Authorities from the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean reaffirmed today the urgency of having more and better planning, which would allow for strengthening governance and would articulate public plans and policies in the short, medium and long term, along with the distinct territorial scales and stakeholders, during the inauguration of the Nineteenth Meeting of the Regional Council for Planning of the Latin American and Caribbean Institute for Economic and Social Planning (ILPES) of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
This meeting – which is taking place through Thursday, November 9 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – was inaugurated by Pável Isa, Minister of Economic Affairs, Planning and Development of the Dominican Republic; Héctor Alexander, Minister of Economy and Finance of Panama, in his capacity as outgoing Chair of the Regional Council for Planning of ILPES; Mauricio Ramírez, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Dominican Republic; and Raúl García-Buchaca, Deputy Executive Secretary for Management and Programme Analysis of ECLAC, on behalf of José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary.
Participating in this intergovernmental gathering are ministers, deputy ministers and high-level planning authorities from the region’s countries, along with representatives of civil society and United Nations organizations, who will analyze the progress and challenges related to planning for development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In his inaugural speech, Pável Isa, Minister of Economic Affairs, Planning and Development of the Dominican Republic, stressed the need for the Regional Council for Planning of ILPES to set itself up as a true network of countries that interact on an ongoing basis.
“It should be a true network, with a relationship that does not start and stop at an annual meeting, but rather defines a program of work for collective learning and strengthening in the framework of a shared agenda for capacity building,” the Minister underlined.
Héctor Alexander, the Economy and Finance Minister of Panama, meanwhile, emphasized that planning and public administration are fundamental pillars that require the participation of all actors who can enable the articulation of efforts, initiatives and resources, which would result in the community’s well-being.
Mauricio Ramírez, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Dominican Republic, pointed up Latin American and Caribbean countries’ commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“You have been the architects of many wise decisions and, at the same time, have had the responsibility of facing intense and complex challenges for guiding public policies, mainly, when financial restrictions and limited fiscal space impose priorities that instead of serving the most vulnerable populations and the territories that are lagging the most, must serve the debt or other priorities,” he affirmed.
On behalf of ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, the Deputy Executive Secretary for Management and Programme Analysis of ECLAC, Raúl García-Buchaca, emphasized that the outcomes of the recent SDG Summit, and the UN Secretary-General’s proposal to convene a Summit of the Future in September of next year, confirm that today more than ever countries need to strengthen their capacities for designing, managing and implementing state policies with high-quality parameters that would make it possible to address with a sense of urgency the economic, social and environmental challenges of the present, but with a forward-looking vision.
“We are optimistic about the region moving in that direction: 20 of 33 countries and more than 65 territories have formulated long-term plans or strategies with time frames ranging from 2030 to 2050,” he stated.
He warned that halfway through the period for achieving the 2030 Agenda, we are still far from being halfway along the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is therefore necessary, he stressed, to recalibrate public policies to raise the level of ambition and give them a decisive impetus.
“We at ECLAC are proposing a vision regarding 14 sectors to drive growth that we believe have the synergistic capacity to promote several SDGs simultaneously. Obviously, the effectiveness of these efforts will depend on whether we are able to forge partnerships in which multiple stakeholders participate to improve the capacities of public governance, of multi-level institutions and of subnational actors in each country, depending on its particular circumstances,” he specified.
On the opening day of the Nineteenth Meeting of the Regional Council for Planning, the Director of ILPES, Cielo Morales, presented a position paper entitled Foresight for Development: Contributions to Forward-looking Territorial Governance, which seeks to promote reflection on foresight for development and the importance of citizen deliberation in the ownership of future scenarios.
“Foresight articulated with planning is very powerful, because they constantly feed into each other and orient public policies for action by the State,” Cielo Morales affirmed.
The three-day event will feature three panel discussions addressing foresight for development as a tool for improving territorial governance; governance for digital transformation in the context of open government; and national policies for territorial development.
In the framework of the meeting, two special events will be held: one on youth, leadership and the future of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the other on transformative post-disaster recovery.
The Regional Council for Planning is the subsidiary body of ECLAC in charge of guiding the activities of ILPES. It is made up of ministers and planning officials from the United Nations regional commission’s Member States.