(19 October 2010) "Real development will only be ground up when all parties involved articulate around a territory and decide what they want from it. For this, citizen participation is essential," said today the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, during an international seminar held at Commission headquarters in Santiago, Chile.
At the seminar Territorial Economic Development: New Praxis in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 21st Century, which will continue through Thursday, 21 October, experts will discuss the recent dynamics of territorial inequalities, the new policy frameworks and strategies in this area, successful experiences in local development and the challenges posed by measuring territorial development.
It was inaugurated by Bárcena and Jorge Máttar, director of the Latin American and Caribbean Institute of Economic and Social Planning (ILPES), which organized the event.
Bárcena noted that Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be the most unequal region in the world and is characterized by the strong territorial concentration of its economic activity and population within each country, with the resulting inequality in the territorial distribution of wealth.
That is why in the document Time for Equality Closing Gaps, Opening Trails, published this year during its Thirty-third Session held in June in Brasilia, ECLAC included this issue among its priorities and called on the region to design new policies in order to attain territorial convergence.
"Development requires national density. And building this national density requires greater social cohesion, quality leaderships, more productive and territorial convergence and, above all, an agreement among social stakeholders," she stated.
Bárcena also stressed the importance of the State. "State policies are needed to foment growth, productivity, greater territorial articulation and better employment conditions and labour institutions, provide public goods and guarantee social protection for all," she said.
"It is very important to achieve territorial convergence and this is possible only when there are State policies that allow countries to go from a static competitiveness based only on the comparative advantages of a supply of resources in a territory to a more dynamic competitiveness that includes knowledge and the capacity for innovation," she added.
"It is important to recall that in Latin America, we carry territory in our DNA, inherited from our indigenous peoples, who place particular value on it," she said.
Bárcena concluded by saying that for equality, "territory and place do matter".
The seminar includes conferences by representatives of the Ministry of Integration and the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) of Brazil, the Office of the Presidency of Uruguay, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the universities of Quebec (Canada), Alcalá de Henares (Spain), Federal de Pernambuco (Brazil) and Los Andes (Colombia).
More information is available on the ECLAC webpage.
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