concept of human solidarity would be framed in the minuscule sphere of our national borders and our national interests”.

We reiterate our commitment to continue to share with other peoples our main resource: the human capital created by the Cuban Revolution, as well as our best expertise.

Thank you