“The modalities of international cooperation must adapt to the new global context and facilitate countries’ development processes with new instruments that are indispensable if we want to tackle current challenges and achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda,” Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), indicated during the second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), which is taking place in Buenos Aires.
The senior international official is heading the delegation from the UN regional commission that is participating in various side events and in the main debates of the conference, which was inaugurated today by the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri; the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres; and the President of the global organization’s General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa.
Alicia Bárcena accompanied the Secretary-General during his bilateral meetings with President Macri and with the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera. In addition, she held a series of meetings with the delegations representing the countries of the region, especially those from the Caribbean.
Bárcena was one of the main speakers at the side event “Transition to sustainable development: New pathways for cooperation to fulfill the 2030 Agenda,” which was held this Wednesday, March 20, and organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, ECLAC and the European Union.
On this occasion, these four institutions released the joint document Latin American Economic Outlook 2019 (LEO). In it, they call for a renewed and inclusive multilateralism to forge a new approach to development and a new paradigm for international cooperation, with the goal of overcoming the development traps that the region’s countries face. These are the traps of productivity, social vulnerability, institutional matters and environmental sustainability.
The report states that Latin America and the Caribbean should put itself at the forefront of this reformulation of international cooperation. It also urges the region’s governments to take on the challenge of leading the drive to promote a renewed and inclusive multilateralism that contributes to fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a renewed consensus for achieving a new development paradigm and an important political step forward. This ambitious agenda cannot be achieved in isolation. It establishes commitments for the entire international community and demands policy action at a national, regional and global level,” Bárcena stated during the presentation.
“In this framework, Latin America and the Caribbean faces complex challenges to its development, which require another approach. Hence, ECLAC along with the OECD and the European Union have presented a new modality, called Development in Transition (DiT), to support the region in its transition to more inclusive and sustainable development,” she added.
ECLAC’s Executive Secretary underscored that the current measurements of income and per capita GDP are inadequate since they do not capture the real level of countries’ development and they provide very poor information for policy making. “Today’s world is completely different from when the 2030 Agenda was approved (in 2015). Today we face a very volatile and shifting context, weakened multilateralism, a trade war, climate change, greater inequality and fragmented cooperation. Many countries have been ‘graduated’ (from official aid), but what does it mean for a country to graduate? They still have structural gaps, which make them fall into this ‘development trap,’” she explained.
“We offer concrete proposals to deal with this situation. For example, lowering the transaction costs of remittances, regulating transborder illicit flows, and many others. We need to change the metrics, seek spaces for cooperation and strengthen the production of regional and global public goods,” Alicia Bárcena stressed.
“Inequality in our region continues to be an issue. We must put equality and sustainability at the center of development and investment. Through this tool on Development in Transition, ECLAC, along with the OECD and the European Union, offers a dialogue mechanism for reclaiming multilateralism at a regional level, which we need so very much,” she said previously, during a side event at the BAPA+40 Conference on Uruguay’s cooperation policy, held on Tuesday, March 19.
Meanwhile, ECLAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Mario Cimoli, participated in two side events at PABA+40: one on cooperation for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the G20 and the voluntary peer learning mechanism – organized by the National Council for Social Policy Coordination of Argentina – and the other on South-South cooperation for the financing of development in the digital era, organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
At the first side event, Cimoli emphasized education and early childhood as determinant elements in the processes of greater inclusion and poverty reduction, while at the second one, he stressed the importance of digitalization in current development opportunities, and the key role that blockchains and fintech companies play as crucial technologies that will help regional integration.
Both ECLAC’s Executive Secretary and its Deputy Executive Secretary will continue participating in the BAPA+40 Conference on Thursday and Friday, March 21-22. In addition to taking part in debates at the plenary meetings, they will speak at side events on international cooperation with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and on the quantification and valorization of South-South cooperation.