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Latin America and the Caribbean Must Implement Major Transformations and Drive Six Key Transitions to Accelerate Progress Towards Fulfilling the SDGs

The seventh report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was presented by José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary.
News |
16 April 2024
Cover page of document.

In confronting the relative delay in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Latin America and the Caribbean needs to pick up the pace in the conduct of public policies and implement transformative initiatives that would drive the region’s development. In addition, a new governance of public policies is needed along with the effective participation of social actors and the use of strategic tools, such as planning and foresight, according to a new document prepared by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on progress and challenges for achieving the SDGs.

The seventh report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, entitled The Challenge of Accelerating the 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean: Transitions towards Sustainability, was presented by José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, in the framework of the seventh meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is taking place through Thursday, April 18 at the main headquarters of the United Nations regional economic commission in Santiago, Chile.

The report stresses that speeding the pace of SDG fulfillment also requires making progress on the key transitions proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, which can have catalytic and multiplier effects across the SDGs and a determining impact for achieving them. These transitions involve: (i) food systems; (ii) energy access and affordability; (iii) digital connectivity; (iv) education; (v) jobs and social protection; and (vi) climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

“These transitions must be planned in a joined-up manner, with intelligent foresight, and be redirected towards the desired objectives. This means designing and implementing a new generation of public policies that are intended as policies of State, with a future vision and endowed with strategic governance and anticipatory management, as the outcome of inclusive and democratic participation by development stakeholders in spheres and in dialogue and governance processes appropriate to each of the various transitions,” ECLAC’s Executive Secretary affirms in the foreword to the document.

On a global level, UN estimates indicate that, if current trends hold steady, only 15% of the SDG targets will have been achieved by 2030. In the region, ECLAC estimates that 22% of targets either have been achieved or will be achieved by 2030, while 46% of them are headed in the right direction but not quickly enough to be fulfilled on time, and the remaining 32% are not expected to be achieved.

“Enormous challenges face the countries of the region. The risk of straying further from the path towards sustainable development is clear. There is no time for pause, let alone for setbacks. In this context, ECLAC reiterates its commitment to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030, by holding the annual meetings of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, providing support for the conduct of voluntary national and local reviews on progress and challenges in relation to the SDGs, offering technical cooperation in various fields, and other measures discussed in this report on progress towards fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda in the region,” José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs added.

Chapter I of this document takes an in-depth look both at the international landscape of slow economic development, fragmentation among the major powers and geopolitical difficulties and at the challenges facing the region in relation to sustainable development. It also discusses the implementation of productive development policies, which can contribute significantly to a renewal of economic growth, by placing this on a sustainable and lasting footing, and to faster progress towards the SDGs.

Chapter II focuses on the measurement of progress on the SDG indicators and targets regionally and in three subregions: South America, Central America and Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Chapter III presents progress and challenges with the five SDGs that were selected for in-depth study at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which will be held again in July at UN headquarters in New York. These are SDG 1 (End poverty), 2 (Zero hunger), 13 (Climate action), 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), along with projections regarding their fulfillment by 2030.

Chapter IV discusses, from the region’s perspective, the proposal by the United Nations Sustainable Development Group centered on driving six just transitions to sustainability that can accelerate progress towards the SDGs. ECLAC has determined that these transitions are essential for fostering productive, inclusive and sustainable development in the region’s countries.

Chapter V reviews the recent evolution of sources of financing for development in Latin America and the Caribbean. It emphasizes the need to expand the availability of financial resources and considers the policy proposals required to get back on track towards the SDGs. It analyzes the recent evolution of domestic and external financing sources, including innovative debt management mechanisms, and the urgent need to reform the architecture and institutional arrangements of the international financial system.

The report concludes by highlighting important findings and a set of recommendations for more thorough analysis of the policy alternatives and actions needed to get the indicators on track for the 2030 targets.

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