The 4th Latin America and the Caribbean regional forum on sustainable development met virtually, as part of the process towards the 2021 High-Level Political Forum, where eleven countries from the region will present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNR). Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua will be first-time presenters. The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Paraguay will present their second VNR Report. Meanwhile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Uruguay will submit their third VNR on their 2030 Agenda national implementation progress.
This year, Cepei was part of the Regional Workshop on Voluntary National Reviews in Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by ECLAC and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), gathered in the framework of the LAC Forum, to share knowledge among technical representatives of the 2021 reporting countries.
Cepei organized – with the Danish Institute for Human Rights and other international partners – an official side event on Rights-Based Sustainable Recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean: “Placing human rights and the 2030 Agenda at the core of the responses to build forward better”, and a special event on “Data as a tool for SDGs oriented Public Policies”, in partnership with ECLAC and the National Statistics Administrative Department of the Government of Colombia.
The Post-COVID-19 recovery and how to align it with the 2030 Agenda implementation in the framework of the Secretary-General’s call for a “Decade of Action and Delivery” and “Build Back Better”, were at the core of the discussions. The global vaccine production and the lack of solid multilateral governance allowing their fair distribution system, repeatedly bubbled up in the forum debates. The search for a stronger Sustainable Development narrative, hooked up with the current world context, informed every Forum activity, even when it was not an explicitly stated goal.
However, a LAC-countries recurring problem leads to an Intergovernmentally agreed Conclusions and Recommendations final documents full of clichés and nearly trite assertions, lacking the current times required ambition and excluding detailed national or regional commitments.
There is no doubt that the results of this 4th Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Forum on Sustainable Development will provide critical inputs to the 2021 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). It is equally true that LAC countries still have opportunities to improve their contributions to build forward a more sustainable post-pandemic world, raising the current levels of ambition and taking advantage of the new windows for action triggered by the crisis.