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President Lopez Obrador at UN President López Obrador addressing the UN Security Council's meeting on exclusion, inequality and conflict. UN

López Obrador proposes trillion-dollar world plan for ‘fellowship and well-being’

The president told the UN Security Council that his global poverty relief initiative would help 750 million people

Mexico will present a major global poverty-alleviation plan to the United Nations in the coming days, President López Obrador said Tuesday during an appearance before the organization’s Security Council.

Speaking at U.N. headquarters in New York, López Obrador claimed that the intergovernmental organization has never done anything substantial to benefit the world’s poor.

“But it’s never too late to do justice. Today is the time to act against marginalization, attending to the causes and not just the consequences,” he said.

“In tune with this idea, in the coming days the Mexico representation will propose a global plan of fellowship and well-being to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The objective is to guarantee the right to a dignified life for 750 million people who survive on less than two dollars a day,” López Obrador said.

The president, on just his second trip outside Mexico since taking office in late 2018, said Mexico’s proposal could be funded by three different sources: an annual 4% “voluntary contribution” from the world’s 1,000 richest people; a similar contribution from the world’s 1,000 biggest companies; and a contribution of 0.2% of GDP from each of the G20 members.

President Lopez Obrador at UN Security Council
Lopez Obrador in his role chairing the UN Security Council’s meeting on exclusion, inequality and conflict.

“Reaching this income goal, the fund could make use of about one trillion dollars annually,” López Obrador said. He suggested that the U.N. could award certificates to individuals, companies and governments that support the plan.

“The resources of this fund must reach the beneficiaries directly, without any intermediaries,” AMLO said, echoing remarks he has made about welfare distributed in Mexico.

“Because when funds are delivered, supposedly to help poor people or non-governmental organizations, … in many cases the money stays in bureaucratic apparatuses to pay for luxury offices and to keep advisors [on the payroll], or it’s diverted and ends up not reaching the [intended] beneficiaries,” he said.

López Obrador said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund could collaborate on the fellowship and well-being plan, and proposed carrying out a census next year to identify the world’s poorest and neediest people.

Once the target population has been identified, resources would be distributed to seniors and children with disabilities and impoverished students would receive scholarships, he said.

AMLO also said that money could be set aside for tree-planting and youth apprenticeship programs, such as those already in operation in Mexico. In short, he would like to see his government’s social programs rolled out around the world.

House in Benito Juarez, Nuevo Leon
President López Obrador said his plan to alleviate global poverty could be funded by donations from the world’s richest companies, people and governments. Creative Commons

“I don’t believe, I say it sincerely, that any of the permanent members of this Security Council will oppose our proposal because this is not about nuclear weapons or military invasions, nor does it place the security of any state at risk. On the contrary, it seeks to build stability and peace through solidarity with those who most need our support,” López Obrador said.

“I’m sure that everyone, the rich and the poor, donors and beneficiaries, will be calmer with our consciences and we will all live with greater moral force.”

Earlier in his address, the president delivered a lengthy diatribe against corruption. “It would be hypocritical to ignore that the planet’s principal problem is corruption in all its dimensions: political, moral, economic, legal, fiscal and financial,” he said.

“It would be senseless to omit that corruption is the main cause of inequality, poverty, frustration, violence, migration and serious social conflicts. We’re in decay because never before in the history of the world had so much wealth accumulated in so few hands through cronyism,” AMLO said.

“… What are we doing in Mexico? We’ve applied the formula of banishing corruption and allocating all the money freed up [as a result] to the well-being of the people under the criteria [of] for the good of all, the poor come first.”

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