C'bean envoys analyse prospects for sustainable development

Sunday, October 20, 2019

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UNITED NATIONS (CMC) – The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says representatives of 35 Member States and associate members have reviewed the institution's work programme and analysed the prospects for sustainable development in the region “in a scenario of uncertainty and economic deceleration.”

ECLAC said that last week, delegates participated in the 34th Session of its Committee of the Whole at the United Nations' headquarters in New York.

The session was inaugurated by ECLAC's Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, and Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, Ana Silvia Rodríguez Abascal. Cuba holds the Committee of the Whole's Presidency pro tempore.

“The challenge facing Latin America and the Caribbean today is to be able to achieve sustainable development by closing economic, social and environmental gaps in a complex context,” Bárcena told regional envoys.

“The economic deceleration process continues with negative rates for the regional average and for South America. In the first quarter of 2019, Latin America's economic activity contracted 0.1 per cent versus the same period of 2018,” she said.

Bárcena said this lower growth has stalled progress on matters of poverty and income distribution, adding to the impact of global phenomena, such as climate change, “to which Latin America – and the Caribbean in particular – is especially vulnerable.”

The ECLAC chief said that between 1990 and 2017, 408 disasters were recorded in the Caribbean: 90.4 per cent of them originated with hydro-climatic phenomena, such as floods, storms and tropical cyclones.

“Climate change necessitates that we take action today,” stressed Bárcena, who shared with the region's representatives the progress made by two thematic coalitions, led by ECLAC, to tackle this and other critical issues such as migration.

ECLAC said the first of these is “The Caribbean First” strategy, “one of the objectives of which is to operationalise the initiative to swap debt for climate change adaptation, in addition to offering support for the development of statistical capacities and for disaster prevention and evaluation in the subregion.”

The second is the Comprehensive Development Plan for northern Central America and Mexico, “which aims to create an economic and social space among the eight States of south-southeastern Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, based on four strategic pillars selected by the countries: economic development; social well-being; environmental sustainability and adaptation to climate change; and comprehensive management of the migration cycle,” ECLAC said.


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