The Government of Mexico is to host the first meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development. Mexico’s Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, and the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, today announced the details of the meeting, which will take place on 26 to 28 April and which will provide a regional political mechanism for discussing the region’s development strategies going forward to 2030.
The announcement was made by the two officials at a press conference held today at the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters in Mexico City. The first meeting of the Forum, organized by the Government of Mexico and ECLAC, will take place at the premises of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.
“This is the first regional forum on sustainable development to be held in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it will enable the region to consider its strategy for development in the medium term,” said Alicia Bárcena. “It is the first political meeting for analysing how the different countries are organizing their efforts for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda,” Miguel Ruiz Cabañas explained.
The Undersecretary went on to indicate that in the face of global challenges —such as climate change and collective security— Mexico defends multilateralism, the United Nations System and the strengthening of ECLAC. “When confronted with those who question multilateralism and the effectiveness of the United Nations, we will maintain the opposite position,” he said.
This new forum, the creation of which was agreed on in 2016, has been conceived as a regional follow-up and review mechanism for the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. Its conclusions will be conveyed directly to the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, the central platform for the follow-up of the 2030 Agenda that meets annually in New York City in July.
In her remarks, Alicia Bárcena described the 2030 Agenda as civilizing and holistic, in that it pursued such vital goals as the elimination of extreme poverty and addressed the economic, social and environmental pillars of development.
Undersecretary Ruiz Cabañas explained that the goal of the forum was to encourage exchanges of experiences and good practices dealing with the implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda. In that connection, he emphasized the importance of promoting cross-cutting policies and programmes within the state apparatus and of adapting budgets in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The new regional forum is open to participation by all the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean and by representatives of national parliaments, other agencies of the United Nations system, regional and subregional integration organizations, international financial institutions and development banks, the private sector, academia and civil society.
Executive Secretary Bárcena explained that the meeting will facilitate the sharing of experiences in preparing voluntary reviews on progress with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, which already presented their reviews to the HLPF in 2016, will play a particularly prominent role in that regard, as will the other 11 States of the region that are to do so this year: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.
Undersecretary Ruiz Cabañas noted that the meeting’s discussions will include, at the request of Mexico, a special meeting on science, technology and innovation to analyse the potential impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on employment, particularly in the services sector. There will also be a session on mechanisms for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, focusing on a discussion of funding methods.
The forum is convened under the Commission’s auspices and will be hosted annually by the member State serving as Chair of ECLAC and of the regional organization’s Committee of the Whole, which currently is Mexico.
The press conference was also attended by Hugo Beteta, the Director of the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters in Mexico, and by Antonio Molpeceres, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Mexico and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in that country.