The Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurría, visited the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile on Monday, April 25, where he met with Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena and ambassadors of the region to present the OECD's Regional Program for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Although we have different visions, identities and memberships, ECLAC and OECD have been building very valuable bridges for collaboration in the last five years,” Alicia Bárcena said at the start of the gathering with ambassadors, in which Chilean Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Edgardo Riveros participated.
Bárcena mentioned some concrete results of the joint work, including the noteworthy report Latin American Economic Outlook (on which the CAF-Latin American development bank also collaborates), which is presented each year in the framework of the Ibero-American summits organized by the Ibero-American Secretariat General (SEGIB).
The latest edition of the report, which will address the issues of “youth, entrepreneurship and education,” will be presented during the next Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, on October 28-29 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, the senior official stated.
Other joint documents include the report Revenue Statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is prepared as well with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT), as well as the Environmental Performance Reviews of some countries in the region such as Chile, Colombia and Peru.
In addition to highlighting the work carried out in conjunction with ECLAC, which will be strengthened when a memorandum of understanding to be signed in June this year, Angel Gurría referred to the official launch of the OECD's Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean, which will take place on June 1-2 during the OECD's Ministerial Council Meeting in Chile, which will be attended by the country's President, Michelle Bachelet.
This programme seeks to support efforts in the region in three key areas: productivity, social inclusion, and the strengthening of institutions and governance.
Gurría expressed particular concern for productivity in Latin America and the Caribbean, “whose growth rate has been declining throughout the region,” he said. It is important, he added, to link this topic to the challenges associated with social inclusion. He also stressed other urgent challenges, such as the need to have robust institutions and to combat corruption, as well as to fulfill the commitments stemming from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“We must act urgently to increase our productivity, formal job creation, education levels and the quality of public services, among other things, so that the benefits of growth are distributed in a just and equal manner,” Alicia Bárcena said during the meeting with ambassadors.
Founded in 1961, the OECD groups 34 countries and has the mission of promoting policies that improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. In Latin America and the Caribbean, only Chile and Mexico are full members, while Colombia and Costa Rica are in the process of accession. Brazil is considered a key partner and Peru has a specific cooperation program in place.
The member countries of the OECD Development Center include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.