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The part played by natural resources in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean

31 August 2020|Newsletter Edition


Latin America and the Caribbean is a region that is highly dependent on natural resources, which play a key role in most of the region’s economies. In recent months, the region has been hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which has drawn attention to the important part played by natural resources and related services, such as drinking water, electricity and food, in fighting the virus. At the same time, the pandemic has curtailed numerous natural resource activities and highlighted the inequality in access to those resources and the income they generate.

This first issue of the Bulletin on Natural Resources in Latin America and the Caribbean, prepared by the Natural Resources Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), contains an analytical overview of the role played by water, electricity, agriculture, biodiversity and non-renewable natural resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a view to putting forward comprehensive proposals that might help the countries in the region improve their response to this and future crises, and address structural difficulties.

Based on the impacts of COVID-19, this bulletin identifies the need to bolster the role of the State in guaranteeing access to water, electricity and food for vulnerable segments of the population. At the same time, it underscores the importance of keeping essential chains of activities related to the use of natural resources up and running, while safeguarding the health of the workers and communities involved. It is likewise essential to maintain the diversity of ecosystems, preserve their natural boundaries, and avoid the fragmentation, degradation, and destruction of the region’s natural habitats.

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