The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, reaffirmed today the importance and urgency of moving towards a new development paradigm that allows for preserving economic, social and environmental heritage for future generations as the only solution for tackling current global challenges.
The senior United Nations official participated in the opening session of the preparatory meeting for the Conference of the Parties, PRE COP 25, which is taking place through Thursday, October 10, in San José, Costa Rica.
As part of her participation in the meeting, Alicia Bárcena emphasized that, within this new paradigm, renewable energy, electromobility and the restoration of ecosystems and the services they provide are key to the environmental big push strategy in the region.
She added that ECLAC sees this paradigm shift – from a carbon-intensive model to one with greater sustainability – as an opportunity to generate investment and growth and to spark innovation based on the region’s characteristics.
“The quest for a low-carbon path to growth and development is essential for all the world’s economies,” she said.
ECLAC’s most senior representative warned that there is a critical international asymmetry between emissions and vulnerability. She stressed that while Latin America and the Caribbean’s total emissions represent just 8.3% of global emissions, the region is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change due to its geographic, climatic, socioeconomic and demographic traits.
At the conference’s opening ceremony, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary spoke on a high-level panel entitled “An inclusion approach to climate action,” where she addressed the scope of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, better known as the Escazú Agreement.
“This is an unprecedented treaty that gives expression to the rights of all citizens, an agreement that we Latin American and Caribbean people made for ourselves, but also for generations to come,” she stated.
Alicia Bárcena called on the peoples of the region to take ownership of the Escazú Agreement, while also urging countries to ratify it.
“This is an agreement among citizens to work together and change the conversation with private actors and the State,” she indicated.
Later in the day, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary participated in a workshop on the importance of integrating a gender perspective into the fight against climate change.
In that context, she noted that Latin America and the Caribbean is the most unequal region in the world, and the persistence of gender inequality is one of the ways in which this inequality manifests itself.
“One example is enough: nearly one third of all women in the region do not have their own sources of income,” she stated.
Bárcena added that the Montevideo Strategy for Implementation of the Regional Gender Agenda within the Sustainable Development Framework by 2030 establishes the importance of allocating public funds to advance policies for gender equality.
“Synergies such as these can be harnessed to catalyze the incorporation of a gender perspective into climate policy,” she said.
At the opening day of the PRE COP 25, ECLAC’s leading representative also participated in an event on strengthening the partnership between the European Union and Latin America for greater climate ambition, organized by EUROCLIMA+. There, she called for identifying which policies must be embraced in order to stimulate public and private investment in more resilient infrastructure and renewable energy.
Finally, Alicia Bárcena spoke at a high-level event entitled “Mobilizing Finance for the Low-Emission Transition,” organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where she stressed that all investments aimed at restoring natural heritages and ecosystem services will have benefits on various fronts: social well-being and inclusion, economic invigoration, adaptation and also mitigation.
ECLAC’s Executive Secretary will continue her activities on Wednesday, October 9, by participating in the side event Ensuring Climate Action based on Human Rights through Public Participation and the Implementation of the Escazú Agreement, organized by civil society. On Thursday, October 10, meanwhile, she will speak at the closing session of the PRE COP 25 and will participate in the launching of the “Champions of Escazú” initiative, among other activities.