The countries of the region reaffirmed their collective commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, recognizing that governments bear the fundamental responsibility for fulfilling it and stressing the need to foster participation by all relevant stakeholders in the process, according to the document signed by the government delegates gathered at the first meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which concluded this Friday in Mexico City.
The Forum, which is annual in nature, was created by mandate of ECLAC’s member countries during its thirty-sixth session – held in May 2016 in Mexico City – as the regional mechanism for implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 and which establishes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets for the year 2030.
“With the first meeting of this new forum, the Latin American and Caribbean countries have advanced in implementing the 2030 Agenda by engaging in a systematic process of follow-up and review at the regional level, building on existing mechanisms,” the delegates set forth in their conclusions and recommendations, adding that this “provides useful opportunities for regional cooperation and peer learning, including through voluntary reviews, sharing of best practices and discussion on agreed targets and identified challenges.”
At the event’s closing ceremony, the Foreign Affairs Secretary of Mexico, Luis Videgaray, indicated that “for the government it was a privilege to have been the seat of the Forum’s first meeting,” which, he said, left behind two significant messages.
“Multilateralism works and is important,” especially “at a time when voices, some of them very powerful ones, are being raised that question this principle of global coexistence,” he indicated. Also, he added, “it has become clear that Latin America and the Caribbean presents itself before the world as a region that exercises its leadership proudly, where precedents are set and we dare to innovate” to transform the reality of the region and the planet with a common agenda.
Videgaray said there is regional agreement about the need to have institutions and precise instruments of measurement for the SDGs, about the relevance of carrying out peer reviews in a process of collective improvement, and on the existence of national councils or committees, of a state nature, for the follow-up, implementation and evaluation of the 2030 Agenda.
Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ELCAC), also celebrated the results
of the Forum’s first session. “The step forward that we are making today is marvelous. You, the countries of the region, have given us an enormous testimony of your commitment. What an honor, what pride and emotion lies in witnessing the supportive and integrating will with which you have acted jointly to build this space,” she said.
“In complex times, of great uncertainty and marked by difficulties, Latin America and the Caribbean has given a potent demonstration of agreement and unity,” achieving a single voice for dialoguing with the world about the 2030 Agenda, the senior United Nations representative sustained, emphasizing that “multilateral cooperation is the only way to resolve the problems that afflict humanity.”
Although the 2030 Agenda is unique, there are many ways to implement it, meaning that “it is necessary to convert it into a state policy and align the Sustainable Development Goals with national plans and budgets,” Bárcena said. To do so, she said civil society and the private sector must indefectibly be seated at the technical and political tables addressing the SDGs.
“We aspire to a new model of development, fair, egalitarian, prosperous and based on solidarity, as the 2030 Agenda indicates, one that must be carved out of our own urgencies, histories, traditions and colors,” she underscored.
In their declaration, the countries stressed that the attainment of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls will contribute in a crucial way to achieving the SDGs; they emphasized the transcendent importance that official development assistance and climate financing have for the region; they recalled that South-South cooperation is a significant element in international cooperation that complements, rather than replaces, North-South cooperation; and they recognized the possible repercussions of automatization and exponential technological changes on diverse areas of regional development.
They also thanked ECLAC for its preparation of the Annual report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean and its annex on financing. And they recommended that the Mexican government, as President of ECLAC and of the Forum until 2018, present these updated documents, along with countries’ conclusions and recommendations and the President’s summary, as a regional contribution to various mechanisms for global monitoring, among them the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which will hold sessions every July in New York.
On the last day of the regional Forum, a panel entitled “Dialogues on eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world in the framework of sustainable development” was held, organized around three roundtables that addressed the pillars on which the 2030 Agenda is based: the economic, social and environmental dimensions. Later a special session took place on the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in which representatives of diverse international bodies participated.
The first meeting of the regional forum on sustainable development, inaugurated on Wednesday, April 26, drew 789 participants: 208 delegates from 35 countries (31 from Latin America and the Caribbean and four observers from other regions); 288 representatives from 198 civil society organizations; 157 delegates from 39 intergovernmental bodies; 125 special guests and representatives of the private sector and academia; and 11 parliamentarians from eight countries.
- Intergovermentally Agreed Conclusions and Recommendations of the First meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development
- Annual report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean: The challenges of resource mobilization