Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the priorities of your organization?
Latin America and the Caribbean has been the developing region most hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic over the reporting period. The pandemic has magnified the structural gaps of our region – namely, inequality, informality, low productivity and limited fiscal space -, and it could set the region back more than a decade in development progress particularly for women. ECLAC has continued to provide a rapid response and adapting its work programme priorities to respond to the demands from member States of Latin America and the Caribbean to receive from the Commission: i) a comprehensive assessment of the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic; ii) constantly updated analysis, data and recommendations in terms of policy response to the pandemic readily available in a user-friendly online format; iii) policy dialogues to strengthen the regional space for exchange of practices among high-level and technical officials; while maintaining the 2030 Agenda and the SGDs as the blue print for development. This work is complemented by ECLAC´s continued and strengthened advocacy on the structural challenges the region faces, raising them at the highest political level, including the particularities and needs of Middle-Income Countries, Small Island Developing States and Caribbean countries, which have been evidenced and become even more relevant in the COVID-19 context and post-recovery. This work is expected to translate into concrete results through ECLAC´s work on financing for development, including by putting forward policy options for sustaining liquidity and avoid solvency problems, addressing debt restructuring and relief, devising innovating mechanisms and medium-term options for building back better with equality and sustainability.
2. In 2020/2021, how has your organization endeavored to support Member States to build back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda? Please select up to three high-impact initiatives to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations in those efforts to achieve coherence and synergies?
ECLAC’s relevant high-impact initiatives have addressed the intersection of the development challenges accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic with longstanding structural challenges of the LAC region, including productive diversification, cooperation needs of middle-income countries and the structural drivers of migration.
|Initiative||Plan for Self-Sufficiency in Health Matters|
|Partners||Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC); Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); Coalition for Innovations in Preparedness for Pandemics (CEPI); Mercosur|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 3, 5, 8, 9, 10|
|Member States benefiting from the initiative||The Member States of Latin America and the Caribbean|
|Description||Plan for Self-Sufficiency on Health Matters seeks to boost vaccine and pharmaceutical production and distribution in the LAC region and build regional platforms on regulation, clinical trials and public procurement to reduce the current high-levels of extra-regional export dependence and not promote productive change.|
|Initiative||Development in Transition|
|Partners||OECD Development Centre, European Commission, ECLAC’s Member States in the Frame of Regional Conference on South-South Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 1, 8, 9, 10, 17|
|Member States benefiting from the initiative||Member States of Latin America and the Caribbean|
|Description||ECLAC and its partners have been promoting the Development in Transition paradigm to rethink the international development cooperation modalities with the region’s predominantly middle-income countries who for the most part are not eligible for concessional financing and ODA. This initiative has gained increased relevance with the pandemic’s devastating impacts in the region, including increased fiscal pressure and rising indebtedness that limits policy space to undertake pandemic response and recovery policies. In addition to promoting an innovative financing for development agenda for LAC, ECLAC has been working closely with its member states to analyze the impacts of graduation from ODA eligibility, counter that the sole criterion remain GDP/per capita and explore alternative cooperation mechanisms for green and inclusive productive change for the recovery.|
|Initiative||Comprehensive Development Plan for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and South-Southeast Mexico|
|Partners||Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, regional offices of 20 UN Agencies Funds and Programmes, Resident Coordinators|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17|
|Member States benefiting from the initiative||El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico|
|Description||The Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and south and southeast Mexico involves 20 UN agencies, funds and programs operating in LAC and seeks to change the narrative around migration by linking it to the theme of sustainable development and peace, placing the dignity of migrants and human rights at the center with a human security approach and adopting a focus on the full migratory cycle: origin, transit, destination and return. In April 2021 The Executive Committee approved the Comprehensive Development Plan for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico as a UN System-wide cooperation platform to address the structural causes of migration and forced displacement with a medium-term vision and strategy.|
3. Has your organization published or is it planning to publish any analytical work or guidance note or toolkits to guide and support recovery efforts from COVID-19 while advancing SDG implementation at national, regional and global levels? Please select up to three high-impact resources to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs.
