Statement by Ambassador Pedro Núñez Mosquera, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, at the ECOSOC High-level Segment on the theme “Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth for achieving the Millennium Development Goals”. New York, 3 July 2012.
My delegation endorses the statements made by the representative of Algeria on behalf of the G-77, and the representative of Chile on behalf of CELAC.
Almost three years away from the target date of the Millennium Development Goals, the progress achieved on their implementation by most developing countries is minimal. The commitment to achieving full and productive employment remains a chimera.
The seriousness of the economic and financial crisis, the food and energy crisis, and the negative impact of climate change, along with the unjust international economic and political order, affect negatively the achievement of full employment and decent work in the world. In 2011, the global number of unemployed persons reached the unprecedented figure of 197 million. Women and youths were particularly affected.
In a financially unstable environment, developing countries are the most affected, and poorest populations are the most vulnerable. The families of one in every three workers in the world are living below the poverty line. Sixteen percent of the world’s population suffers from hunger and the estimated number of undernourished people exceeds one billion, according to statistics of the World Food Programme.
International cooperation, which is not even near the commitment to allocating 0.7% of the GDP for the Official Development Assistance, would add over 100 billion dollars to the current amounts, without taking into account millions of dollars that are taken away from development on account of the foreign debt, which has been paid many times over.
In Cuba, despite the intensification of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, nobody is left unprotected or abandoned to its fate. Social expenditures continue to rise, evidencing a comprehensive development strategy that, since the triumph of the Revolution, has been harmonizing economic growth with social policies.
It should be noted that, in Cuba, education is free of charge at all teaching levels and compulsory until the secondary level. Graduates from universities and vocational and technical schools as well as skilled workers, who are required by our country’s economic and social development, are placed in jobs and trained so as to ensure their work performance.
States have the responsibility to guarantee social protection floors. In that regard, in Cuba social security is accessible to all and wage-earning workers, members of a cooperative, land usufructuaries, artistic creators, and freelancers are guaranteed social protection in the event of illness and accident, old age, work disability, and motherhood. This protection is extended to family members in the event of death.
Likewise, those unfit for work and without relatives in a position to take care of them receive protection through the social assistance system.
In the context of the updating of our economic model, there is a need to expand the non-State sector as another employment alternative, according to the new organizational forms of production and services to be established. There is also an ongoing process of labor re-organization under the principle of proven suitability, in order to encourage people to work.
Our Constitution establishes a policy against any form of discrimination and in favor of equality, providing that everybody has the right to employment and social protection. The Government recognizes, respects, and ensures the realization of labor principles and fundamental rights, which have constitutional status and are exercised by the people. The Labor Code and its supplementary legal labor standards regulate the exercise of those rights and duties.
Workers and union representatives take part in the decision-making process at all levels. They also play a key role in elaborating the labor and social security legislation.
Cuba gives high priority to international cooperation in order to achieve the social development of our countries. In this regard, Cuba offers solidarity-based and selfless assistance to sister nations of the Third World. An example of that is our humble contribution to the training of human resources in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
It is undeniable that poverty eradication does not depend only on economic growth. International and national factors are indispensable in the creation of a general macroeconomic environment contributing to poverty eradication and full and productive employment.
Therefore, a solution to the Third World’s foreign debt, the compliance by the countries of the North with the Official Development Assistance, and the access of our products to all markets are a matter of urgency.
The political will of our governments, solidarity-based integration and international cooperation are the only way to achieve sustainable solutions, and to face the common challenges of the globalized, unequal and exclusive world that threatens us all.