One of the main challenges today is to position the State in the most fitting place for the future and create a new state architecture that allows it to be the driver of development strategies in the region’s countries, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Antonio Prado, said during the inauguration of a seminar that was held in Brazil on September 3-4, 2015.
The senior United Nations official was one of the main speakers at the International Seminar on the Role of the State in the 21st Century: Challenges for Public Management, organized by the National School of Public Administration and Brazil’s Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management.
The meeting was attended by authorities from the host country as well as United Nations experts and international scholars, among them Nelson Barbosa, Brazil’s Minister of Planning, Budget and Management; Carlos Gabas, Brazil’s Minister of Social Welfare; Gleisson Rubin, President of the National School of Public Administration (ENAP); and Jorge Chediek, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Brazil.
In his speech, Antonio Prado said that currently the States in the region face considerable shortfalls, which are a product of structural heterogeneity, a history of inequalities, unfinished fiscal reforms and a political trajectory that must still advance towards a better quality of democracy.
“The State has a central role to play in the matter of equality. In our view of development, it is necessary for societies to revive the importance of three essential values: the general interest and the availability of public goods, the value of a shared strategic vision, and the value of politics,” Prado explained.
ECLAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary added that these three values demand a new role for the State and full democracy.
“The market alone does not produce equality in access to public goods, nor does it have long-term concerns. But that does not mean that its usefulness for distributing resources and for the availability of services should be ignored. In this sense, proposing greater State protagonism does not mean denying the importance of market functions,” Prado said.
Antonio Prado—who also made a presentation during the seminar on the new State, Market and Society equation, based on ECLAC’s trilogy of equality series—added that major challenges remain in terms of State policies to vitalize growth, promote productivity, foster greater territorial coordination, and favor better employment conditions and institutions that provide public goods and social protection with a clear universal and redistributive focus.