The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, says concrete opportunities exist for deepening the partnership between Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union (EU) with a view to a green, digital, sustainable and inclusive recovery.
“COVID-19 represents a time of choices. Both regions – Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean – need to take urgent measures to overcome the current health and economic crisis and to build a new path for development in the framework of a renewed partnership,” said Bárcena virtually on Monday during a high-level meeting between foreign affairs ministers from both regions that was organised by the Government of Germany.
Bárcena stressed the importance of middle-income countries and the debate on development in transition, a concept developed alongside European counterparts that emphasises that gross domestic product (GDP) per capita cannot be the criterion for defining the graduation of middle-income countries and that it is necessary to gauge development gaps using a multidimensional approach in order to include all countries in a modern cooperation framework.
The ECLAC head said that Latin America and the Caribbean is the region in the developing world most affected by COVID-19, with a death toll of nearly 500,000 people.
“Despite the considerable fiscal efforts made by the region’s countries to respond to the crisis, these resources will not be sufficient to cover the growing needs of the emergency and the route towards a sustainable future,” she said, adding that the pandemic has magnified the region’s structural gaps.
For that reason, she said ECLAC has proposed linking the short term with a transformative recovery articulated around five pillars: Ending poverty by 2030 and firmly advancing towards equality and universal social protection; forging authentic competitiveness by furthering technological capabilities; investing in environmental sustainability; achieving universal social protection and building a welfare system; and attracting investment to strategic and sustainable activities with complementary industrial, social and environmental policies.
“In this effort at transformative recovery, scaling up the partnership with Europe could be a game changer,” Bárcena emphasised.