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In the Face of Global Uncertainty, Alicia Bárcena Calls For Working Towards Equality in Latin America

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5 October 2014|Press Release

During her mission in Mexico, ECLAC's Executive Secretary held meetings with public officials, academics, students and business executives.


Photo of ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena.
ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, gave a magisterial lecture on "Open data for development in Latin America", on Thursday 2 October in Mexico City, on the occasion of the second Regional Conference on Open Data in Latin America and the Caribbean (ConDatos), the most important event on this matter in the region.
Photo: National Digital Strategy Coordination for the Office of the President of Mexico.

(October 5, 2014) In the face of an uncertain global scenario with an economic crisis, the risk of pandemic diseases and the damaging effects of climate change, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, called while in Mexico for working towards equality and closing the gaps that separate the richest from the poorest.

Alicia Bárcena's mission in Mexico lasted one week and had as its conceptual framework the central documents that ECLAC released in its latest sessions: Time for Equality: Closing Gaps, Opening Trails (Brasilia, 2010), Structural Change for Equality: An Integrated Approach to Development (San Salvador, 2012) and Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future (Lima, 2014).

At the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the United Nations official said that the region needs a new generation of social policies framed within broad compacts, agreed upon by the various actors in society and including a medium- and long-term vision, which will guarantee their continuity in achieving greater equality.

The compacts among all actors of society, she said, gain more relevance in a context where the market has demonstrated its failure, the economic crisis has not been resolved, more developed countries refuse to change their consumption and production patterns and poverty is no longer falling at the same rate as before.

UNAM Chancellor José Narro recognized the credibility and methodological rigor of ECLAC's studies and its work on seeking ways to reduce inequality.

During the Forbes Forum on The New Business Paradigm (link available only in Spanish), which drew representatives from the business community throughout the region, Bárcena gave a keynote lecture and explained how regional integration and countries' explicit industrial policies will allow for chaining in the productive sector and will help companies.

"Intraregional trade is where we see the great role of trans-Latin (companies)," Bárcena said. "Nineteen percent of what Latin America produces goes to its internal market, while 60% of what the European Union produces stays in that region," she explained.

Because of her trajectory as an internationalist, the Executive Secretary received the 2013 Medal in International Relations from Mexico's Anáhuac University, and in a speech to students and professors in that field she warned about the urgent need to confront global challenges like climate change, the economic crisis and the emergence of Ebola.

Bárcena accepted the medal as recognition of the work of ECLAC, which has identified equality as the ultimate goal, structural change towards sustainability as the path and the art of politics as the instrument for achieving this.

"It is our conviction that the effective reduction of inequality in the long term requires, in addition to social policies, the creation of quality employment, offering people jobs that are better paid and have higher productivity," she told students.

The senior United Nations official also spoke at the closing session of the second Regional Conference on Open Data in Latin America and the Caribbean (link available only in Spanish) along with Alejandra Lagunes, Coordinator of the Mexican Presidency's National Digital Strategy, and Ximena Puente de la Mora, Commissioner President of the Federal Institute for Access to Public Information and Data Protection (IFAI).

There, Bárcena called for empowering citizens through full access to technologies and information.

"Today our region urgently needs a technological leap with a vision of the future, a structural change in its production and consumption habits, and a profound redefinition of the state-market-society balance. Empowering the citizenry in this equation is a pending task in our societies," she concluded.