26 April 2019: Representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean reviewed progress and challenges regarding implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs in the region, during the third meeting of the Forum of the Countries of LAC on Sustainable Development.

The Forum was established in May 2016 as a regional mechanism for implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The Forum is convened annually under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The 2019 Forum convened from 22-26 April, in Santiago, Chile. It included peer learning sessions that addressed specific challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda in the Caribbean, and a dialogue between Europe and LAC regarding implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Also during the meeting, ECLAC presented a quadrennial report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda.

ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena identified positive trends in the region on targets of the SDGs, including achievement of SDG target 3.2 (reducing the mortality rate of children under five to fewer than 25 for every 1,000 live births), and good progress on SDG target 17.8 (percentage of people using the internet). However, she reported that two targets will not be reached: SDG target 6.1 (achieving universal and equitable access to drinking water at an affordable price), and SDG target 4.1 (universal access to secondary education by 2030). In addition, positive progress came to a halt on SDG target 2.1 (ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food year round).

The outcome document from the Forum calls for, inter alia:

  • Addressing the specific development needs of middle-income countries (MICs) by accounting for criteria other than per capita income;
  • Increasing implementation and awareness-raising regarding the SDGs;
  • Improving the environmental quality of cities; and
  • Adopting a broader and more people-centered and inclusive preventive approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR).

It also: recognizes the need to enhance the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including through SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals); underscores the critical role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in achieving the SDGs; invites the Forum to discuss the impact of rapid technological changes, such as artificial intelligence (AI), on achieving the SDGs; reiterates the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation; and underscores the commitment to address statistical challenges and advance the generation of quality data for the SDGs.

During a dialogue with the EU on revitalizing multilateral cooperation with a focus on achieving the SDGs, participants: called for moving from current foreign direct investment schemes to public-private partnerships that focus on realizing the 2030 Agenda; and, highlighting SDG 14 (life below water), noted the work of Norway, Chile, Jamaica, Mexico and others to build a “sustainable ocean economy.”

Luis Alfonso de Alba, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the 2019 Climate Summit, briefed participants during a special session looking towards the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) high-level events in September 2019. Stressing that countries can grow and fight climate change at the same time, he said the climate agenda must be an integral part of national development plans. He also urged the private sector and civil society to get more involved in climate issues.

The LAC regional forum was one of five that convened as part of preparations for the July 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). [ECLAC Press Release at Conclusion of Meeting] [Press Release in Advance of Meeting] [Press Release Announcing Meeting] [Press Release on Closing Session] [Statement of the UN Deputy Secretary-General] [Press Release on Ratifying the Escazú Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters] [Press Release on Challenges Faced by Caribbean Countries] [Press Release on Meeting of Social Development Authorities]