Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2020. 5:08 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: At the start of the 38th session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on Monday, hosted by Costa Rica, countries banded together to declare that recovery from COVID-19 must be sustainable, inclusive and resilient.
“This political declaration constitutes for us at ECLAC, not only a mandate and guide for developing our mission, but also a fundamental sign that it is possible for the region to raise a single voice amid the historic challenges that this crucial time requires us to face. Today, as the United Nations commemorates its 75th anniversary, we can say that here within the framework of ECLAC, Latin American and Caribbean multilateralism, its vocation for cooperation and integration, has expressed itself yet again, strongly and clearly,” Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena affirmed in her remarks.
In the political declaration, the high-level authorities urgently called for solidarity, multilateralism and international cooperation to be intensified at all levels, including North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation, as well as partnerships between the public and private sectors, to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences through people-centred responses that would take gender issues into account and fully respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Furthermore, they requested the swift and effective mobilization of resources to tackle development problems and they encouraged the Member States and other interested parties – including the private sector and international financial institutions – to mobilize a coordinated, comprehensive and large-scale global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences.
In addition, they urged States to refrain from promulgating and applying unilateral measures of an economic, financial or trade-related nature that are incompatible with international law and the United Nations Charter and that would impede the full attainment of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.
“We stress that recovery from the pandemic should be an occasion to enhance and support the development policies of Latin America and the Caribbean while strengthening democracy and fulfilling human rights, and we recognize the importance of developing recovery plans that promote sustainable development and drive transformative change towards peaceful, just and inclusive societies,” the authorities stated.
The ministers from the region warned about the special difficulties faced by developing countries in this crisis, in particular, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and landlocked developing nations, as well as the specific difficulties that middle-income countries confront.
They also urged Member States and international financial institutions to provide more liquidity in the financial system, especially in all developing countries, including by implementing instruments such as a liquidity and sustainability mechanism to inject liquidity into developing economies and to support sustainable investments. Furthermore, they expressed support for the continued examination of the broader use of special drawing rights to increase the resilience of the international monetary system.
They also stressed the need to increase international climate finance, which is separate from official development assistance, and to ensure greater access to it in order to support developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts.
Likewise, they welcomed innovative financing mechanisms such as the initiative to swap debt for climate change adaptation measures for the Caribbean, along with ECLAC’s “Caribbean first” initiative.
Member States and other relevant stakeholders were asked to accelerate the catalytic role that digital technologies play in reducing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, health, communications, commerce and economic recovery, and to ensure a path towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals while also making progress on closing the digital gap, including the gender digital divide.
In addition, they recognized that inequalities – and widening inequality gaps even more so – continue to be a predominant trait in Latin American and Caribbean countries, even in those with high economic growth, and they underscored that in order to reduce inequalities, it is necessary to increase investment in social services, particularly social protection services, as well as to foster economic opportunities.
“Economic growth needs to be sustained, inclusive and equitable,” they emphasized.
During the meeting, the participating countries welcomed Mexico’s proposal to hold a United Nations General Assembly to organize the post-pandemic economic and social recovery on the basis of justice and fraternity.
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