Santiago de Chile, Oct 3 (EFE).- The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, and the Chilean Minister of Social Development, Javiera Toro, called Tuesday for progress towards “consolidated and resilient” social institutions to promote and guarantee economic, social, cultural and environmental rights at the opening of the Fifth Meeting of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“It is a matter of achieving a solid social institutionality that is at the same time flexible and capable of responding to the changes that have impacted the region and those that will impact it in the future,” said Salazar-Xirinachs at an opening ceremony that also featured the Deputy Regional Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for Latin America and the Caribbean, Linda Maguire; and the Senator and Minister of Health, Welfare, Social Transformation and Environment of Antigua and Barbuda, Samantha Marshall.
The conference, which is being held at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago until Thursday, brings together high-level government authorities, specialists from international organizations, academics, and civil society representatives and will have as its central theme social institutionality in the region.
Minister Toro, for her part, stressed the need to improve national social development policies “hand in hand with international cooperation in the social, regional and bilateral spheres” and warned of the “growing” challenges of building social policies “that put people at the center.”
“We must accelerate the implementation of the social dimension of the 2030 Agenda and confront possible setbacks with sustainable and effective strategies, reinforcing multilateral action,” added the Chilean Minister of Social Development.
As chair of the previous meeting, Marshall highlighted the importance of “conferences like this” that serve, she said, as a “platform for constructive dialog to learn from each other’s successes and failures.” At the same time, Linda Maguire pointed out that, for UNDP, it is “fundamental” to design social protection systems that are “universal, inclusive, fiscally sustainable and conducive to growth.”
“An integrated and collaborative approach will allow us to respond more effectively to the multidimensional challenges we understand and thus strengthen resilience and social cohesion in the region,” she added.
The Regional Conference, organized by ECLAC, the Chilean government, and UNDP and which also includes the XV Ministerial Forum for Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, will address in several panels relevant issues such as the financing of universal social protection systems in Latin America; the improvement of capacities in the Ministries of Social Development and the challenges of governance and cooperation in times of cascading crises, among others, according to ECLAC.
The Regional Conference on Social Development was created in May 2014 as one of ECLAC’s subsidiary bodies. Previous meetings were held in Lima (2015), Montevideo (2017), Mexico City (2019), and in virtual mode, with Antigua and Barbuda as the host country (2021).
At today’s meeting, Chile took over the presidency of the regional body from Antigua and Barbuda until 2025. EFE