Latin America and the Caribbean Civil Society Meeting: “The 2030 Agenda in times of COVID-19”

May 20, 2020

Cepei, ECLAC and the Civil Society Participation Mechanism in the Sustainable Development Agenda and in the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, co-organized this webinar joined by 210 participants. 

During the meeting, the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Bárcena; Javier Surasky, Governance for Sustainable Development area Coordinator of Cepei; Marita González and Ricardo Baruch, members of the Civil Society Participation Mechanism, presented and analyzed the economic and social scenarios, as well as the challenges that the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region is currently facing in the midst of the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the value of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Latin America and the Caribbean Civil Society Meeting: “The 2030 Agenda in times of COVID-19”, May 18, 2020, photo: CEPAL 

According to the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, the current context challenges the region to rethink the economic, social and development models for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, without leaving anyone behind:

“In light of the growing difficulties that Latin American and Caribbean countries must contend with in this context of crisis, today more than ever, the 2030 Agenda is our collective and pressing road map. Supporting its implementation, as well as the follow-up and monitoring of progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the medium and long term, in each and every one of our countries, is a great challenge that we will have to tackle in this period of pandemic (May 18th, 2020, ECLAC). 

During her intervention the Executive Secretary emphasized that the pandemic effects will produce the “the biggest recession experienced by the region since 1914 and 1930, with growth projected at -5.3%, a significant deterioration in labor indicators in 2020 that is seen leaving nearly 12 million more people unemployed in the region, and an increase of nearly 30 million people living in poverty”  (May 18th, 2020, ECLAC). 

Likewise, she stressed that COVID-19 warns us about  our production and consumption model: “If we continue to degrade the planet, climate change will be our next big problem” [own translation] (May 18th, 2020, @cepal_onu

Later on, Javier Surasky, Governance area Coordinator of Cepei, addressed the relationship between COVID-19 and sustainable development, specially focusing on the importance of 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in the current context. Surasky stressed that it will be up to all of us to direct our efforts towards the world we want and prevent this crisis from bringing us to a point of no return.

Latin America and the Caribbean Civil Society Meeting: “The 2030 Agenda in times of COVID-19”, May 18, 2020, photo: Cepei 

Similarly, he pointed out that the Sustainable Development Goals are still just as important:

“Those goals are to where we must move forward. We must make every possible effort to achieve them by 2030. The SDGs are a permanent direction towards which to keep moving forward, keep pushing, keep looking collectively”. 

Regarding the 2030 Agenda, Surasky assured that far from being dead, the Agenda is more alive than ever, and has become an even more necessary element in its holistic and integrated conception.

For Surasky, ever since the 2030 Agenda was launched, it was clear that the way to go would be difficult. However, as he said, today that path has become much more complex. The important thing here, he points out, is that the Agenda provides us with the tools to move along that path, tools that we must learn to use  better. 

The Governance Coordinator of Cepei also referred to the 2030 Agenda review and follow-up system which, he said, can be considered a “GPS” to know what are the realities of this path that we must follow towards achieving sustainable development commitments. He also stressed that this review and follow-up system or “GPS” has the advantage of connecting us with others who are traveling the same path and facing similar problems in the implementation of the SDGs.

Finally, he made a call to revalue the review and follow-up system. He suggested turning it into a dynamic mechanism that allows countries to exchange information on their SDGS implementation processes, which also allows them to be self-critical, learn from others and ask for help. According to Surasky, the 2030 Agenda specifically points to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) as a space where countries can request help to overcome the challenges they have. However, he warned that the review and follow-up system is not being used as a mechanism for cooperation between countries.


🔸 Cepei
🔸 Civil Society Participation Mechanism


📥 Download them here (Spanish) 


🔸 Alicia Bárcena Calls for Rethinking the Model and Consolidating the Economic, Social and Environmental Dimensions of Sustainable Development so as to Leave No One Behind

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