ECLAC has been supporting Member States with analytical products, proposing policies both for the emergency response during the pandemic but also identifying opportunities in specific sectors to shape sustainable recovery policies. ECLAC has also closely analyzed the financing for development and international cooperation modalities that are required to facilitate a green and sustainable recovery in the LAC region.
|Resource||Building a New Future: Transformative Recovery with Equality and Sustainability|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 ,17|
|Target audience||Governments, policy makers, academia, civil society and private sector in LAC|
|Description||ECLAC’s position document for its 38th Biennial Session addresses the impacts of the pandemic in LAC and proposes policies to promote a sustainable recovery, which addresses the economic, social and environmental dimensions of a new sustainable development model. The document outlines 7 sectors for a low-carbon and inclusive recovery with job creation and technological change: Transition towards renewable energy, digital revolution for sustainability, electromobility for urban public transport, bioeconomy, circular economy, health-care manufacturing and sustainable tourism.|
|Link to access||https://periododesesiones.cepal.org/38/en/documents/building-new-future…|
|Resource||An innovative financing for development agenda for the recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 1, 8, 10, 13, 17|
|Target audience||Governments, policy makers, academia, development banks|
|Description||The publication is part of ECLAC’s COVID-19 Special Report Series and addresses the financing for development challenges of the region, which limit policy space for sustainable recovery policies in the LAC region. The document analyzes instruments that would enable the financing green transition and social inclusion policies and promote climate resilience, with a special focus on Caribbean SIDS.|
|Link to access||https://www.cepal.org/en/publications/47490-innovative-financing-develo…|
|Resource||Latin American Economic Outlook 2021 – Working together for a better recovery|
|Publishing entity/entities||The Development Centre of the OECD, ECLAC, CAF and the European Commission|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 1, 8, 10, 13, 17|
|Target audience||Governments, policy makers|
|Description||The report outlines the impact of the pandemic in the region, including the deepening of long-standing structural challenges. It outlines recovery strategies, based on well-sequenced reforms that promote universal social protection systems, accelerate the formalization of economies, improve fiscal progressivity, and deepen regional integration. The publication also stresses the role of international cooperation in facilitating the emergence of new development models and a new social contract in the region.|
|Link to access||https://www.cepal.org/en/publications/47490-innovative-financing-develo…|
4. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups to support SDG implementation and COVID-19 recovery at national, regional and global levels? Please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established multi-stakeholder partnerships in this regard, please describe them (objectives, partners involved, relevant SDGs, Member States benefiting from the partnership) and provide links to relevant websites, if applicable.
|Partnership||Mercosur Business Forum – Productive Integration of the Pharmaceutical Sector|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 3, 5, 8, 9, 10|
|Member States benefiting from the initiative||Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay|
|Description||ECLAC supported the pro-tempore presidency of MERCOSUR, with the organization of the Seventh MERCOSUR Business Forum, which was held via virtual, thematic sessions between October 15 and November 5 2021, with a focus on the productive integration of the pharmaceutical sector. The Forum’s objective was to create a discussion space between private and public sector stakeholders to map the situation of the pharmaceutical sector in MERCOSUR states and analyze the main challenges for building subregional sectoral linkages. Discussions addressed trade, investment, regulation, research & development and innovation and increased State engagement to promote these objectives|
|Partnership||SDG Business Forum in LAC|
|Partners||United Nations Global Compact|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 17|
|Member States benefiting from the initiative||The 33 Member States of ECLAC|
|Description||The SDG Business Forum in LAC is convened during the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development 2021 to promote the analysis and exchange of good practices on the role of the private sector in the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, including through initiatives in specific priority sectors for LAC and drive forward public-private dialogues in pursuit of the SDGs. The 2021 edition focused on priority areas for the recovery of LAC, including the mobilization of a green recovery through strategic sectors identified by ECLAC and a session on strategies to promote digital inclusion.|
|Partnership||Mechanisms for the participation of civil society in the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development|
|Partners||Civil society organizations of LAC|
|Relevant SDGs||SDGs 16, 17|
|Member States benefiting from the initiative||The 33 Member States of ECLAC|
|Description||The meeting of civil society held in the frame of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development generates a space for dialogue for civil society organizations in the Region on the implementation, monitoring and regional review of the 2030 Agenda, including in the context of the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.|
