(7 June 2013) Today in Oslo, the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) signed an economic cooperation agreement aimed at sharing experiences and lesson learned in the building of social pacts for equality.
Heikki Eidsvoll Holmas, Norwegian Minister for International Development, and Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, signed the agreement which will focus on the assessment of public policies and social and fiscal tools that can expand and better distribute the revenues of the exploitation of natural resources. "The experience of Norway is of great interest for our region", Bárcena stated.
The agreement includes the development of seminars, workshops, studies and a policy of dialogue concentrated on how the concept of equality links with natural resource governance, women's empowerment, the creation of universal social protection policies and structural changes in the production system.
According to Alicia Bárcena "Equality, as a regulatory and guiding principle, involves disseminating about capacity building, technical progress, full employment opportunities and universal access to social safety nets and benefits throughout the production structure and social fabric".
In order to increase understanding of the interaction between these needs and equality, the programme will focus on research and the publication of innovative studies and indices to help guide public policies in the region.
Ms. Bárcena, who was accompanied by Raúl García-Buchaca, Director of the ECLAC Programme Planning and Management Division, stated "Placing equality at the heart implies breaking away from the economic paradigm that has prevailed in the region for at least three decades. This change is in step with the historically favourable situation being enjoyed by many Latin American and Caribbean countries".
In Oslo, Ms. Bárcena took part in the seminar "The decade of inequality reduction in Latin America: reasons, lessons and questions of sustainability", organized by the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (Noref) and the Norwegian Latin America Research Network (NorLARNet) at the University of Oslo.
At a farewell lunch, Ms. Bárcena met with Tore Hattrem, General Director of Department for Regional Affairs and Development of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others including: Trygve Bendiksby, Deputy Chief of the Latin America Department, Reidar Bergum, that Department's main advisor, and Hege Fisknes, Senior Advisor of the Department of International Development Policy.
Other participants included Hege Araldsen, Norwegian Ambassador in Chile, Kristi Anne Stølen, Director of the Centre for Development and the Environment of the University of Oslo, and Benedicte Bull and Andreas Kotsadam, who are academics from the Centre.
The senior United Nations official also met with Erik Solheim, Chair of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
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