(4 September 2014) The Norwegian experience can contribute to the process of structural change for equality in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is promoted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) so that the region's countries can grow in a sustained way with greater levels of social inclusion and environmental sustainability, Alicia Bárcena, the organization's Executive Secretary, said in Norway on Wednesday, September 3.
Bárcena gave a keynote lecture entitled Equality and Sustainable Development: A Latin American and Caribbean Perspective at the University of Oslo. On Tuesday, September 2, the institution granted her a Doctorate honoris causa, the first one to be given to a Latin American woman.
"In the perspective of our regional development goals, Norway arises as an ineludible reference. Norway has combined economic growth with wider welfare concerns, and has done so in a highly egalitarian way," said the highest representative of ECLAC, one of the United Nations' five regional commissions.
Norway's success, Bárcena contended, is based on a model that seeks full employment through the dynamic adaptation of industrial and service sectors rather than protectionism. She put special emphasis on the country's democratic governability, labor regulations and its management of natural resources.
"Norway and the Latin American and Caribbean region have many good reasons to strengthen their ties of mutual understanding and collaboration," emphasized the international official. "The equality, justice, dignity and solidarity should be the foundation of our shared vision for society," she added.
During the keynote lecture, Bárcena presented the main proposals that her organization made to the region's countries between 2010 and 2014, which are summarized in the publications that make up the so-called trilogy of equality.
In the first of these documents, Time for Equality: Closing Gaps, Opening Trails (2010), ECLAC posed to countries the need to adopt equality as a normative ethical principle and the ultimate objective of development, defining it as "full entitlement to rights."
In the second document, Structural Change for Equality: An Integrated Approach to Development (2012), the Commission proposed that the region transform its productive structure, prioritizing knowledge-intensive sectors that enjoy rapidly expanding domestic and external demand and cause less pollution, as a way of creating more and better jobs that enable growth with greater equality and environmental sustainability.
Finally, the book Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future (2014) presents seven essential social compacts for the region to confront the current scenario of reduced economic dynamism with a renewed set of political and institutional reforms, in which the state plays a central role. "These collective accords can restore to the citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean their sovereignty and their power to reach agreement, without tutelage and without universal prescriptions," Bárcena concluded.