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ECLAC Urges Countries to Revitalize Commitments and Accelerate the Pace Towards Fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, the organization’s Executive Secretary, presented a document that proposes seven transformative initiatives that have the synergistic capacity to simultaneously drive the achievement of a number of SDGs.
News |
26 April 2023
Cover page of document.

Countries should revitalize their commitments and promote transformative initiatives that would involve all sectors of development, put the region back on track towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, at the same time, prepare the strategy for the next decade, according to a report released today by José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in the framework of the Sixth Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which is being held through Friday, April 28 at the organization’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile.

ECLAC’s highest authority presented the document Halfway to 2030 in Latin America and the Caribbean: progress and recommendations for acceleration, which assesses regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and proposes seven transformative initiatives that have the synergistic capacity to simultaneously drive the achievement of a number of SDGs.

The sixth report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development examines, firstly, overall progress towards attaining all the SDGs, and then studies more closely progress towards achieving the five Goals that will be analyzed at the High-level Political Forum, to be held in July at UN headquarters in New York: clean water and sanitation (SDG 6); affordable and clean energy (SDG 7); industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9); sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); and partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).

“We find ourselves exactly halfway through the period for fulfilling the 2030 Agenda, but not halfway along the path to do so, since only one-fourth of the targets have been fulfilled or are forecast to be fulfilled by 2030. This situation urgently demands that the region’s countries reinforce the commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs underlined in his presentation.

ECLAC estimates that only 25% of the targets for which information is available exhibit behavior that would enable foreseeing their fulfillment by 2030. In contrast, an estimated 48% of them show the right trend but it is insufficient to achieve the respective target, while the remaining 27% exhibits a regressive trend. Therefore, 75% of the targets are at risk of not being fulfilled, unless decisive action is taken to resume the correct path.

The report highlights an important positive consequence of the 2030 Agenda in the region: the gradual generation of an institutional footprint that has unequivocally strengthened countries’ capacities to dialogue about the challenges of the future, to discuss solutions, to forge partnerships and to enhance evidence-based policies.

Furthermore, it points up the effort made by countries and the United Nations to improve the availability of data to follow up the SDGs: the available statistical series grew from 72 to 492 between 2020 and 2023, while the available indicators increased from 67 to 172 in the same period.

The report urges the region to redouble efforts with bold, innovative and transformative actions and policies to accelerate the pace towards fulfilling the SDGs. To that end, it indicates, it is imperative that countries revitalize commitments and the means of implementation, through high-impact or accelerating initiatives.

In that regard, ECLAC proposes seven transformative initiatives that, due to their synergistic capacity and forward-looking vision, can bring together multiple actors and have a positive impact on several SDGs simultaneously. They are: (i) The energy transition and related industries; (ii) The bioeconomy: sustainable agriculture and bioindustrialization; (iii) The digital transformation; (iv) Promoting exports of Internet-enabled modern services; (v) The care society and gender equality; (vi) Sustainable tourism; and (vii) Regional economic integration.

“At ECLAC we have begun to work more on strengthening countries’ capacities and their institutions in terms of foresight studies and dialogues, in line with the Summit of the Future convened by the United Nations Secretary-General for September 2024,” ECLAC’s Executive Secretary emphasized.

He added that the organization’s aim, as set forth in Chapter V of the report, is for foresight and the capacity for anticipation to increasingly guide the respective dynamics of collective action and policy design towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We at ECLAC trust that Latin American and Caribbean countries, with the resolute support of United Nations organizations, funds and programs, will revitalize the commitments and means of implementation of the SDGs, through high-impact initiatives that would reactivate and accelerate progress towards achieving the Goals and targets, and would revive and also nurture the regional populations’ hope that a more prosperous, productive, inclusive and sustainable future is possible, and is in the making,” he concluded.