(30 May 2012) "We propose a strategy for economic growth that prioritize structural change, based on investment, integration and innovation, as well as strengthening public action for redistributing resources and promoting equality," stated today Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in a message sent to participants in the second Caribbean Development Round Table, celebrated in Georgetown, Guyana.
Organized by the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean in collaboration with the Office of the President of the Republic of Guyana, the event's central topic is "macroeconomic policies for a structural transformation and the social protection of small States".
Government, private sector, international organizations and civil society representatives will discuss on how small States can increase economic diversification, improve their access to financing sources and strengthen social protection systems despite their fiscal limitations.
Bárcena mentioned that the drop in revenues from tourism and remote financial services as a result of the recent world economic crisis has revealed structural deficiencies among Caribbean economies, such as a lack of export diversification and the dependence on a reduced number of markets.
She also pointed out that "the search for new markets and trade relations that are consistent with the emerging innovative trade dynamics is an important factor to be included in new multilateral cooperation agendas. In fact, South-South cooperation is an essential strategy for small States to pursue sustainable development".
Taking into account the on-going challenges to global economy, the role of integration has become even more urgent, assured Bárcena, when calling for doubling efforts to implement regional agreements that allow Caribbean countries to benefit from each other. She also emphasized that trade agreements must be leveraged not only for the benefit of markets, but also to foster technology transfer, investment and capacity building.
The Executive Secretary of ECLAC underlined that the second Caribbean Development Round Table constitutes an opportunity for helping strengthen the relationship between Latin America and the Caribbean and benefitting, for instance, from the recent Latin American experience on responding to and recovering from the financial crisis, as well as from lessons learned on market, capital and technology transfer opportunities.
Bárcena also stressed the importance of addressing and reducing the Caribbean vulnerability to natural disasters and the relevance of public capacity building for redistributing resources and promoting equality by protecting the most vulnerable population.
"When resources are limited, the financing of social welfare programmes must be well focused and better managed in order to offer real support to those who are more vulnerable," she continued.
"ECLAC suggests that equality, economic growth and environmental sustainability go hand in hand, supporting and strengthening each other. It is about equality for growth and growth for equality. Rights equality is an important principle implying equal opportunities, a long-term vision and a fiscal strategy focused not only on redistribution, but also on the improvement of most vulnerable people's capacities to become productively employed," she added.
The results of the second Caribbean Development Round Table will be presented to the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC), to meet on 31 May 2012 in Guyana.
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