Nearly 21 years ago, in November 1998, the “ECLAC Notes” bulletin came into being, and today we publish its 100th edition. We celebrate this anniversary with great pride, since we are certain that this newsletter has become a key instrument for communicating – not only to the media, but also to the entire community – ECLAC’s proposals for achieving sustainable development in Latin American and Caribbean countries and for promoting the well-being of all its inhabitants.
An occasion like this invites us to reflect on the constant efforts that our institution has made to put the data and statistics, studies and reports, and the multiple activities that it carries out each day to fulfill the mandate given to it by countries, at the disposal of the entire region, in a broad and attractive way.
This bulletin continued the task of its predecessor, “Notes on Latin America’s Economy and Development,” a bimonthly publication by ECLAC’s Information Services that was distributed starting in the 1960s, with the main objective of disseminating the most notable activities and occurrences in the region’s economic and social development, primarily to the media, at a time when the Internet had not even the shadow of a presence.
“ECLAC Notes” continued with the same dissemination goal, but with a renewed and “modern” design, entirely in color, and in a print format that was better suited to the late 20th century.
That first edition in 1998 mainly addressed the impact on the region’s growth expected from the Asian crisis, the El Niño phenomenon, and the hurricanes that struck severe blows to several countries of the Caribbean and Central America.
In its early years, the bulletin did not have a set periodicity, and sometimes it was published as many as five or six times a year, depending on the economic and social circumstances of the time. From 2010 until today, it has been edited quarterly, and it constitutes an important part of ECLAC’s informational offerings.
In the beginning, nearly 9,000 copies were printed in the workshops of ECLAC’s central headquarters in Santiago, Chile, and then sent by suitcase (pouch) and postal service to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. The main recipients were media outlets, the Commission’s subregional headquarters and national offices, and on-demand subscribers. It was another time; the Internet was recently emerging, very few people made use of email, and having a physical copy of “ECLAC Notes” in hand was highly valued.
In June 2009, for its 60th edition, it was decided that the bulletin would be modernized and shifted to an online format. One of the novelties was that edition’s editorial column, which was published in an audiovisual way for the first time and in which the organization’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, referred to innovation and scientific and technological development as a key instrument for the transition towards a carbonless economy, for achieving social equity and for much more sustainable economic development.
In May 2010 and July 2013, in numbers 64 and 76, respectively, “ECLAC Notes” underwent another format change, although this time it was less radical, with modifications made to the font and the design to adapt to the format of the institution’s new web page.
Today, after 21 years in existence, “ECLAC Notes” has been able to evolve and adapt to the tectonic changes that are shifting and shaking our current world, to try to continue being an informational reference point focused on policy proposals in the region. These are times in which ECLAC is reaffirming that equality must be at the center of development and that it is necessary to move towards a new paradigm in which the technological revolution is put at the service of a low-carbon and technology-intensive growth path, while leaving no one behind, as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development demands of us.
In this context, we hope that this bulletin that you have on your screens today will continue informing you and accompanying you for many more years to come.