Meade says for now he is focused on social development, not on 2018 elections

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the former Foreign Minister said he feels honored to assume the responsibility of implementing the social policy of the current administration.

José Antonio Meade was named Minister of Social Development last week. (Photo: screen grab from El Universal TV)
English 31/08/2015 12:44 Pierre-Marc René Actualizada 12:51
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From his new office at the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL), located in front of the Senate, José Antonio Meade Kuribreña admires the landscape of Mexico City, but not with a view of promoting the country to the world, but of helping the 55 million Mexicans who live in poverty and need the most help.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the former Foreign Minister said he feels honored to assume the responsibility of traveling all over the country to implement the social policy of the current administration, follow up strategies such as the Crusade against Hunger and Poverty and continuing the work his predecessor, Rosario Robles Berlanga, who was recently appointed Minister of Agrarian, Land and Urban Development.

Analysts say that this position puts you in the race for President in 2018.

For now I am focused on working in the position that was entrusted to me. There will be no other element that diverts my attention. The President gave me a great opportunity, and that opportunity needs me to be focused.

Would you be interested in running for President in 2018?

I am interested in doing well the job entrusted to me.

How do you see the changes in the cabinet?

They are positive changes.

What made you leave the chancery?

Accompanying the President in an effort to create opportunities for the Mexicans who have yet to be part of a more inclusive space with higher growth. For an official who has a vocation for public service, this is a great opportunity.

How will this new responsibility change your life?

This position requires me to work with a lot of enthusiasm.

What was the mandate given to you by the President?

From the beginning of his administration President Enrique Peña Nieto defined five major goals. The third one was an inclusive Mexico, and the idea is to redouble efforts in order to ensure that the results are achieved. The President want us to continue working hard to achieve a greater inclusion.

What is your assessment of the changes in the cabinet for social policy?

They enable many of the ministries involved in the combat of poverty to coordinate as a team and work towards a common goal, for example with the Ministry of Agrarian, Land and Urban Development, Agriculture and Health.

Mexico has 55 million poor. What is the main challenge that you face in your new position?

Poverty in Mexico has many faces and dimensions. The advantage is that the country measures it in its different facets and has a diagnosis that allows us to identify who has what kind of needs. It is clear that there is no single agency able of creating the conditions to combat and eliminate all shortcomings. The government efforts should be focused on eliminating those that are most lacerating, on helping the population that has more needs and involve other actors. The results of the Crusade Against Hunger have been satisfactory.

The FAO, international organizations and many countries have supported the Crusade Against Hunger. What needs to be done to achieve a greater impact with this program?

The fact that 57.5% of the population improved their life standards in less than three years with this social program is encouraging. However, we must make an effort to reach those who have not yet been benefited by this program. It is not only a food program, but a government effort aimed at identifying what causes led to these food shortages in order to correct them.

In September the U.N. will meet to discuss the Development Agenda Post-2015. The proposed goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and eliminate hunger by 2030. What do you think?

Mexico worked hard on this proposal. The goal of inclusion as a crosscutting element of the 2030 goals in the post-2015 agenda is a Mexican contribution to that debate.

Is it possible to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030?

I think that the encouraging achievements of the Crusade Against Hunger contribute to this goal. This year we will determine what we want to do with these goals, how we want to fund the projects and we have mechanisms to assess if the funding and efforts are useful to achieve the goals. This is the objective of global alliance in which Mexico plays an important role.


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