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The challenge of accelerating the 2030 agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean: transitions towards sustainability

 The Challenge of Accelerating the 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean: Transitions towards Sustainability

The regional picture is no less problematic. As a result of the global circumstances and the region’s own structural constraints, Latin America and the Caribbean is experiencing very slow growth and a high prevalence of substandard employment, leading to a deterioration in levels of social well-being and material progress. Short-term challenges in the region are compounding this situation, which is delaying progress towards the SDGs there. 

Chapter I of the report takes an in-depth look both at the international landscape of slow economic development, fragmentation among the major powers and geopolitical difficulties and at the challenges facing the region in relation to sustainable development. It also discusses the implementation of productive development policies, which can contribute significantly to a renewal of economic growth, by placing this on a sustainable and lasting footing, and to faster progress towards the SDGs.

Given this difficult regional and global situation, the design and implementation of innovative policies with a long-term strategic vision need to be pursued more vigorously if there is to be progress towards the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean. This means having access to information that enables the challenges facing the region to be more clearly identified and measured with a view to making evidence-based decisions and designing desirable future scenarios and the pathways towards them. 

Chapter II focuses on measurement of progress with the SDG indicators and targets regionally and in three subregions: South America, Central America and Mexico, and the Caribbean. ECLAC estimates that only 22% of the targets for which information is available are on their way to being achieved by 2030. For 46%, movement is in the right direction but too slow for them to be met by the deadline, while in the remaining 32% of cases the trend is away from the targets, making their attainment by 2030 highly unlikely. 

Chapter III presents progress and challenges with the five SDGs that were selected for in-depth study at the high-level political forum on sustainable development: Goal 1 (End poverty), Goal 2 (Zero hunger), Goal 13 (Climate action), Goal 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions) and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). Analysis of recent developments with the indicators and targets for these SDGs gives an idea of the scale of the efforts that would be needed to get them on track for 2030. The trajectory of some indicators is a cause for real concern and shows the need for immediate action to bring about improvements in institutions and governance and to mobilize the public and private sectors and civil society alike in concerted efforts and engagement to remedy the situation. 

To get back on track to achieve the SDGs by the deadline, it is important to have options for addressing the most urgent problems, based on both successful experiences and expert knowledge. The second part of the report looks at two of these options. 

Chapter IV discusses, from the perspective of the region, the proposal by the United Nations Sustainable Development Group for a set of six just transitions to sustainability that can accelerate progress towards the SDGs. ECLAC has determined that these transitions are essential for fostering productive, inclusive and sustainable development in the countries of the region. They relate specifically to the following areas: (i) food systems; (ii) energy access and affordability; (iii) digital connectivity; (iv) education; (v) jobs and social protection; and (vi) climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. In each case, the desirable characteristics of the transition concerned, the challenges involved in achieving it and the nature of the investments required are analysed. 

Chapter V reviews the recent evolution of sources of financing for development in Latin America and the Caribbean. It emphasizes the need to expand the availability of financial resources and considers the policy proposals required to get back on track towards the SDGs. It analyses the recent evolution of domestic and external financing sources, including innovative debt management mechanisms, and the urgent need to reform the architecture and institutional arrangements of the international financial system. 

Lastly, the report concludes with a summary of its main findings and a set of recommendations for more thorough analysis of the policy alternatives and actions needed to get the indicators on track for the 2030 targets.

Read the report

This description was adapted from