At the 18th meeting of the Monitoring Committee of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC) held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 19 May 2017, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s (ECLAC’s) contribution to development in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last 70 years was recognized.
Speaking about ECLAC’s contribution to development in the region during the opening ceremony, ECLAC Deputy Executive Secretary, Antonio Prado, underscored that: “ECLAC has never abandoned its structural roots and issues of structural heterogeneity, the problems of poverty and inequality and the need for progressive structural change have been retained as part of its toolkit of analysis under a number of Executive Secretaries. Equality is at the core of ECLAC’s thinking on how to promote sustainable development in the region.”
Also participating in the opening was the current Chair of the CDCC, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mark Brantley, who along with other Ministers and high-level Government Representatives from the Caribbean, recognized the impacts of ECLAC’s efforts in addressing the Caribbean development agenda.
“The Commission continues to play a relevant and valuable role in supporting the efforts of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to advance this new sustainable development agenda. No doubt its demonstrated commitment to advocating innovative solutions to persistent economic problems was rooted in the very early beginnings of the institution, at a time when the Third World had no voice,” Minister Brantley noted.
Putting the spotlight on the forthcoming celebrations for ECLAC’s 70th anniversary, which will take place in February 2018, Director of ECLAC Caribbean, Diane Quarless, underscored that since its founding, “ECLAC has always been on the vanguard of radical economic thinking and development practice in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its focus has been on building resilience to promote sustainable development in the region.”
The high-level meeting also featured panel discussions, which focussed attention on the continuing relevance of development thinking in addressing Caribbean realities, including how the SDGs could be pursued as a means of addressing economic transformation in the Caribbean.
The Monitoring Committee received a report on the first meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development. The Forum was established as a regional mechanism to follow up and review the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, its means of implementation, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The first meeting of the Forum was held in Mexico City in April 2017.
A working document was also presented which highlighted progress in implementation of the 2016-2017 ECLAC programme of work for the Caribbean. For this biennium, emphasis was placed on strengthening development efforts in the Caribbean and on promoting enhanced cooperation with the wider Latin American region through a range of activities, including capacity building, technical and institutional strengthening, support for improved evidence-based policy making, research and analysis, and technical cooperation.
ECLAC has been providing strong support in the subregion in areas including energy efficiency as evidenced by the recently adopted National Energy Policy in the Cayman Islands; the Caribbean debt swap initiative of 2016 which provides a strategy for the growth and economic transformation of Caribbean economies; and its Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA) methodology, which brings awareness to Caribbean countries in preparing for disasters and assessing their effects and impacts.
The ECLAC subregional headquarters for the Caribbean serves as the secretariat of the CDCC. Regular sessions are held every two years, with meetings of the Monitoring Committee convened during the intervening years.