Latin America is lagging behind in its efforts to achieve the SDGs — Global Issues

A view of the Altos de Florida neighborhood in Bogotá, Colombia. Overcoming poverty is the first of the Sustainable Development Goals, and in the Latin America and Caribbean region there is not only slow progress, but also setbacks on the path to reducing it. CREDIT: Freya Mortales / UNDP
  • by Humberto Marquez (caracas
  • Inter Press Service

“We are exactly halfway through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development period, but we are not halfway there, as only a quarter of the goals have been achieved or expected to be achieved this year “, warned the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs.

However, the president of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) underlined, in response to a questionnaire submitted to him by IPS, that “the percentage of objectives being achieved is higher to the global average,” in part due to strengthening institutions that lead SDG governance.

The 17 SDGs include 169 targets, to be measured with 231 indicators, and in the region, 75 percent are at risk of not being achieved, according to ECLAC, unless decisive action is taken to move forward: 48 percent percent are moving in the right direction but too slow to achieve the respective goals, and 27 percent show a tendency to regress.

The summit was convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on September 18-19 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, under the official name of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The stated objective is to “step on the accelerator” to achieve the SDGs in all regions, in a combined context of crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, new wars and the climate and climate crises. eating.

The SDGs focus on eradicating poverty, zero hunger, health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, clean and affordable energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, as well as reducing inequalities.

They also target sustainable cities and communities, responsible production and consumption, climate action, underwater life, the life of terrestrial ecosystems, peace, justice and strong institutions, as well as partnerships to achieve the goals.

Progress is being made, but slowly

“In all countries in the region, progress is being made, but in many of them, not at the necessary pace. The pace varies greatly and we are not where we would like to be,” said Almudena Fernández, an economist in head for the region at the United Nations. Development Program (UNDP), told IPS from New York.

Thus, said the Peruvian economist, “there is progress, for example, on certain issues of health or energy and protection of the territory, but we are behind in achieving more sustainable cities and we are not not on track to achieve, at the regional level, any of the objectives set. poverty indicators. »

Salazar-Xirinachs, originally from Costa Rica, said from Santiago that “countries that have historically been at the forefront in public policies are those that have made the most progress, such as Uruguay in South America , Costa Rica in Central America or Jamaica in the Caribbean. They have implemented a greater diversity of strategies to achieve the SDGs.

A group of experts led by American economist Jeffrey Sachs has prepared charts for the UN showing the extent to which countries in different developing regions are on track to meet the goals or still facing challenges – measured in three levels, from moderate to severe – and whether they are on track to achieve the goals. the path of improvement, stagnation or regression.

According to this study, the greatest progress in reducing poverty was observed in Brazil, El Salvador, Guyana, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay, while the greatest setbacks were observed in Argentina, Belize , in Ecuador and Venezuela.

In the fight for zero hunger, no one stands out; Brazil, after having made progress, has regressed in recent years and the best results are those of the Caribbean countries.

In the areas of health and well-being, education and gender equality, positive trends are observed, although stagnation has been noted, particularly in Caribbean and Central American countries.

In the areas of water and sanitation, energy, reduction of inequalities, economic growth, management of marine areas, terrestrial ecosystems, justice and institutions, the table of Sachs edge shows the persistence of numerous obstacles, approached in very different ways depending on the country.

Many countries in Central America and the Caribbean are on track to meet their climate action goals, and generally the region has made progress by forging alliances with other countries and organizations to lead the way in achieving the SDGs.

A question of funds

Even before the pandemic that broke out in 2020, Fernández said, the region was not moving fast enough toward the SDGs; its economic growth has been very weak for a long time – and remains so, at just 1.9 percent this year – and growth accompanied by investment is necessary to reduce poverty.

In this regard, Fernández highlighted the need to increase tax revenues, since tax collection is very low in the region (22 percent of gross domestic product, compared to 34 percent in the advanced economies of the Cooperation Organization and Economic Development), “although progress will not be achieved through public spending alone”, she said.

Salazar-Xirinachs emphasized that “besides financial resources, it is very important to tailor actions to specific areas to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Measures implemented at the subnational level are of great importance. Specific problems in local areas cannot always be solved. with universal policies. »

Fernández stressed that the 2030 Agenda “has always been conceived as a society-wide agenda, and the private sector plays an essential role, especially in areas that are flourishing because it has a social impact and positive environmental in their DNA, and that there are young consumers who use sustainably produced products.

Salazar-Xirinachs of ECLAC highlighted sensitized sectors such as organized civil society and the private sector, for their participation in sustainable development forums, follow-up actions and public-private partnerships progressing towards the achievement of the SDGs.

Finally, regarding the expectations of the summit, the head of ECLAC aspires to a movement aimed at accelerating the 2030 Agenda in at least four areas: decent employment for all, the creation of more sustainable cities, resilient infrastructure that provide more jobs and improved governance and governance. institutions involved in the process.

ECLAC has identified the necessary “transformational measures”: an early energy transition; stimulate the bioeconomy, in particular sustainable agriculture and bioindustrialization; digital transformation for greater connectivity within the population; and promote exports of modern services.

It also focuses on the care society, in response to demographic trends, to achieve greater gender equality and boost the economy; sustainable tourism, which has great potential in the countries of the region; and integration to enable alliances to strengthen cooperation within the regional bloc.

In summary, concludes ECLAC, “it would be very important that during the Summit, these types of measures are identified and translated into agreements in which the countries jointly propose a road map to implement actions aimed at strengthening them.”

© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


Back to top button