Productivity, social inclusion and strengthening governance are the three key thematic areas defined in this Programme, which was launched in June of this year in Paris under the Chilean Presidency of the OECD’s Ministerial Council Meeting.
Santiago, 13 October, 2016 - Representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean and the OECD, along with officials from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), met at ECLAC’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile, to hold the first meeting at regional level of the OECD Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean. Participants included ministers, vice-ministers of foreign trade and foreign affairs, ambassadors and official representatives.
This initiative, which was launched in June of this year in Paris with the participation of the Presidents of Chile and Peru-countries that were selected as the first co-chairs of the Programme for the period 2016-2018- aims to support the region in advancing its reform agenda in three key priority areas: increasing productivity, promoting social inclusion and strengthening institutions and governance.
The meeting, which included interventions by a diverse range of specialists, focused on the analysis of these sectors. "Many countries in the region have very positive initiatives to share in these areas and can also benefit from the experiences of OECD countries," said Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20. She added that this Programme reflects the political will of the member countries of the OECD to work more closely with this region, mobilizing a successful history of 20 years of collaboration.
"Our region urgently needs to change its development model through a great environmental boost", stated Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, who called on countries to take a leap in industrial and technological policies, with a particular focus on investment and innovation, to meet the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She added that "it is important to highlight the partnership we have established with the OECD and other institutions involved in the Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean, which addresses some of the major challenges of our countries. Productivity, for example, remains the 'Achilles heel' of the Latin American economy."
For its part, the Director General of International Economic Relations (DIRECON) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Andrés Rebolledo, emphasized the willingness of his country to improve the mechanisms for dialogue, collaboration and integration with the region. "This is the reason for our commitment to this initiative of the OECD; we share the vision of the importance of bringing their instruments and standards to the region, which is a diverse region, but with common challenges and a convergent vocation”. He also highlighted the importance for Chile of facilitating and assisting in the process of bringing the countries of the region closer to the OECD, with the main objective of sharing standards and best practices amongst a larger number of countries.
In turn, Nestor Popolizio, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, stressed that "the growing participation of countries in the region in the OECD reflects the interest of the region in increasing its international standards and designing better public policies that promote sustainable growth that benefits all citizens. In our capacity as co-chairman of the Programme, Peru will remain committed to promoting best practices, because we recognize the benefits of this process, and its contribution to achieving the sustainable development objectives of the 2030 Agenda".
The construction of the Programme
During the meeting, OECD and Latin America and the Caribbean countries were consulted about their priorities regarding the reform processes in the three areas of work of the Programme, which will be the basis of work for the period 2016-2018.
Analysis provided by experts from the OECD, ECLAC and other organizations during the meeting generated a discussion on the major challenges and opportunities in Latin America. The clear need to link policies concerned with productivity growth and social inclusion was particularly stressed, as well as the importance of having open and efficient governments to successfully implement these policies.
The next meeting of the OECD Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean will take place on 6 December in Santiago, Chile, along with a ministerial session to address the issue of productivity.
>> For more information on the work of the OECD with the region, please visit www.oecd.org/latin-america