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Region's Governmental Authorities Stress the Relevance of ECLAC's Structural Change Proposal

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31 August 2012|Press Release

Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, called on the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to coordinate their macroeconomic, industrial, social, labour and environmental policies.


Alicia Bárcena, Secretaria Ejecutiva de la CEPAL, presenta el documento Cambio estructural para la igualdad.
Alicia Bárcena, Secretaria Ejecutiva de la CEPAL, presenta el documento Cambio estructural para la igualdad.
Foto: Mario Pascassio

(30 August 2012) Today, authorities and experts stressed the relevance in this global economic crisis of the structural change for equality that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is proposing to the region as part of its thirty-fourth session being held from Monday 27 to Friday 31 August in El Salvador.

On the fourth day of ECLAC's most important biennial meeting, Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, presented the main proposals from the latest institutional document entitled Structural change for equality: An integrated approach to development, which outlines a concrete path to growth with equality and environmental sustainability in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to Ms. Bárcena, speaking during a session chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, Hugo Martínez (also attended by Deputy Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Antonio Prado): "Virtuous structural change involves implementing qualitative changes in the production structure to boost and strengthen knowledge-intensive sectors and a rapid growth in demand, so as to generate a greater number and quality of jobs: the key to achieving development with equality".

The senior official was speaking as part of a high-level seminar on structural change, which was attended by the region's Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Treasury, Economy, Trade, Industry, Planning, Social Development and Environment, as well as other authorities from the delegations of the 52 Member States and associate members of ECLAC. Also in attendance were officials from the United Nations system, academics and civil society representatives.

The four panel discussions are debating topics such as structural change, productivity and employment, economic cycle dynamics and long-term growth, the social face of structural change and an integrated approach to development policies (including environmental sustainability).

The panel discussions are being chaired by the Minister of Economy of El Salvador, Armando Flores, President of the Central Bank of El Salvador, Carlos Acevedo, Technical Secretary of the Presidency of El Salvador, Alexander Segovia, and the country's First Lady, Vanda Pignato.

Other presenters at the seminar include the Minister of Economy and Public Finance of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Luis Arce, Social Development Minister of Chile, Joaquín Lavín, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism of Colombia, Sergio Díaz-Granados, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications of Costa Rica, René Castro, Minister of Economic Policy Coordination in Ecuador, Jeannette Sánchez, and Minister of Economy and Finance of Uruguay, Fernando Lorenzo.

In her presentation, Ms. Bárcena called on the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to coordinate macroeconomic, industrial, social and labour policies and to build fiscal and social covenants conducive to the changes that the region's production structure requires in order to grow in a steady and environmentally sustainable way, in the context of new technological paradigms.

According to the former President of the Dominican Republic and current honorary President  of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, Leonel Fernández "The structural change proposal made by ECLAC comes at the right time because we are facing a global structural crisis".  He added that the document "provides a long-term view for the region".

João Carlos Ferraz, Vice President of Brazil's National Bank for Economic and Social Development, stated that the ECLAC's proposal "resonates well with processes under way in the region and this resonance, within a strong analytical framework, may have implications for public policy proper, rather than remaining in a vacuum". He added that "ECLAC is giving us an appropriate summary of our strengths and weaknesses".

José Antonio Ocampo, Director of the Economic and Political Development Program in the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University agreed that "the timeliness of this document is doubtless, as it feeds into processes under way in Latin America". He highlighted in particular the analysis on the relationship between the business cycle and long-term growth: "Making a bridge between the two is essential".  

David Ibarra, Professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, stated that "while the our region's production structures remain acutely heterogeneous, there will be a continuation of the external strangulation and inequalities in productivity and income that may be generated and paid by traditional enterprises in relation to the modern companies located in our countries".

In this sense, Ms. Bárcena declared that public and private investment is "the vector for structural change and the bridge between short- and long-term growth". She urged countries not to use public investment as an adjustment variable in times of economic recession and asked them to strengthen the role of the State and politics in order to join forces to achieve structural change for equality.


For exclusive interviews and queries, please contact María Amparo Lasso, Head of the ECLAC Public Information and Web Services Section. E-mail:; Mobile: (56 9) 79678306 - Office: (56 2) 2102040; Daniela Estrada. E-mail:; Mobile: (56 9) 81993349; or María Luisa Díaz.    E-mail:; Mobile: (56 9) 66079429.

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