ECLAC warns that COVID-19 will lead to the biggest recession ever experienced by the region


ECLAC warns that COVID-19 will lead to the biggest recession ever experienced by the region

Monday, June 01, 2020

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SANTIAGO, Chile (CMC) — The executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, has submitted to the member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) the actions, proposals, and policy recommendations that the commission has developed for providing follow-up and confronting the novel coronavirus crisis outbreak.

Bárcena presented the 'Report on the economic impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Latin America and the Caribbean,' a study produced by ECLAC in response to a request made by the Government of Mexico, acting as CELAC's pro tempore chair, at the Virtual Ministerial Meeting on Health Matters for Response and Follow-up to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The senior United Nations official specified that, in response to CELAC's request, ECLAC has “set in motion” a COVID-19 Observatory to contribute to the analysis and follow-up of actions and measures taken by CELAC's 33 countries to tackle the pandemic.

Bárcena said that the COVID-19 Observatory has produced diverse reports and studies with comparative data to inform policymakers about sectoral issues; has held meetings with government representatives at the highest level to support solution-building and the exchange of experiences (gatherings that will continue to take place over the coming weeks); and has made short and medium-term recommendations and proposals.

“The pandemic has sent shock waves through societies and economies, forcing us to be more creative, increase experience-sharing, strengthen peer learning, and take advantage of multilateralism at a time when cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders is vital and no one can save themselves unaided,” Bárcena said.

ECLAC's executive secretary underscored that the COVID-19 Observatory in Latin America and the Caribbean, implemented by ECLAC with the support of United Nations resident coordinators in the region, is “a space for regional communication to share analyses of economic and social effects at a national and regional level with regard to the state of health systems, labour structures, employment, schooling, production, trade and macroeconomic policy.”

She said that this tool includes a COVID-19 geoportal which, through an interactive map, provides access to information on the actions taken by the region's countries to confront the pandemic.

“This information is disaggregated by the type of measure, such as restrictions on movement, health, the economy, work, social protection, and education, and it will soon include actions related to gender,” Bárcena said.

ECLAC has already published three special reports on COVID-19 that address the socio-economic effects of the pandemic, as well as specific studies on the production of official statistics; general recommendations for caring for older people from a human rights perspective; the crisis of care in Latin America and the Caribbean; the impact of restrictive policies on the international trade of medication and medical supplies; the effects on tourism; and other topics.

Furthermore, Bárcena said the commission has held virtual meetings with high-level government representatives related to the issues in its work plan, the activities of ECLAC's subsidiary bodies, and the COVID-19 crisis.

She said officials from United Nations agencies, funds, and programmes, have also participated in these gatherings, along with resident coordinators, who are key actors for implementing actions on the ground.

To date, meetings have been held with authorities from national statistical entities; ministers of social development; ministers and senior authorities from the mechanisms for women's advancement in Latin America and the Caribbean; finance ministers in the region; and ministers and senior authorities from the ministries and governing bodies in charge of science, technology, and innovation; among others.

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