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“No More Lost Decades for Latin America and the Caribbean”: ECLAC Lays Out its Proposal for Economic and Social Transformation

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7 June 2024|Press Release

Because of his contributions to the region’s development, the organization’s Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, was awarded with the Maestro Ricardo Torres Gaitán 2024 Lecture from the Rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Leonardo Lomelí.


Main table with the attendees
From left to right: Silvia Hernández, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Executive Secretary of ECLAC; Miguel Armando López Leyva, UNAM’s Humanities Coordinator; José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary; Leonardo Lomelí, UNAM’s Rector; Armando Sánchez Vargas, Director of UNAM’s Institute for Economic Research (IIEc); and Lorena Rodríguez León, Director of UNAM’s Faculty of Economics (photo credit: UNAM).
Photo: UNAM

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, warned that Mexico along with Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole are facing a development crisis that is manifested in three main traps: low, volatile, exclusionary and unsustainable growth; high inequality, low social mobility and social cohesion; and low institutional capacities and ineffective governance.

After being awarded with the Maestro Ricardo Torres Gaitán 2024 Lecture from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and expressing his gratitude, Salazar-Xirinachs explained that on top of the crisis and the fact that we are concluding another lost decade, the region must successfully navigate the changes that international relations are undergoing today, take advantage of the opportunities arising, and also use regional stances to influence multilateral negotiations so as to avert unfavorable scenarios and strengthen the multilateral system. But, in addition, it must move from analyzing “what to do” to assessing “how to do it.” Meaning it must go beyond lists of goals and aspirations, and address challenges in relation to governance, institutional capacities, social dialogue and political economy in order to successfully manage transformations in practice.

“To achieve productive, inclusive and sustainable development, I have identified eleven transformations and have made a growth and productive transformation proposal for productivity, inclusion and sustainability,” the senior UN official explained.


While bestowing the Lecture upon ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, UNAM’s Rector, Leonardo Lomelí, agreed with Salazar-Xirinachs that higher, more inclusive and sustainable growth can help reduce inequality and increase social mobility and social cohesion, but it must go hand in hand with the expansion of social protection and the welfare state.

“The National Autonomous University of Mexico, through this Lecture, recognizes not only your vast experience and impeccable career, but also your deep ties to the values that our University’s educational mission defends. Likewise, UNAM thanks you for your unrelenting dedication to training excellent human resources, your defense of social equality, and your constant pursuit of innovative solutions with a high degree of academic rigor for facing contemporary challenges,” the Rector said.

The Director of UNAM’s Institute for Economic Research (IIEc), Armando Sánchez Vargas, said the technical committee decided unanimously that the Lecture be bestowed upon Salazar-Xirinachs for his notable merits and outstanding trajectory in the study and application of policies on development, trade, productive transformation, competitiveness and employment. Meanwhile, Lorena Rodríguez León, Director of UNAM’s Faculty of Economics, recognized the academic and professional trajectory of ECLAC’s Executive Secretary. The Chief of Staff of the Office of the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Silvia Hernández, also spoke during the event.

At the same ceremony, UNAM’s Rector and ECLAC’s Executive Secretary announced a relaunching of the Juan F. Noyola International Award for Research on Economic Development, with the aim of promoting research related to the Latin America and Caribbean region’s economic and social development. The rules and the call for submissions will be announced in the near future.