5. In the 2019 SDG Summit declaration (GA Resolution 74/4), Member States outlined ten priority areas for accelerated action in SDG implementation. Please highlight any major integrated and innovative policies or initiatives that your organization may have adopted in these ten priority areas:
5.1 leaving no one behind
1. ECLAC’s policy proposals on pandemic response and recovery, including emergency basic income, basic digital basket, hunger grant For further details: https://www.cepal.org/en/publications/47059-recovery-paradox-latin-amer…
2. ECLAC’s care society proposal and advances in measuring the unpaid domestic and care work of women. For further details: https://www.cepal.org/en/publications/47266-towards-care-society-contri…
5.2 mobilizing adequate and well-directed financing
An innovative financing for development agenda for the recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean and its 5 key proposals
(1) expand and redistribute liquidity from developed to developing countries, including through recycling SDRs through a middle-income country trust fund and regional development banks or financial institutions;
(2) strengthen regional cooperation by enhancing the lending and response capacity of regional, subregional and national financial institutions, and strengthening linkages between them;
(3) carry out institutional reform of the multilateral debt architecture;
(4) expand the set of innovative instruments aimed at increasing debt repayment capacity and avoiding excessive indebtedness, including through instruments focused on Small Island Developing States and
(5) integrate liquidity and debt reduction measures into a development financing strategies aimed at building forward better, with equality and environmental sustainability at the centre of the recovery (please see the publication above for reference).
5.3 enhancing national implementation
ECLAC supports its Member States in multiple ways to enhance national implementation of the SDGs in the region:
• ECLAC’s Community of Practice for Voluntary National Review (VNR) countries hosts monthly meetings both in English and Spanish since December 2019 and offers an informal space for exchange among peers and sharing of good practices with regards to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in general and on the preparation of VNRs in particular. Topics of discussions include the localization of the 2030 Agenda, stakeholder engagement, planning and budgeting, financing for development, data and statistics, and many more. For more information, please see the dedicated website: https://www.cepal.org/en/topics/2030-agenda-sustainable-development/ecl…
• Both in 2020 and 2021, ECLAC organized regional workshops for Latin American and Caribbean countries presenting their VNRs in the same year. The goal of these technical workshops was to strengthen the knowledge and capacities of countries in the formulation of their VNRs as part of their national strategy to implement and monitor the 2030 Agenda. Ahead of the sixth edition of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development to take place from 8 to 10 March 2022 in San José, Costa Rica, ECLAC will organize another regional workshop for Latin American and Caribbean countries presenting their VNRs in 2022.
• ECLAC provides targeted support and technical assistance to Member States upon request in the process of drafting the VNR reports.
5.4 strengthening institutions for more integrated solutions
ECLAC plays a crucial role by channeling the national interests of their Member States to the global level and provide clear policy guidance and support to accelerate action for the SDGs across different policy areas at local, national and regional levels to foster more integrated solutions:
• ECLAC supports countries by establishing links between the national and the subnational governance levels, generating guides and tools to strengthen the localization of the 2030 Agenda, and offering capacity-building to local authorities with the aim to strengthen institutions for more integrated solutions.
• ECLAC convenes regular 2030 Agenda Focal Points meetings to take stock on how the different UN systems entities are working towards the implementation of the SDGs with the aim coordinate a more integrated response and accelerate action for the SDGs via a well-aligned whole-of-system approach.
• The SDG Gateway, the Regional Knowledge Platform on the 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean, is an online portal developed by ECLAC together with United Nations system in the region, where all information related to the SDGs can be found, including activities, information resources, statistics, regional data, specific analytical tools and knowledge products. The Gateway is a systemwide effort to gain coherence and better integration regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the acceleration of action for the SDGs. For more information, please see the dedicated website: https://agenda2030lac.org/
5.5 bolstering local action
ECLAC supports Latin American and Caribbean countries in various ways to bolster local action:
• ECLAC’s above mentioned Community of Practice for VNR countries encompasses discussions to bolster local action and ensure the localization of the 2030 Agenda.
• The annual Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development is a multi-stakeholder platform for debate, peer learning and multisectoral, multi-level analysis that enables to discuss priority topics for sustainable development in the region, including a specific panel and side-event on the localization of SDGs.
