Inequality puts the building of democratic nations at risk and therefore it is imperative that work be done to forge a culture of equality in the region, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Antonio Prado, said today during a roundtable discussion on citizen participation in Washington.
Convened by the Organization of American States (OAS), the meeting was kicked off by the organization’s Secretary General, Luis Almagro. Entitled From Exclusion to Equality in Latin America? More Rights for More People through Citizen Participation, the gathering was attended by independent experts and representatives from governments and private entities in the region.
During a segment of the debate moderated by Pablo Collada, the Executive Director of Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente—in which Ideli Salvatti, OAS’ Secretary for Access to Rights and Equity, and James Lambert, the organization’s Secretary for Hemispheric Affairs, participated as well—Antonio Prado said that exclusion and the culture of privilege in the region are rooted in society and are seen as being normal.
ECLAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary considered that in recent years the region has achieved notable advances in social and fiscal policies and on levels of citizen participation, but inequality continues to be the big pending issue. This, along with environmental sustainability, will be one of the pillars of the development proposal that the Commission will present at its thirty-sixth session, which will take place on May 23-27 in Mexico City.
“Inequality produces segregation and that limits citizen participation,” ECLAC’s senior representative underscored. He also emphasized that political will to boost this participation must be manifested in the establishment of institutional procedures and the allocation of budgetary resources.
In addition to citizen participation, more transparency (understood as availability and access to data) is needed. These are two of the fundamental pillars of open government. “The government cannot be distant from the citizenry who constituted it,” Antonio Prado stated.
ECLAC’s representative also reflected on corrupt practices and advocated for greater regulation to fight them both in the public and private systems.
This meeting was also attended by students of the OAS Fellowship on Open Government in the Americas, which ECLAC collaborates with through its Latin American and Caribbean Institute for Economic and Social Planning (ILPES). Open government is one of the core work areas of this Institute, which promotes actions and offers training on this subject.
Along with representatives from other international organizations, Antonio Prado will participate on Friday, May 6 at OAS’s headquarters in a panel on “Challenges in the implementation of the 2030 Migration Agenda - contribution of migration to development,” in the framework of the forum Migration and Development in the Americas: Towards the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
From ECLAC’s perspective, the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development—the main intergovernmental agreement on this matter, approved in 2013—is an appropriate foundation for producing initiatives on migratory governance that are aligned with respect for human rights, so that migration may represent an opportunity at the service of development.
In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC’s studies point to signs of a recent decline in emigration flows to the main extra-regional destination countries (the United States and Spain), while the immigration of people from other regions is losing relative importance. In contrast, movements within the region have intensified the most in recent years.