CAF and ECLAC boost development cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean

March 06, 2023

CAF—development bank of Latin America—and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to articulate joint actions that advance integration, economic recovery and sustainable development in the region.

CAF—development bank of Latin America—and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) signed today a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of reinforcing cooperation between the two organizations to promote sustainable economic development in the region. The instrument was signed within the framework of CAF’s 177th meeting of the Board of Directors’ Board of Directors, which took place on March 7 in Santiago, Chile.

CAF and ECLAC are two organizations highly devoted to promoting economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. In recent years, we have initiated very strong cooperation ties that we want to promote and reinforce with the signing of this document. We are proud of our work together and aim to continue designing initiatives that benefit the entire region,said CAF Executive President Sergio Díaz-Granados.

“I want to underscore and recognize the importance of the partnership between CAF and ECLAC that we are formalizing today with the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding. Two institutions committed to the development of the region decide to join forces, capacities and search for synergy at the precise moment in which the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are being hit by a cascading sequence of crises that have exacerbated gaps and triggered painful situations for large groups of the population. The situation compels us, and both institutions are committed to joining forces for the benefit of our region!” , ECLAC Executive Secretary José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs said.

With the agreement, both organizations seek to establish a general cooperation framework that fosters joint actions to advance regional integration and sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus, CAF and ECLAC pledged to work together to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda, the fight against climate change—with special emphasis on disaster prevention and management—, initiatives for the conservation of natural capital, as well as social, gender and equality policies, energy transition, regional integration and trade and financing for development, among others.

The MoU calls for the exchange of information and knowledge between both organizations, the development of joint events, including an Annual CAF-ECLAC Conference, research activities and collective publications, organization of training experiences, among others.

The MoU was signed in the context of the activities related to the 177th meeting of the CAF Board of Directors, held for the first time in Chile, on March 6–9, in ECLAC premises. Two joint high-level meetings were also held that day, involving ministers and authorities from several countries of the region, as well as recognized personalities and experts from international and multilateral organizations.

The first of them entitled “Public policies and cooperation for gender equality” was kicked off by ECLAC Executive Secretary José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, CAF Executive President Sergio Díaz-Granados, Chile’s Undersecretary of Women and Gender Equity Luz Pascala Vidal Huiriqueo, and featured a keynote address by Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, former President Pro Tempore of UNASUR and the Pacific Alliance, former Executive Director of UN Women and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At the event, participants agreed that parity democracy is far from being attained in Latin America and the Caribbean, and thus, they called for more cooperation, more integration, more funding, more women and men committed to gender equality in decision-making.

Meanwhile, in her keynote address, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet underscored that “gender equality is not a matter of a particular policy, it is an urgent matter that as countries we must constantly examine. But how are decisions made? If we give crumbs of power to women we are condemned to putting a ceiling on our development."

The panel discussion featured Brazil’s Secretary of International Affairs and Development Renata Vargas Amaral, Chile’s Undersecretary of Finance Claudia Sanhueza Riveros, Chile’s Undersecretary of Women and Gender Equity Luz Pascala Vidal Huiriqueo, Michelle Muschett, Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Carolina Leitao, President of the Chilean Association of Municipalities and Mayor of Peñalolén. The conclusions were summed up by María José Torres, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Chile, and CAF Secretary General Alejandra Claros Borda.

In the afternoon, the “CAF-ECLAC Conference: Rethinking decentralization” took place, which was also kicked off by the top executives of both agencies, and included a high-level dialogue on the challenges of decentralization for the 2030 Agenda in which Chile’s Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism Nicolás Grau, Colombia’s Finance and Public Credit Minister José Antonio Ocampo; and Renata Vargas Amaral, Secretary of International Affairs and Development at the Brazilian Ministry of Planning and Budget. The meeting ended with reflections by Christian Asinelli, Corporate Vice President of Strategic Programming at CAF, and ECLAC Executive Secretary José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs.

The speakers addressed the major territorial inequalities that still persist in the region and that require improved access to opportunities and financing to develop initiatives and public policies at the local and sub-national levels. While progress has been made in a number of nations, such as fiscal and policy frameworks, there is still a need to build local capacities and improve education, among other areas. In this connection, productive development policies—which can be built from the bottom up, not only from central governments—and dialogue between different stakeholders are fundamental pillars, they said.

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