• ECLAC supports countries by establishing links between the national and the subnational governance levels, generating guides and tools to strengthen the localization of the 2030 Agenda, and offering capacity-building to local authorities.
• The previously mentioned SDG Gateway includes relevant information on SDG implementation at the local level and has a dedicated section on local governments: https://agenda2030lac.org/en/local-governments
• The Regional Observatory for Development Planning of the Latin American and Caribbean Institute for Economic and Social Planning (ILPES) of ECLAC has identified seven modalities that have been carried out to localize the SDGs in the countries of the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, which include (1) documents with general guidelines, (2) institutionality for the incorporation, monitoring and complicate of the 2030 Agenda at the subnational levels, (3) socialization, training or collective dialogue with different actors, (4) diagnosis and monitoring, (5) instruments or tools for the incorporation of the 2030 Agenda in local plans, (6) initiatives promoted by civil society, private sector and other actors, and (7) mechanisms for the visibilization of good practices. For more information, please refer to the following websites: https://observatorioplanificacion.cepal.org/es/nota/territorializacion-… and https://observatorioplanificacion.cepal.org/es/nota/esfuerzos-de-los-te…
5.6 reducing disaster risk and building resilience
ECLAC’s Damage and Loss Assessment (DALA) methodology to assess the economic impacts of disasters. Recent examples of DALA evaluations carried out at the request of Member States include Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Central America in 2020 and the flooding in Guyana in 2021. ECLAC also carries out relevant capacity building with Member States.
5.7 solving challenges through international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership
The Development in Transition paradigm proposals and Financing for Development proposals on global liquidity redistribution and the reform of the global debt architecture, as previously detailed.
5.8 harnessing science, technology and innovation with a greater focus on digital transformation for sustainable development
• ECLAC and the Government of Argentina have organized the third Meeting of the Conference on Science, Innovation and Information and Communications Technologies under a hybrid format from 13-15 of December 2021. The event highlighted that science, technology and innovation (STI) are crucial not only for facing the COVID-19 pandemic, but also for moving towards a transformative recovery with equality and sustainability in the region.
• The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has approved the Plan for Self-Sufficiency in Health Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean prepared by ECLAC at the request of the Government of Mexico. The Plan is a strategic document setting out lines of action to strengthen capacities to produce and distribute vaccines and medicines in the region and advocates for greater regional integration, cooperation, and solidarity.
• ECLAC’s has published a position document entitled: Innovation for development: The key to a transformative recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean, which indicates that the STI systems of Latin American and Caribbean countries are underfunded and concentrated in basic and applied research activities, with major gaps on matters of experimental development, and that post-pandemic recovery plans represent an opportunity to reorient STI strategies so they are at the service of sustainable development and to redesign international cooperation in this area. The report also stresses the importance of the health-care manufacturing industry, of digital technologies for industry and of environmental efficiency for promoting a structural change based on knowledge creation in the region.
• The COVID-19 crisis has reaffirmed the importance of harnessing technological advances and exposing territorial inequalities to promote decent jobs in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. This was underlined at an international seminar organized by ECLAC from 6-7 October 2021. The event presented the key findings of the project “Transforming technology in Latin America: Promoting productive jobs and confronting the challenge of new forms of informal employment”, financed by the United Nations Development Account and carried out since 2018 by ECLAC’s Economic and Social Development Divisions and its Buenos Aires Office.
5.9 investing in data and statistics for the SDGs
1. Updated CEPALSTAT Platform, the main portal for statistical information on the LAC region
2. Promoting innovative data production in the framework of the Statistical Conference of the America’s including on measuring the care economy and national account systems for ecosystem services and natural capital
5.10 strengthening the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)
• ECLAC has provided policy recommendations to UN DESA on how to strengthen the HLPF and started to put these into practice at the regional level, including the following:
• To make the HLPF more policy-oriented, it should go beyond review and create a space for more in-depth policy discussions. The number of VNR countries presenting their VNRs at the HLPF every year could be reduced, or the time dedicated to the VNR presentations (3 days for around 40-45 presentations) could be extended to allow a more profound discussion between countries.
