I have the honor to address you by virtue of Cuba´s presidency of ECLAC and the Forum on Sustainable Development for Latin America and the Caribbean.
We are fulfilling the mandate to report on the results of the Second Meeting of this Forum, held last April in Santiago de Chile, as a contribution of our region to the High-Level Political Forum.
The regional meeting was distinguished by the broad participation of government representatives and other sectors including civil society, academia and the private sector, and by the possibility to integrate experiences on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda from multiple perspectives and among various actors, within the region and in dialogue with other regions such as Europe, and with the United Nations system.
Among the issues discussed, three questions stand out: citizens’ participation, people as the focus of actions and the analysis of the strategic advantages of each country in the economic, social and environmental dimensions.
In addition, the modalities for implementing the 2030 Agenda in the region were recognized through their incorporation into the public policies of member countries and there was full agreement that the Sustainable Development Goals should be a State policy not affected by transitions between governments.
The analysis conducted by the members of the Regional Forum was based on the report on the progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, prepared by the ECLAC secretariat.
This document demonstrated the need for greater cooperation as national actions are not sufficient; for means of implementation that contribute to narrow financing, technological and trade gaps; for strengthening global financial governance; and for honoring the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The Conclusions and Recommendations agreed upon by the Governments ratify the region's commitment to effectively implementing the 2030 Agenda, thus ensuring not to leave anyone behind.
These also reaffirm the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and urge the United Nations system to further address the specific development needs of middle-income countries, taking into account variables that go beyond the criteria relating to per capita income.
These further reiterate the call for the cessation of the imposition of unilateral coercive measures.
The importance of South-South cooperation was stressed as a core element of international development cooperation and as a complement to, not a substitute for, North-South cooperation. We look forward to a successful outcome of the Second High-Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, to be held in Buenos Aires, in March 2019.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The encouraging results in many areas of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda do not deny the existence of difficulties in achieving sustainable development, in particular poverty, inequality, the high external debt and the reduction of international cooperation.
We have identified that inequality remains a prevailing feature in Latin American and Caribbean countries, including those with high economic growth. Consequently, there is a need to increase investment in social services and expand economic opportunities. We stand by the opinion that growth must be sustained, inclusive and equitable.
Accelerating the pace of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals is further required.
We therefore congratulate the 14 countries of the region that have already submitted the voluntary national reviews and the 8 countries that are doing so at this Forum, three of them for the second time.
We particularly acknowledge the contribution of ECLAC, headed by its Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena, and the Statistical Coordination Group for the 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean for its useful assessments and provision of facts for our countries.
I would also like to congratulate the delegation of Mexico, a country that during its presidency of ECLAC, had the challenge of convening and coordinating the First and Second Regional Forums on Sustainable Development and the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the region.
The 37th session of ECLAC held last May in Havana with the presence of the Secretary-General included among its main topics the 2030 Agenda and the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The challenge of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals is a global issue. We invite you to continue working together in these endeavors and to achieve a new world order based on justice, equity and peace.
Thank you very much.