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Social cohesion in Latin America: concepts, frames of reference and Indicators

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Social cohesion in Latin America: concepts, frames of reference and Indicators

Autor institucional: NU. CEPAL Physical Description: 194 páginas. Editorial: ECLAC Date: June 2010 ECLAC symbol: LC/G.2420


Foreword In a scenario that poses challenges of global integration for the region's countries, ECLAC is working to advance a comprehensive development agenda for the region, one that emphasizes the relationships between economic growth, social equity, the consolidation of democracy and sustainable development.The question of social cohesion is an additional focus of concern in the region today. ECLAC has dwelt on the need for systematic institutional efforts to reduce the region's glaring social disparities, guarantee the rights of all, ensure respect for diversity and create a sense of belonging to a collective social project. Accordingly, the organisation has put forward proposals with a view to creating consensus among citizens around the provision of social protections and inclusion.ECLAC has acted on various fronts to make social cohesion a priority issue on the region's national policy agendas. In Social Cohesion: Inclusion and a Sense of Belonging in Latin America and the Caribbean, a book that benefited from support from the EUROsociAL Programme, the Ibero-American Secretariat (SEGIB) and the Spanish International Cooperation Agency for Development (AECID), ECLAC constructed a concept of social cohesion and a frame of reference for measuring the phenomenon. In the subsequent"System of Social Cohesion Indicators" project supported by the European Commission, ECLAC built on that work to develop a system of indicators for monitoring and evaluating social cohesion in Latin America. More recently, ECLAC implemented the project "Measuring social cohesion in Latin America" with funding from the European Union. This project aimed, among other things, to strengthen conceptual frameworks as they relate to specific aspects of social cohesion, and to explore the feasibility of creating a synthetic social cohesion index.The present book describes the main results of the project. As an effort to contribute towards a more comprehensive view of development, it both attempts to strengthen the conceptual framework that ECLAC has developed for understanding and measuring social cohesion, and to encourage the incorporation of the issue on the region's national agendas.We are aware that the work described here is a stage in an ongoing process. The focus has been on creating and validating basic conceptual and methodological tools that will facilitate study and understanding of social cohesion at an aggregate regional scale —an area in which many challenges remain.Meanwhile, major attention should be given to any action furthering the inclusion of social cohesion as a priority objective on the region's national agendas in the near future. It is my conviction that what ECLAC has learned in these years of work must be made available to the countries in order to encourage players on the region's national stages to incorporate the issue of social cohesion in their nations' public policy-making.Alicia Bárcena Executive Secretary Economic Commission for Latin Americaand the Caribbean (ECLAC)