• VNRs should portray a realistic picture of a country’s complex reality, while the interactive discussion following each VNR presentation should be an honest exchange between countries in a space of peer-review and learning from each other, which also entails how particular SDG challenges have been overcome. ECLAC’s Community of Practice for VNR countries offers a monthly space for this honest and open exchange and peer-learning.
• More space should be given to the meaningful engagement of non-state actors, including civil society, academia, and the private sector, at the HLPF, including in the interactive discussions following the VNR presentations. ECLAC has been consulting with different civil society organizations (CSOs) from the region of Latin America and the Caribbean to foster a more meaningful engagement of non-state actors in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in general and the VNR process in particular.
• The VNR process is much more than a report itself presented at the HLPF. The UN system could provide a more comprehensive framework of guidelines and tools to direct countries even beyond the actual VNR process itself. ECLAC’s support of the VNR process does not stop at the HLPF but accompanies countries from the region within the entire cycle of implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
• Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) gained a lot of momentum at the HLPF 2021 and ECLAC recommends to further elaborate how these complementing reviews at the local or subnational level could be better connected to the VNRs and integrated in a more formalized way into the HLPF. They could also be included in a dedicated section of the official DESA VNR database: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/vnrs/ ECLAC has integrated local efforts by countries in the SDG Gateway and has initiated the review of best practices and lessons learned of localizing the 2030 Agenda in the region.
6. In the lead up to the 2023 HLPF to be held under the auspices of the General Assembly (or 2023 SDG Summit), please provide your organization’s recommendations on how to overcome challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs, taking into account the thematic reviews and voluntary national reviews conducted to date.
The 2030 Agenda with its 17 SDGs is at a critical juncture in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. Only a third of SDG targets are on track to be achieved by 2030. The world and the region are in a state of multiple crisis, characterized by low growth, high levels of inequality, an environmental emergency, and an unprecedented health crisis. Recovering from the crisis and getting on track on the road to delivering on the SDGs by 2030 involves the participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, youth, the private sector, academia, local authorities, and parliaments. Only in strong collaboration with all stakeholders can we build back better or forward and ensure that the Decade of Action for the SDGs turns into a reality for everyone, everywhere, leaving no one behind. In this context, ECLAC has been encouraging multi-stakeholder dialogues and participation in the implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda since its adaptation at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York in 2015 and continues providing a space for diverse actors to support this pathway.
The 2030 Agenda remains the blueprint to overcome the multiple crisis resulting from COVID-19. Among priority cross-cutting issues to address within the broader theme of supporting the pandemic recovery and the achievement of the SDGs are equal access to COVID-19 vaccines; innovative finance for development; people-centered, universal health and social protection systems; putting children, youth and women at the center of pandemic recovery efforts; disaggregated SDG data; green recovery; equal access to digitalization; and enhanced multilateralism, strategic leadership and solidarity.
The thematic review on SDG 17 is an opportunity to discuss the fundamental challenge of rising debt levels and financing for development gaps developing regions face in financing a sustainable recovery and the implementation of the SDGs. This is a crucial issue for LAC, which is the most indebted developing region with the highest debt servicing in relation to its exports, while as a country of predominantly middle-income countries it has very limited access to concessional financing sources. Moreover, the pandemic has also highlighted serious weaknesses in global cooperation, including for the needs of middle-income countries, which have been excluded from multilateral debt suspension initiatives. Enhanced multilateral cooperation with and innovative approaches to debt and financing for development, based on vulnerabilities, rather than GDP per capita levels are thus key issues for the UN system to address.
In LAC only 2.3% of recovery funds have been directed to green and low-carbon sectors. More policy coherence is needed among the economic and environmental pillars of sustainability. This also will have an impact on the implementation of SDGs 14 and SDG 15, which are of special relevance to regions, which possess a rich biodiversity, as is the case in LAC. The UN system’s engagement with emerging debates on the economics of biodiversity and the importance of nature-based solutions are essential for a green recovery. They also connect with the “Beyond GDP” discussions proposed by the SG’s Our Common Agenda and the recent climate discussions taking place at COP 26 in Glasgow. Last, but not least, the impacts of COVID-19 need to be looked at from a perspective of gender equality and education, including the interlinkages between these two dimensions (SDG 4 and SDG 5). The care economy should be positioned as a sector to fuel the recovery.