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Senior Authorities Call for Combating Poverty and Reducing Inequality with Integrated Policies Aligned with 2030 Agenda

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27 May 2016|Press Release

Mexico’s Secretary of Social Development, José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, and ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, headed a panel about social policies during the regional organization’s gathering in Mexico City.


The panel about social policies took place during the regional organization’s gathering in Mexico City.
The panel about social policies took place during the regional organization’s gathering in Mexico City.
Photo: Jorge Nájera/ECLAC.

Senior authorities from Latin America and the Caribbean called for protecting social gains in the current context of economic deceleration to fulfill the commitments assumed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, during a seminar that took place today in the framework of ECLAC’s thirty-sixth session, which is being held through Friday in Mexico.

“There is no better social policy than employment,” said the Mexican Secretary of Social Development, José Antonio Meade, who moderated a panel made up of the following speakers: Marcos Barraza, Chile’s Minister of Social Development; Margarita Cedeño, Vice President of the Dominican Republic; Isabel de Saint-Malo de Alvarado, Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Panama; Norma Vidal Añaños, Deputy Minister for Social Benefits of Peru’s Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion; Gabriela Agosto, Executive Secretary of Argentina’s National Council for the Coordination of Social Policies; and Roberto Lorenzana, Technical and Planning Secretary of El Salvador’s Presidency.

These senior officials called for closing structural gaps in the region with an integrated approach in economic, social and labor policies, and special emphasis on vulnerable populations such as children, women, indigenous peoples, older persons and persons with disabilities.

Multilateral forums such as ECLAC (the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) allow for an enriching exchange of the best practices for fighting poverty, Secretary Meade indicated, referring to the recent evolution of poverty in Mexico and the measurement tools used by that country.

The Vice President of the Dominican Republic, Margarita Cedeño, sustained that it is necessary to defend “the synergy between equality and economic dynamism without jeopardizing the resources of future generations,” emphasizing that “it is time for equality.”

Meanwhile, Isabel de Saint-Malo de Alvarado, Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Panama, said that “social matters do not just play out in social realms. They need to be addressed on an economic, political and environmental level. That is the only way to surmount the challenges that we face.”

The seminar began with a presentation by ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, of the document Horizons 2030: Equality at the Centre of Sustainable Development, which countries have debated in the regional organization’s biennial meeting this week.

The first panel of the seminar was dedicated to macroeconomics for sustainable development, in which the speakers included Luis Alberto Arce, Bolivia’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Public Finance; Temístocles Montás, the Dominican Republic’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Planning and Development; Olga Marta Sánchez Oviedo, Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy of Costa Rica; and Gaston Browne, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Corporate Governance of Antigua and Barbuda. The panel moderator was Ildefonso Guajardo, the Secretary of Economy of Mexico.

These authorities agreed that macroeconomic stability is necessary, but insufficient in itself to achieve sustainable development with equality in the region. Macroeconomic policies, in addition to addressing current dynamics, must have a long-term vision, they indicated. The officials also debated the role of the State in sustainable growth and the independence of central banks, among other issues.

After that a panel on industrial policy for structural change took place with the following speakers: Merlin Alejandrina Barrera López, Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of El Salvador; Eduardo Bitrán, Executive Vice President of the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO); Mariano Laplane, President of the Centre for Strategic Studies and Management (CGEE) of Brazil; and José Manuel Salazar Xirinachs, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

With the moderation of César Hernández Ochoa, Undersecretary for Electricity of Mexico’s Secretariat of Energy, the representatives analyzed the characteristics that industrial policies must have (especially those that are vertical and selective) in the region to support the productive diversification that reduces economic vulnerability.

They discussed, in this vein, various challenges in terms of innovation, research and development, education and training as well as in the fight against climate change.

The complete program of ECLAC’s thirty-sixth session, as well as general information on the meeting, is available on the gathering’s special Web site: ://

You can follow all the details of the meeting on social media using the hashtags #Horizontes2030 and #Horizons2030.

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For questions related to press coverage, contact:

In Mexico City: María Luisa Díaz de León, Public Information Official, ECLAC’s Subregional Headquarters in Mexico. E-mail:; Telephone: (52 55) 41705665. Cell Phone: (5255) 5416 9297.

Félix Ibáñez, Officer-in-Charge of ECLAC’s Public Information Unit. E-mail:; Telephone: (56) 22210 2040. Cell Phone: (569) 7 967 8306.

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