A delegation of Norway’s ambassadors to Latin American countries met today with senior officials from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to exchange information on the region’s current situation and to analyze present and future activities of mutual cooperation, in the first meeting of its kind to be held since the Nordic country joined the United Nations regional organization as a Member State in 2015.
On behalf of ECLAC, the meeting was attended by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Antonio Prado; the Deputy Executive Secretary for Administration and Program Analysis, Raúl García-Buchaca; and the Directors of the Economic Development Division, Daniel Titelman, and the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division, Joseluis Samaniego, as well as other officials from the organization.
The Norwegian delegation was headed by Christian Syse, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was accompanied by officials from that department who perform tasks related to Latin America as well as the European country’s ambassadors appointed to Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, and the consular representative in Rio de Janeiro.
The diplomat Christian Syse cited six reasons why Norway wants to cooperate with this region: to boost development around the world; address global challenges, reflected in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; fight against climate change; promote respect of human rights, with an emphasis on gender equality and indigenous peoples; support peace and reconciliation efforts, such as in the case of Colombia; and contribute to technological innovation.
Antonio Prado, ECLAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary, discussed the challenges of Latin America and the Caribbean, which stands at a crossroads in development with a projected regional expansion of just 0.2% in 2016 in the context of slow global growth (estimated at 2.9% this year) and tectonic changes that include the reorganization of the economy into trade blocs, the technological revolution, vulnerability in light of climate change and the trend towards greater inequality at a global level.
Antonio Prado outlined the main proposals from ECLAC’s last three position documents, which have as their main thrust the search for equality, a goal that has guided the organization’s work during this decade. These documents are Time for Equality: Closing Gaps, Opening Trails (2010), Structural Change for Equality: An Integrated Approach for Development (2012) and Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future (2014).
During the gathering, experts from ECLAC also provided a deeper analysis of the region’s social and economic panorama, with an emphasis on investment and innovation. The day ended with a dialogue on present and future strategic cooperation activities between Norway and the regional organization.