Liu Zhenmin, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General in charge of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), met today with the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, and the directors of all the Commission’s divisions, in the framework of his visit to Chile.
During the meeting, both UN entities reaffirmed the cooperation ties that unite them and renewed their pledge to continue working together to help the global organization’s member countries to advance on fulfilling the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to confront the main global economic challenges.
At the meeting, in which representatives from the 11 substantive areas that make up ECLAC participated, Liu was accompanied by Navid Hanif, Director of DESA’s Financing for Sustainable Development Office.
Bárcena and Liu agreed on the need to combine efforts, increase exchanges and strengthen joint initiatives that allow for taking the needs of countries that are pursuing more sustainable development to the main bodies for follow-up of the 2030 Agenda in the United Nations – particularly the High-level Political Forum, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the General Assembly.
“The UN system must be prepared to help its member countries along their path toward sustainable development. We have the responsibility to expose countries what are the challenges ahead of us and we must especially avoid and prevent a new global crisis. This is a very critical moment,” the head of DESA said, in reference to the economic uncertainties linked to the current global context and to the important role that the United Nations regional commissions play in alerting and guiding countries.
Liu added that ECLAC has been a steady partner in this work, especially with regard to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and that DESA will continue strengthening cooperation with this organization “since we work in the same areas and on the same goals,” he indicated.
In her remarks, Alicia Bárcena reaffirmed that DESA is one of ECLAC’s main allies and insisted on the importance of the 2030 Agenda’s follow-up mechanisms, such as the regional forums (among them the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which will hold its third session in April 2019), which provide fundamental inputs for the High-level Political Forum that takes place each year at UN headquarters in New York.
“Precisely at our regional Forum in 2019, we are going to analyze the challenges that we will be faced with in the future. We have also begun a dialogue between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean about the 2030 Agenda since we believe that it is a universal agenda in which the entire United Nations community should be involved,” Bárcena stated.
ECLAC’s Executive Secretary highlighted that some crucial issues for the region that will be discussed at future meetings organized by the Commission and its cooperating partners such as the European Union include: financing for development in countries in transition, especially those considered to be in the middle-income category; the digital economy and innovation at a regional level; employment; climate change; equality, which is the center of the organization’s current work; and access to environmental democracy.