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ECLAC says fulfillment of UN's 2030 Agenda in the Caribbean at critical point

Friday, May 03, 2019

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SANTIAGO, Chile (CMC) — The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, says fulfillment of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean is at a critical point.

“We find ourselves at a critical point; it is important to send a very clear message about what is truly needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region,” she told the third meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development.

In her address she reviewed the degree of progress made by the regional countries on implementing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the road map that the governments of the world approved in 2015 to put an end to poverty and hunger and provide greater well-being to all citizens by the year 2030.

“We know where we want to go, but implementation has been difficult for us. There are various pending issues, such as achieving greater ownership of the 2030 Agenda on the part of economic and social actors, finding new drivers of growth, improving distributive results, its financing, closing technological gaps and changing the conversation with civil society and the private sector,” Bárcena said, adding “the biggest risk is that we move from a peak of indifference to paralysis”.

The UN official said that a strategy must be sought for cooperating on issues that extend beyond national spaces and agreeing upon new approaches to inequality, environmental crisis, migrations, the technological revolution and the reduction of conflicts – “all of which demand new forms of multilateral cooperation.”

Furthermore, she said, macroeconomic and fiscal policies must be coordinated.

“In sum, a multilateralism that strengthens democracy is a response that is compatible with the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the Paris Agreement,” Bárcena said.

Her analysis included projections to 2030 for 20 indicators of progress on 15 of the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

She identified five dynamics in regional trends including the target aimed at reducing the mortality rate of children under five years of age to fewer than 25 for every 1,000 live births that has already been achieved.

She said the percentage of people who use the Internet (target 17.8) is on the correct path. In contrast, the target aimed at achieving universal and equitable access to drinking water at a price that is affordable to all (target 6.1) will not be reached.

In addition, the trend on access to secondary education is not enough for all children to be able to complete this level in a timely way by 2030 (target 4.1), and the positive trend seen on reducing the percentage marking the prevalence of undernourishment (target 2.1) came to a halt.

Meanwhile, ECLAC said the recent economic and distributive performance is insufficient for eliminating extreme poverty.

“Halving poverty requires greater growth and better distribution. We have to grow, and most certainly improve redistributive scenarios. If there is not greater equality, it will be very difficult to achieve the poverty targets,” she added.

She said definitively, “without a change in the development pattern, the targets of various SDGs will not be achieved.

“Here, policies for equality and growth are indispensable. We also need an environmental big push with policies on industry, investment and innovation for progressive structural change.”

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