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Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development Begins with a Call for Regional Unity to Achieve the 2030 Agenda

Second meeting of the mechanism commenced at ECLAC’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile, with the participation of 26 countries and more than 500 delegates.

18 April 2018|Press Release

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Opening session of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development
Opening session of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development
Photo: Carlos Vera/ECLAC

The second meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development began today at ECLAC’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile with a call to all stakeholders – governments, civil society, international bodies, the private and public sectors – to join forces for the region to advance on compliance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a roadmap approved by the United Nations to achieve more inclusive, sustainable and egalitarian societies.

The high-level event – organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the government of Mexico, and which brings together delegates from 26 countries and more than 500 participants from governments, non-governmental organizations and the international system – will continue through Friday, April 20, with the goal of reviewing the progress and challenges related to implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the region.

At the inaugural ceremony of the gathering, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, highlighted that this Forum is an essential meeting place where countries take stock of what the 2030 Agenda entails and of the challenges it poses. “Our region is living through very complex times and that is why it is so relevant to prove that multilateralism and integration continue to be valid and that they enable us to make progress in pursuit of sustainable development,” she stated.

Bárcena sustained that inequality hurts and is intolerable, and for this reason equality has always been at the center of ECLAC’s actions. “If the region does not bet on becoming more equal to grow and growing to become more equal, we are not going to make much progress, because inequality increases and is growing. The culture of privilege naturalizes inequality and this Forum is a space for putting an end to that,” she underscored.

The senior United Nations official insisted that the region must have a strong voice and ask for global economic solidarity to confront together challenges such as the modifications to the labor market, resulting from the fourth technological revolution, or climate change itself. And, she added, “we have to change our patterns of consumption and production. This is a very profound change that requires the political will not only of governments, but also of society as a whole. In addition, it is necessary for us to decarbonize our economy and take a leap forward with an environmental big push. We cannot continue with business as usual.”

Meanwhile, Norma Munguía, Director General for Global Affairs at Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretariat, stated that the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a task for all sectors and at all levels of government, since it is the appropriate framework for finding effective solutions to the main challenges that we face in terms of development.

“The adequate implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires the participation of all the actors involved and the sum of all efforts and resources of all kinds to advance effectively on the achievement of its 169 targets,” the Mexican diplomat indicated. She also expressed special thanks to ECLAC for its “invaluable support, above all in the production of documents and creation of intergovernmental spaces that for 70 years have contributed to improving the region’s development.”

Patricio Victoriano, the Multilateral Policy Director at Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed the Chilean government’s welcome to all the delegations present and his desire that this week’s discussions in the Forum allow for exchanging good practices around the ambitious 2030 Agenda, “which constitutes a roadmap for moving toward overcoming poverty in all its forms and dimensions.”

“This space enriches the way in which we see and how we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and that will benefit us all. An essential component of the 2030 Agenda is participation: we consider that the coordination of different actors for the implementation of these SDGs is fundamental,” Victoriano said.

In a video greeting sent specially for this meeting, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, indicated that this multi-stakeholder Forum provides a vital contribution to the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda in the region and in other parts of the world.

“Platforms such as this forum highlight the roles of the UN regional economic commissions to enhance coordination and collaboration among governments, stake-holders and the United Nations system” the global organization’s second-highest authority stated. “I also wish to commend Latin America and the Caribbean for your leadership in presenting the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) during the UN High-level Political Forum (which will be held in July in New York), and I encourage all of you to keep up the momentum.”

During the first session of the meeting, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, will present the Second annual report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, which details countries’ progress on compliance with the SDGs and provides recommendations to confront the challenges that are still pending.

The second meeting of the Forum will continue today through Friday, April 20, with different peer learning sessions on the challenges of and participatory approaches to implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as well as on platforms for follow-up to the SDGs.

In addition, countries will dialogue about the regional dimension of the 2030 Agenda and the contributions of the United Nations system and of multiple stakeholders to its implementation.

See the full programme of the meeting at this link.