SANTIAGO – The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says representatives from 33 regional countries, 20 United Nations agencies and other organizations have reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
ECLAC said regional delegates, attending the fourth meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, have also committed to confronting the difficulties arising from the crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of building forward better.
In addition to governments and UN system agencies, ECLAC said participants in the high-level meeting – which took place virtually on March 15-18 under the presidency of Costa Rica – included 24 intergovernmental organizations, 21 financial institutions from the region, 118 people from the academic sector and 38 from the private sector, as well as more than 440 representatives of civil society in the region, parliaments and local authorities.
The meeting ended with a closing roundtable entitled “Building an inclusive and effective pathway to achieve the 2030 Agenda within the context of the decade of action and post-pandemic recovery from COVID-19”, which was moderated by Christian Guillermet-Fernández, Deputy Minister for Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica.
The meeting also featured the participation of Juan Sandoval Mendiolea, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations and chair of the Group of Friends on Voluntary National Reviews and others.
In her closing remarks, the senior UN official highlighted that the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development is “the space that allows the region to speak with its own identity about its realities, its specificities, recognizing its rich diversity while at the same time encouraging shared aspirations and making them converge.
“Once again, our region has given evidence of its enormous commitment to unity, cooperation, multilateralism and to a transformative recovery, which is a key requisite for implementation of the 2030 Agenda,” she said. “We leave with the responsibility bestowed on us by the regional consensus reached here, which reaffirms the dire urgency of building fair, sustainable societies that would tackle inequality and guarantee citizenship and rights.”
ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, also stressed the “undeniable urgency of acting together as a region to ensure access to vaccines and to share capacities and experiences so that the vaccination against COVID-19 reaches the entire population.
“This is a necessary and indispensable precondition for a transformative recovery with equality and sustainability,” she said. “We have heard it in this meeting, and I reaffirm it today: there is nowhere to return to.
“We have to move towards a different future,” she added. “Latin America and the Caribbean cannot continue to tolerate the structural injustice that distinguishes the region.
“It is time to put an end to the culture of privilege, inequalities and to eradicate poverty in all its forms. The priority must be on employment with rights and on building a future with full rights to universal social protection,” Bárcena underscored.
In his remarks, Ambassador Mendiolea recognized that this Forum has been a very fruitful and positive space in the context of the crisis we are living through.
“The pandemic gives us the opportunity to implement policies that progressively lead us towards greater social equality,” he said. “Multilateralism is the proper route for seeking solutions to shared problems and the 2030 Agenda is our common path, and we should take advantage of it.”
ECLAC said this is a joint effort by the 22 UN agencies, funds and programs in the region, “which contains clear references to Latin America and the Caribbean’s institutional architecture for implementation of the 2030 Agenda at a regional level and coordination mechanisms, and which allows countries – and United Nations country teams – to obtain specialized knowledge to respond to national needs arising in relation to this roadmap.”
At the end of the fourth meeting of the Forum, ECLAC said delegates approved a document with 94 conclusions and recommendations that will be taken to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2021, which is held under the auspices of ECOSOC.
They include calling upon the international community to reinforce measures aimed at addressing specific challenges that hindered achievement of some SDG targets by the year 2020, such as those to protect biodiversity, develop disaster risk reduction strategies, increase the availability of timely, quality and disaggregated data, foster youth participation, and enhance financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfer to developing countries.
Furthermore, ECLAC said the countries express solidarity with all people and countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and offered their condolences and sympathy to the families of victims of the pandemic and to those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by it.
In addition, ECLAC said they reaffirmed their support for international cooperation, multilateralism and solidarity in the global response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, and emphasized that “multilateralism is not an option but rather a necessity for our task of recovering and building back better to achieve a more equal, more resilient and more sustainable world.”
Similarly, ECLAC said delegates reaffirmed their renewed commitment to end poverty “in all its forms and dimensions” and to end hunger everywhere; to continue promoting sustainable development, including inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment and promoting social inclusion; to combat inequalities within and among countries; as well as to respect and promote all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.