State of the SDG in Latin America

In Latin America, almost 61 million people live in extreme poverty. “For us, employment is the key to get the people out of poverty”. This is how Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), defines the situation.

The week between April 18 and 20, the 33 State Members of ECLAC gathered on their second Forum of Latin American and Caribbean countries about Sustainable Development in Santiago, Chile. There, they had the chance to debate the application of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in a context of mutual assistance and self appraisal. Ultimately, this meetings should let the States access to instruments to finance and implement the SDG.  Participants discussed from how to incorporate the SDG to nationals plans of development, in which indicators they should centrate, to how to mobilize more national resources.

Last year, on the first summit of its kind, the ECLAC made a balance of the situation. The States examined and traced a map of the existing institutional frameworks, the institutions that had already adopted certain measures and the spheres in which was necessary to continue advancing.

While some countries of the region already count with national action plans and others not, the ECLAC created a methodology that can be used when working with countries to determinate how they could incorporate the objectives in their national plans and, according to Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, how to “move from the rhetoric to the public budgeting”.

ECLAC, through the American Statistical Conference, helps each country to determine which of the numerous indicators that supervise are the more important and how to improve the national statistic systems. Also its working with the main  data companies in order to find the best way of adding information. Since the key  statistics are often in different governmental agencies, this work is necessary.

Beyond the mapping exercise, ECLAC helps countries to mobilize intern resources, mainly through the tax evasion control, that represents a lost of 6,7% of the PIB, that means, 340.000 million dollars annually.

On that sense, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra states: “We are not asking for an increase of taxes, we know it’s very controversial, but at least the exploitation of resources that go out of the region. We are trying to see how the ministers of finance can be much active on this programme”.

In summary, ECLAC strives to help the region benefit in an equitable way from funds related to commerce and transformed in programmes that contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.