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Dialogue Participants Call for Revitalizing Multilateral Cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe with an Emphasis on Achieving the SDGs
There is an urgent need to revitalize the strategic alliance between Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a time when multilateral cooperation is being threatened on a global level, endangering fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda, government authorities and international officials sustained during the Latin American and Caribbean and European interregional dialogue on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , held in Santiago.
The panel took place on the penultimate day of the third meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which is being held April 22-26 at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Chile.
The event was attended by Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, and moderated by Raúl García-Buchaca, the Deputy Executive Secretary for Management and Program Analysis of the United Nations regional organization.
The members of the panel were Paul Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration of Antigua and Barbuda; Sergio Bergman, Government Secretary of the Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina, in his capacity as Chair of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean; Gabriel Ferrero, Director-General of Sustainable Development Policies at Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation; Paul Garaycochea, Chief of the Development Cooperation Section at Germany’s Embassy in Peru; Rita Hernández, Director of International Cooperation at Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship; Andrés Delich, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI); and Hedda Oftung, Political Advisor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Chile.
The goal of the gathering, García-Buchaca said, was “to take the pulse of the potentialities for exchange, mutual learning and collaborative synergy between the two regions, in their respective paths to progress on implementing the 2030 Agenda.” He added that “producing true changes in the prevailing patterns of production and consumption requires concerted efforts by the entire international community, since no single country or region, no matter how powerful it may, will be able to achieve these goals on its own. That is why it is imperative to innovate in the modalities, instruments and forms of carrying out international cooperation.”
The Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Paul Chet Greene, recognized the historical links to Europe and expressed the subregion’s concern over the future of the strategic alliance with the European Union (EU) once the United Kingdom leaves the bloc (the Brexit process). During his remarks, he assured participants that the Caribbean is ready to revitalize dialogue, cooperation and trade integration, both with the EU as well as with the countries of Latin America.
It is essential that the EU commit to helping the Caribbean advance on the structural changes needed to achieve sustainable development, he stated.
Gabriel Ferrero, of Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, sustained that the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean share challenges such as the environmental big push, gender equality and decent work, and that it would be crucial to move from current schemes for Foreign Direct Investment to public-private partnerships in the various countries, with a focus on fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda.
Rita Hernández, from Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, also highlighted the fact that Latin America and the EU share principles, such as the need to have participatory democracy, which facilitates the biregional relationship oriented toward achieving the SDGs.
Paul Garaycochea, Chief of the Development Cooperation Section at Germany’s Embassy in Peru, affirmed that the “multilateral agenda is at risk,” which is why he expressed appreciation for the opening of spaces such as the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which are useful for “sharing experiences” and “learning mutually” with the “unique multilateral framework” of the 2030 Agenda.
Andrés Delich, of the OEI, underlined the need to more actively involve other actors, such as non-governmental organizations and civil society, while Hedda Oftung, Political Advisor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Chile, called special attention to SDG 14 (which seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development). She mentioned, in this vein, the work that Norway is leading along with countries such as Chile, Jamaica and Mexico to build a “sustainable ocean economy.”