The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has launched ‘Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future,' which discusses the two major challenges to development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC): achieving greater equality; and making development sustainable for future generations.
The document was prepared for ECLAC's 35th Session, which met from 5-9 May 2014, in Lima, Peru.
6 May 2014: The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has launched ‘Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future,’ which discusses the two major challenges to development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC): achieving greater equality; and making development sustainable for future generations. The document was prepared for ECLAC’s 35th Session, which met from 5-9 May 2014, in Lima, Peru.
ECLAC notes that the document completes its ‘equality trilogy,’ also including the main documents from the previous two sessions: ‘Time for Equality: Closing Gaps, Opening Trails,’ presented in 2010 in Brazil; and ‘Structural Change for Equality: An Integrated Approach to Development,’ released in 2012 in El Salvador.
The Compacts document examines: social, economic, environmental and natural resource governance constraints on sustainability; challenges associated with various development options; and medium- and long-term policy proposals necessary for reducing inequality and sustainable development in LAC countries.
More specifically, ECLAC proposes reorienting development based on equality and environmental sustainability through compacts that ensure, inter alia: a redistributive tax structure; increased productivity; improved public goods and services; better natural resource governance; and investment growth and diversification. The document describes specific compacts on: better balancing public and private goods in general welfare provision; universal social safety nets and improved public services, including health, education and transportation; environmental sustainability, through, inter alia, taxing pollution and excessive energy consumption; and natural resource governance, through saving revenue from resource exploitation for future generations and public investment. It also considers compacts on industrial policy and inclusive financing, and promoting equality in the workplace, and calls on the international community to forge compacts on development and cooperation beyond 2015 that respect the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities.
The document argues that: giving up equality to be more efficient is not necessary; institutions play a key role in distributing wealth; and “equality is the goal, structural change is the path and policy is the instrument.” Upon the report’s release, ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena said that, to protect the social achievements already made in the region, “a new path for sustainable growth with rising degrees of equality” is necessary, through a renewed set of institutional and political reforms. She said “we must boost equality to grow and grow to boost equality,” and that policies enshrined in compacts can offer a more robust and long-lasting framework for developing medium- and long-term development pathways within countries. [ECLAC Press Release, 6 May] [ECLAC Press Release, 5 May] [Publication: Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future] [Remarks of ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena]