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About ECLAC Subregional Headquarters in Mexico

ECLAC subregional headquarters in Mexico

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded in 1948 with the purpose of contributing to the economic and social development of the countries of the region. ECLAC is headquartered in Santiago, Chile.

Established in 1951, the subregional headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Mexico serves 10 countries: Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gua­temala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

It is a centre of excellence in technical assistance and research, advising governments in the region at the highest level on the design, formulation, follow-up and evaluation of public policies, and training public officials.


The subregional headquarters in Mexico was founded in 1951 when the plenary of the fourth session of ECLA adopted resolution 30(IV) on 16 June 1951 entitled “Establishment of a Mexico Office of ECLA” (E/CN.12/284). Operations began in September of the same year.

The document La fundación de la CEPAL en México: desde los orígenes hasta 1960 [Spanish only] reviews the first decade of this office’s work and how the Chilean diplomat Hernán Santa Cruz argued for its relevance despite opposition from those who believed that its duties would overlap with those of the Organization of American States (OAS). It also highlights how Raúl Prebisch set ECLA on a very clear path from the moment he assumed office as Executive Secretary. 

The new body was assigned the task of studying the economic problems of Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama, “without prejudice to the Executive Secretary’s authority to extend those studies to other areas of the continent if he deems it advisable”. In addition to advising the governments of these countries on a wide range of socioeconomic, technical and financial matters, the subregional headquarters has contributed to the creation of the Central American Common Market (CACM) and continues to these support these governments in their integration efforts and work.  

The biennial programme of work of the subregional headquarters is adopted during the ECLAC session and provides the main guiding principles of its policy. It is prepared within the framework of a medium-term (six-year) United Nations plan.

The current programme of work covers the following thematic areas: economic development, social development, agricultural development, climate change, energy and natural resources, international trade and industry. All of its work is carried out from an equality- and rights-based perspective.