72 UNGA: Welcome Remarks by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of Cuba, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz. Meeting of member states of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development. New York, July 18, 2018.

Esteemed Permanent Representatives,

Dear Alicia,

Just two months ago we had the honor of hosting in Havana the thirty-seventh session of ECLAC, a moment that we particularly remember because of the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of this Commission.

With the same warmth and enthusiasm with which we received the participants at the session, we extend to all of you today a most cordial welcome.

Following the holding of the session, together with the presidency of ECLAC and the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development for the next two years, we took on the challenge of continuing the work carried out by Mexico during the previous presidency.

Following the experience of this country, we felt it was appropriate that the member countries should take advantage of the High-Level Political Forum here in New York to meet and exchange information and views on the preparations for the Third Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development.

First of all, we confirm that this meeting will be held at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago de Chile, from April 22 to 26, 2019.

For this edition, we will preserve the design and structure of the Forum. That is to say, the Meeting would comprise a week of work, providing spaces during the first two days for side events and civil society activities, to be followed by the high-level segment.

In the last three days, a special session on the Caribbean will be held, among other meetings. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the priority we attach to this subregion and to particularly welcome our Caribbean brothers and sisters, and the peer learning sessions that have been positively assessed by the member countries of the Forum.

In the dialogue session on the three dimensions of sustainable development, we will address cycles 2017, 2018 and 2019 of the Sustainable Development Goals and will conclude, as set out in resolution 700 (XXXVI), with the adoption of conclusions and recommendations. 

Among the tasks that are pending for this Third Meeting of the Forum, I would like to emphasize the task related to considering the proposal for a mechanism for civil society participation in the Forum, which was presented by the representatives of civil society at the second Meeting of the Forum last April. The proposal is included as an annex to the draft report that ECLAC has already circulated to the countries.

In addition, and as specified in paragraph 9 of resolution 700(XXXVI), a quadrennial progress report should be submitted to consolidate the challenges identified in previous annual reports.

In this context, and in line with the spirit of repositioning the United Nations development system, the agencies, funds and programs of the United Nations system have been invited to participate in the preparation of the document.

Before giving the floor to the Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, to discuss this issue in greater depth, I would like to recognize once again Mexico's work as outgoing Chair, especially the Under-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, and Ambassador Gómez Camacho, who led so many fruitful initiatives here in New York.

I thank you all for your presence at this briefing and reiterate our determination to work together with the ECLAC Secretariat in uniting the efforts of all member states of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, not only to be able to hold a fruitful and successful meeting in April 2019, but also in a way that our will and commitment can be translated into concrete results for the good of the peoples of the region.

Thank you very much.