Maduro at UN: Only “Total Systemic Change” Will Make 2030 Goals Viable

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a debate on the 2030 development goals proposed at the three-day UN Sustainable Development Summit this past weekend, warning that the new targets would be unreachable without “systemic economic transformation”. 

By Lucas Koerner

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Maduro addressing the Sustainable Development Summit at the UN on Sunday (AVN)
Maduro addressing the Sustainable Development Summit at the UN on Sunday (AVN)
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Caracas, September 28th 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a debate on the 2030 development goals proposed at the three-day UN Sustainable Development Summit this past weekend, warning that the new targets would be unreachable without “systemic economic transformation”.

Speaking at the United Nations in New York on Sunday, the Venezuelan leader expressed his critical support for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are slated to replace the 2000-2015 Millennium Development Goals, outlining 17 objectives in the areas of economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability that countries are obliged to complete by 2030.

“Only a deep transformation of the economic system, only an absolute and total change in the system imposed by neoliberal thought will give economic viability and sustainability to the objectives that we are proposing,” Maduro asserted during his speech before the summit.

The SDGs, which include 169 accompanying targets, have been criticized for failing to specify how they will be achieved in light of global inequalities, given that projected costs range from $3.5 trillion to $5 trillion every year until 2030.

Responding to the SDG regarding the eradication of poverty, Maduro reminded his fellow world leaders that poverty and inequality must be contextualized within the legacy of colonialism and slavery.

“Poverty is the product of inequality imposed by systems of domination, which covered the planet, drew and quartered Africa, imposed colonialism and slavery over centuries,” he stated.

Invoking the words of late president Hugo Chávez, Maduro affirmed that revolutionary change is the only way to fight poverty.

“If we want to overcome poverty, let’s give power to the poor, let’s give power to the people,” emphasised the head of state.

Pledging to make implementing the SDGs a priority of his government alongside the country’s four-year National Human Rights Plan, Maduro also highlighted Venezuela’s progress towards achieving the prior 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

“Today in Venezuela we can say that the immense wealth of our country has successfully been distributed for health, housing, the right to food, the right to life, we have succeeded in reversing the excluding tendencies of capitalist culture,” the socialist leader proclaimed, highlighting the South American nation’s accomplishment in raising social expenditure from 33% to 62% of its national budget as well as its gains in combatting the precarization of work under the new labor law.

At the conclusion of his address, Maduro echoed Pope Francis in noting that the realization of the SDGs would be impossible without a “new model of international relations”, one based on multipolarity and international law.

“Let’s think of [of the world as] a shared house of the peoples who base their relations on respect for international law… a shared house without imperialist wars, racism, xenophobia, disdain, and inequality,” the head of state declared, referencing the role of the US “hegemon” in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria.

Upon leaving the summit, Maduro reiterated his calls for reforming the United Nations which he said must be transformed to reflect “today’s multipolar world”. He also announced that the SDGs will be debated across Venezuela by “all the people”.

President Maduro will remain in New York throughout the coming week for the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, which will likewise be attended by representatives of 150 nations.