Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva affirmed today that Brazil is engaged in fulfilling the Development Goals of the Millennium “with enthusiasm and political determination.”
In a speech before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, Lula adduced examples of what the country has done to achieve the Goals of the Millennium.
He emphasized four spheres of activity: the struggles against hunger, against unemployment, against racial and gender inequalities, and on behalf of environmental preservation.
“We adopted the Goals of the Millennium as a mandatory guideline for our governmental policies,” he asserted.
With respect to the struggle against hunger, Lula presented the results of the Family Grant program, which, he said, currently assists around 30 million people.
“By the end of my mandate, all families that live below the poverty line will be included in the program,” the President remarked.
Lula also recalled that, under his administration, 3.2 million jobs have been generated since January, 2003, departments with ministerial status were created for the promotion of gender and racial equality, and racial quota programs were introduced into higher education.
In the environmental sphere, the president highlighted the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon and the Sustainable Amazon Plan, which is aimed at promoting economic and social development, ensuring environmental preservation at the same time. According to Lula, this plan should unveil new perspectives for the 22 million people who inhabit the region.
In his speech, Lula once again urged that the UN Security Council be enlarged. He said that altering the structure of the Council is a matter of urgency. Without the reform, he affirmed, “the UN will not fulfill the historic role for which it is destined.”
The Security Council is the UN body that discusses and decides on questions involving armed conflicts and international security. At present, only the five permanent members – China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia – have voting and veto rights in the Council.
The speech was the president’s final commitment at the 60th session of the UN General Assembly. He is expected to arrive back in Brasília tonight.