Ministers and senior Social Development authorities from the region who participated this Tuesday, April 23, in the third meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean approved in general terms an initial proposal on the regional agenda for inclusive social development produced by ECLAC, and welcomed its objectives, principles, axes and lines of action.
Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and Luis Felipe López-Calva, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), were among the participants in the gathering.
“The Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, the third meeting of which will be held during the last quarter of this year in Mexico, must give us the push we need to move toward a new generation of social policies that put equality at the center,” stated Bárcena, who invited the government ministers to actively participate in the debates of the third meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which will be officially inaugurated on Wednesday, April 24, at ECLAC’s headquarters in Chile.
The most senior representative of the United Nations regional commission proposed centering countries’ efforts on the population’s dual social and labor inclusion, while also combating the culture of privilege that naturalizes inequality, which “is inefficient” from every point of view, she said. “At ECLAC, we say that not all social matters play out in social arenas. We need economic and environmental policies that are coherent with the objectives of inclusive social development,” Bárcena stressed.
In his remarks, Luis Felipe López-Calva of UNDP agreed with Bárcena that “not all social matters play out in social arenas,” and he posed the need to advance along a three-lane highway (greater productivity, greater inclusion and greater resilience) to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region. He also ratified UNDP’s commitment to the Regional Conference on Social Development.
The opening session was led by Marina Arismendi, Uruguay’s Minister of Social Development, in her capacity as Chair of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference; José Luis Balmaceda, Ministerial Cabinet Advisor and Head of the International Affairs Unit at Chile’s Ministry of Social Development and Family Affairs; and Laís Abramo, Director of ECLAC’s Social Development Division.
In her remarks, Minister Arismendi of Uruguay highlighted the collaborative work and exchange of experiences that take place in the framework of the Conference. “People are the center of our work,” she said, adding that the challenge is “to ensure that all goods and all services are based on people, and that institutions are at the service of people, and not that people depend on how the institutions work.”
Meanwhile, José Luis Balmaceda ratified the Chilean government’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the work of the Conference. “We highlight the importance of the regional agenda for inclusive social development for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, to which we are willing to contribute through South-South and triangular cooperation,” he indicated.
In the agreements reached at the gathering, the government representatives “stressed the importance of putting people at the center of development, safeguarding the progress on social development achieved by the region, and avoiding setbacks in a less favorable economic context that poses numerous emerging challenges.”
Furthermore, “they reiterated the conviction that multilateralism and cooperation are fundamental means for moving forward on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region, including its social dimension, and that the regional agenda for inclusive social development can serve as a contribution to this process.”
The Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean is composed of Uruguay in the Presidency, and Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and Panama in the Vice Presidencies.