(25 January 2013) Ministers from several Latin American and Caribbean and European Union countries took part in the High-level roundtable on equality and development: Cooperation and public policies to narrow structural gaps, which was held at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile.
The meeting, which was moderated by the ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, was organized as part of the First Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union (CELAC-EU), which will be held at the weekend in the Chilean capital.
Ms. Bárcena welcomed the presenters, including Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Hugo Martínez, Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador; Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago; Heikki Holmås, Minister of International Development of Norway; Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs and Health of France; and Juan Somavía, former Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Mr. Eliasson focused his presentation on the relationship between equality and peace. Speaking to an audience of government representatives, diplomats and international officials, the Deputy Secretary-General stressed that "there can be no peace without development, and no development without peace". He stated that there could be no lasting peace or sustainable development without respect for human rights worldwide. He described these as the pillars that should guide international cooperation, and that they should form the basis for creating strong societies.
Ms. Bárcena shared some of ECLAC's proposals from last year's Thirty-fourth session held in San Salvador, El Salvador. The most recent institutional document: Structural Change for Equality: An Integrated Approach to Development was presented there to suggest to the region's countries that they diversify their economies and implement active industrial policies in combination with macroeconomic, social and labour policies with the emphasis placed on equality.
"Inequality is the enemy of development", Ms. Bárcena said in summary.
Panellists tackled topics such as the causes and effects of the economic crisis, the importance of education to ensure equal opportunities, the need to strengthen regional and international cooperation, challenges in taxation and social protection, gender equality and natural resource governance.
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