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At ECLAC, Paraguay’s President Calls for Dialogue among Latin American and Caribbean Countries to Offer a Continent of Peace in a World Plagued by Conflict

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7 November 2023|Press Release

In the framework of his official visit to Chile, the Paraguayan leader gave a keynote lecture at the United Nations regional organization’s headquarters in Santiago.

 In the framework of his official visit to Chile, the President of the Republic of Paraguay, Santiago Peña, gave a keynote lecture today at the central headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in Santiago, urging the region’s countries to dialogue in a context of mutual respect, putting the interests that unite them first and offering a continent of peace in a troubled world, plagued by conflicts that have affected all countries due to their magnitude.

The Paraguayan leader – who took office on August 15, 2023 – was received by the United Nations regional organization’s Executive Secretary, Costa Rican economist José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, who welcomed him on behalf of ECLAC.

“It is an honor and a privilege for me to be able to receive you here at this Commission’s headquarters, and I would like to emphasize that this is the first time that a President of your country has visited our home, which is a home to Latin America and the Caribbean. We are very honored by your historic visit,” ECLAC’s Executive Secretary declared.

In his introductory remarks, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs highlighted President Peña’s trajectory and the fact that he became the youngest democratic leader in Paraguayan history. In addition, he described the accompaniment and advice that ECLAC has given to this South American country in numerous areas.

“In July of this year in Asunción, ECLAC accompanied the High-level Latin America Regional Review Meeting – in preparation for the Third United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries, which will take place in 2024 – at which countries made a ‘call to action’ and where we committed ourselves to identifying the appropriate policy measures and concrete recommendations for action at a national, regional and global level that are needed to ensure that the Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries be truly transformative, especially for contributing to accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to hear your first speech before the United Nations General Assembly, where you list four global challenges that are creating tensions: access to water, food security, energy sufficiency and resilience in logistics chains. These are areas in which we at ECLAC are working, and we are also available to support your country’s development,” he indicated.

“Cooperation between countries is key, it requires strong multilateral organizations dedicated to fostering development. At the United Nations and at ECLAC, we are working together with the region’s countries on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in order to leave no one behind,” Salazar-Xirinachs affirmed.

In his keynote lecture, the President of Paraguay recognized that the studies and analyses carried out by ECLAC have always been a highly valuable source of information, above all in his duties prior to the Presidency, when he served in his country’s Central Bank and at the helm of the Finance Ministry.

The leader explained that after the COVID-19 crisis, the challenge in Paraguay is to develop public policies that contain social contingency programs to provide support, in a more sustained way, to the people who need more state protection. He also stressed the importance of foreign trade and working for a green and sustainable economy for developing countries such as his own.

“For developing countries, foreign trade is key to creating jobs and prosperity, which is why we consider protectionist measures to be unacceptable, including tariff and non-tariff barriers, which many countries continue to apply,” President Peña emphasized. In addition, he stated, “climate change entails a major challenge for the planet, and rigorous and balanced measures must be taken to avert its harmful effects.”

In this regard, he indicated that Paraguay stands out as the biggest producer of clean energy per capita in the world, and it is also getting behind the production of green hydrogen as a promising option.

In his keynote lecture at ECLAC, President Santiago Peña ratified his “country’s commitment to South America’s progress.” He added: “We trust in the joint development of a united Americas. We are certain that we can achieve this with a very simple formula: work, credibility, respect for fundamental values and a vision that indivisibly integrates social development with environmental and economic development,” the Paraguayan leader underscored.

He further indicated that his government is committed to building a more equal society that would ensure women’s full participation in all areas. “The reconstruction of Paraguay, after the War of the Triple Alliance, has been possible thanks primarily to Paraguay’s heroic women. Equality between men and women, as well as being a constitutional mandate, is an ethical principle, indispensable for sustainable development and social harmony in any nation,” he declared.

In this area, he also highlighted ECLAC’s substantial contribution to demonstrating that trade devoid of a gender perspective – understood as the effective incorporation of women in sustainable development – can be an insurmountable obstacle to the fight against inequality, further deepening existing gaps.

“The current challenge lies in translating challenges into opportunity to generate needed changes, through institutional strengthening and the implementation of effective public policies. We are certain that ECLAC will continue to be a beacon of wisdom and guidance, deploying prolific work for the promotion and sustainable economic development of our region,” President Santiago Peña concluded.