Civil Society from Latin America and the Caribbean Meets Prior to the Start of the Sixth Forum on Sustainable Development
Since the creation of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, in 2016, solid progress has been made on promoting and strengthening the participation of the region’s civil society, representatives highlighted on Tuesday, April 25 at the inauguration of the Meeting of the Mechanism for Civil Society Participation (MeSCALC) in the Sustainable Development Agenda and in the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development.
The meeting was held using a hybrid format (in-person and virtual) prior to the official start of the Sixth Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, due to take place on Wednesday, April 26 at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile.
Mabel Bianco and Bárbara Jiménez, of the Mechanism’s outgoing Facilitator Team, presented a report on the activities carried out, the actions scheduled for the week of the Forum, and on pending challenges.
Both representatives thanked ECLAC for its support on the Mechanism’s creation as well as its consolidation.
“This is the start of the intensification of what we have done up to now,” said Mabel Bianco, adding that civil society will continue to fulfill its role, which includes demanding new spaces and advocacy and contributing to the debate and solutions in pursuit of the region’s sustainable development.
“We leave the (Facilitator Team) Group and the Mechanism strengthened, much progress has been made,” Bárbara Jiménez said.
“In these years of collaboration between ECLAC and the Mechanism, we have made gradual, but solid and robust progress on the promotion and strengthening of civil society’s active participation,” stated José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of ECLAC.
The Commission’s highest authority emphasized that “together we have created new spaces for dialogue and exchange with the Chair of the Forum, the region’s governments and other relevant actors. This has undoubtedly contributed to the view that the Forum’s meetings are a critical space for multi-stakeholder coordination on the 2030 Agenda’s follow-up.”
“I am convinced that civil society’s participation in sustainable development has greater strength and effectiveness in the long term if it is organized via a stable, continuous and progressive process, instead of being carried out through specific and isolated participatory experiences. Institutional arrangements strengthen the capacities of civil society representatives and promote relations of trust, support and collaboration,” ECLAC’s Executive Secretary underscored.
José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs indicated that institutionalized participation allows the distinct actors (governments, civil society and others) to dialogue, exchange knowledge and experiences, plan actions and make timely contributions to decision-making processes. “The work of the Mechanism for Civil Society Participation in the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development is a clear example of this,” he noted.
Along with reaffirming ECLAC’s commitment to the Mechanism’s work, the Secretary of the Commission, Luis F. Yáñez, stressed that at the sixth meeting of the Forum, not only will there be the traditional civil society declaration, but specialists from various organizations will also participate on the panels dedicated to analyzing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are to be reviewed this year (SDGs 6,7, 9, 11 and 17).
As a complementary measure, with the support of the United Nations Development Coordination Office, a second gathering of the Mechanism with the region’s Resident Coordinators was held.
In addition, ECLAC offered to strengthen the work with civil society between Forums, which means, for example, carrying out informational or training activities in the areas that organizations deem most useful.
Mabel Bianco and Bárbara Jiménez will be replaced by the new Facilitator Team of the MeSCALC, made up of Sandra Castañeda, Marcela Browne and Mónica Jasis.