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May 26, 2017

Alicia Bárcena notes challenges to implementation of SDGs by 2030

Thursday, April 13, 2017

ECLAC chief underlines importance of social programmes, poverty reduction in Latin America

Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for the Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), has appealed for Latin America to lift 75 million people out of poverty by 2030 and praised the consolidation of social programmes and policies as a matter of state in Argentina and across the region.

At a press conference hosted by the Universidad Torcuato di Tella and attended by the Herald, Bárcena noted that the high and pervasive inequality in Latin America poses specific problems to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. “Even if the region was able to reach the Millennium Development Goals, which were actually quite basic, the SDG agenda is far more complex and comprehensive because it has equality and inclusion at its basis. That requires fiscal policy that is more distributive, for example. And that requires the elimination of extreme poverty in all its forms and that means that from here to 2030 the region will have to lift 75 million people out of poverty.” Job creation, production, technology and inequality in the distribution of the profits were also cited by Bárcena as part of the policy matters on the agenda in order to reach the SDGs.

In light of the austerity programmes currently in place in some parts of the world, the head of the ECLAC said that “countries are conscious that social spending must be protected in order not to fall back.” Bárcena included Argentina in that group, noting that she had been told by Social Development Minister Carolina Stanley that the government would increase social spending.

Bárcena considered as positive the lifting of currency controls by the Mauricio Macri administration, and predicted that real salaries and the economy would grow this year.

She also noted that while ECLAC had not been in favour of the settlement with “vulture funds,” considering the situation unfair to Argentina, she added that the agreement had nonetheless opened international credit markets and investments for Buenos Aires.

—Herald staff

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