Development

Latin America and the Caribbean: A decisive moment - Remarks at launch of the OECD Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Programme

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría, 

Secretary-General, OECD

1 June 2016

OECD Headquarters, Paris

 

 

Presidenta Michelle Bachelet, Presidente Ollanta Humala, Vice Presidenta Ana Helena Chacón, Distinguidos Ministros y Embajadores de América Latina y el Caribe, Representantes de organismos internacionales (queridos Alicia, Luis Alberto, Rebeca, Enrique(s)),

Dear Ministers, Ambassadors and representatives from OECD and Partner Countries,

Amigas y amigos, chers amis, dear friends,

 

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the OECD to launch together the new Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean. Bienvenidos a su casa.

 

The political decision by OECD member countries to create this programme recognises the mutual benefit of our long-standing co-operation and elevates it to a higher level. On the one hand, it responds to the growing interest from countries in the region to engage more actively and effectively with the OECD, at a time when good policy choices are more important than ever. President Bachelet once defined the OECD as the “house of best practices”, so it is natural that this OECD expertise in distilling best policies is increasingly sought. Our countries understand the transformative value that our policy advice, instruments and standards can have in the region, particularly at such a critical time. And at the same time, the OECD is aware that much can be learnt from Latin America’s recent experience.

 

The first years of the 21st century saw great economic and social progress in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a rapid expansion of international trade and strong demand for the region’s products. Greater macroeconomic discipline and innovative social policies, delivered robust growth and lifted more than 10% of the region’s population out of poverty. But the global slowdown and the fall of commodity prices is testing the sustainability of such past development achievements.

 

For the first time since the 1980s the region, on average, will experience two years in a row of negative growth. At the same time, it is important to highlight a marked heterogeneity, with most countries expected to post positive growth this year, and some of them at rates above 5%. We are confronted with a critical juncture, in which Latin America needs to consolidate its progress and confront its remaining challenges to sustain economic and social development: raising productivity, advancing social inclusion, and strengthening public sector capacity and governance. All the key themes of our Ministerial this year.

 

The objective of the LAC Regional Programme is precisely to support the region’s governments and actors in their efforts to advance their reform agendas by facilitating policy dialogue and exchanging best practices in areas such as investment, infrastructure, education and skills, competition, corporate governance, public governance, fiscal policy and sustainability.

 

The Programme aims as well at enriching our Organisation’s own work with the perspectives from Latin American and Caribbean countries, enhance the partnerships we have built over years with regional organisations, and contribute to the region’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 

Señora Presidenta, Señor Presidente, Distinguidos invitados,

 

Tenemos el privilegio de que Chile y Perú sean los primeros en co-presidir este Programa Regional. Chile como país miembro de la OCDE y que también preside este año nuestra reunión ministerial, y Perú como miembro de nuestro Centro de Desarrollo y con quien estamos trabajando activamente en un Programa País. Estamos seguros de que el liderazgo de estos dos países, que están aprovechando al máximo la aportación de la OCDE y también han sabido articular políticas de crecimiento incluyente, mecanismos de diálogo político y transformaciones institucionales más allá de la inmediatez de los ciclos políticos, contribuirá de manera decisiva a orientar los trabajos de este nuevo programa.

 

Para la OCDE es un gran gusto acompañar a la región en la identificación de soluciones para atravesar este complejo momento. Queremos trabajar con ustedes y para ustedes, junto a los organismos internacionales amigos que hoy nos acompañan. Cuenten con nosotros. Juntos, podemos y debemos diseñar, desarrollar e implementar mejores políticas para una vida mejor.