Latin America and the Caribbean, for a “change of conversation” against inequality

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The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, speaks today, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, during the installation of a National Council in Mexico City. Mexico today celebrated the installation of a National Council, with a wide presence of the public and private sector, which will follow up on the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development promoted by the UN, announced Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The countries of the region must “change the conversation” in order to devise new coalitions that reduce the asymmetries of power without losing sight of the environment, said the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Alicia Bárcena.

During the presentation in Mexico City of the annual report on the progress and regional challenges of Agenda 2030, in the framework of the Forum of Latin American and Caribbean Countries on Sustainable Development, Bárcena said that the objectives should be oriented To what we want to “achieve in 15 years”.

This, despite being submerged in an “uncertain” juncture in which there has been a weakening of multilateralism, the return of protectionism, the rise of extremist political movements and the increase of international conflict, he said.

The new context “jeopardizes the Agenda 2030”, so that countries must incorporate the Sustainable Development Objectives (ODS) into their development plans and focus attention on those “tensions” that need to be resolved with the document .

Bárcena said the Agenda is necessary to “correct the recessive bias”: “We need the surplus economies to agree and a new Keynesianism arises, so that we can address the great imbalances we have today.”

All countries “want to export and export the same”, but there is no “sufficient external demand”, so the solution, he considered, is to raise the effective demand of surplus nations, who have to help “the rest of the world to go ahead”.

He said that regional integration spaces, such as Mercosur, emerged in times of crisis such as the current one. “The region was able to respond in a context of international challenges and unite, and it is what we believe it should be,” he added.

Previously, intraregional trade levels in Latin America and the Caribbean were at 20%. However, this figure has declined and is currently at 16%, while in Europe it is close to 63%.

Productivity continues to suffer lags in the region, where there is “very little research and development effort”: The number of patents generated in 1990 was 2% of the global figure, but in 2015 this percentage remains the same , Stressed the head of ECLAC.

The report points out that if the incorporation of technical progress and productivity is left behind, “international competitiveness will increasingly depend on natural resources or lower wages,” which contradicts the objectives of protecting those resources and combating inequality.

Bárcena stressed that it remains to resolve the “deep dissociation” between financial assets and the real economy. Currently, there is a lot of liquidity, but “it is in few hands”, especially in those of great transnational financiers.

Another issue is how to mobilize resources aimed at implementing Agenda 2030. In the region “we pay a few taxes”, recalled the Mexican, and the most sensitive issue in this area remains tax evasion.

“Are we doing funding for privileges or for development?” Said the secretary, who indicated that there are countries that are making amnesties for capital to return from abroad and “it has cost work that the private sector actually registers Your profits. ”

Fiscal stimuli “have to have a clear horizon”, to achieve an economic “coordinated expansion” that is also aligned with Agenda 2030.

The aim of this, the report points out, is to focus on “investments in clean technologies” in favor of energy efficiency and emission reductions, so that the economic recovery does not conflict with the goals of planet.

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