Mexico needs its statistics agency to eradicate poverty

The National Council of Evaluation of the Social Development Policies was created in 2005

Mexico needs its statistics agency to eradicate poverty
In the last decades, poverty has increased in Mexico - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 25/07/2019 09:40 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:46
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Despite the government programs implemented in the last three decades, they haven't shown substantial results in regards to poverty. On the contrary, the number of people living in poverty has increased, for example, there has been an increase since the first report was issued in 2008, compared to the 2016 report.

In order to diagnose social programs and register the poverty index, the National Council of Evaluation of the Social Development Policies was created in 2005. In less than two decades, the agency gained credibility and technical abilities.

The information published by this agency is something no government was to see, nevertheless, these numbers only reflect reality; therefore, the agency hasn't been exempt from political pressure.

During the previous administration, there was a debate on the methodology used to measure extreme poverty. The differences were settled with the creation of a technical group that included experts from the Economic Commission for Latin America and also with the delay of the release of the results in regards to poverty rates.

During this administration, the Coneval budget was reduced to such extent that the agency announced that the resources were enough to operate just for a few weeks. After the warning, the head of the agency was fired, sparking suspicion, something the new director addressed in his interview with EL UNIVERSAL.

Firstly, he guarantees that the council will remain autonomous from the federal government and that the poverty rates and the analysis of social programs won't be manipulated. He dismissed the idea that austerity will put the agency's work at risk.

From now on, the Coneval will face a tough challenge because it has to maintain certainty in regards to the measurement of poverty and confirm its independence.

Currently, according to official numbers, over 50% of the Mexican population is living in poverty and extreme poverty. Experts have explained that poverty has increased because financial aid is used to create political clienteles and not to fight economic underdevelopment. They have also criticized the excessive number of programs and the duplicity of some of them.

It is essential to remember that the Coneval is only an evaluator that offers a portrait of the current social conditions of the country, as well as invaluable statistics to understand if the strategies adopted are delivering positive results. The best is to allow the agency to carry out their tasks freely, with no pressures if the government wants to overcome this alarming issue.


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