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ECLAC reaffirms need for new development model for Caribbean

Sunday, November 19, 2017

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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CMC) — The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, has reaffirmed the need for a new development model for Latin American and the Caribbean.

“Latin America and the Caribbean needs to move toward a new development paradigm based on equality and environmental sustainability as the drivers of growth,” said Bárcena in addressing the opening session of the international forum – “The Siege Upon Civilization ” From Wall to Wall”, organized by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the University of Guadalajara (UDG).

“The current model, capitalism, doesn’t work,” added Bárcena at the forum, where delegates debated the “Origins Project”: Climate change, the environmental and social consequences for Mexico and the world, carried out by Arizona State University (ASU).

During the event, Bárcena said that multilateralism is the only system that permits all to work for the people.

“We are in a change of era, with tectonic shifts occurring: migration, climate change, major geopolitical movements in the world, a fourth industrial revolution based on technology, and we don’t know what is going to happen with the future of work,” she said.

She added that, today, there is an urgent need to make a big environmental push that favors carbon-free production and consumption.

“We are not afraid to move toward a model with a progressive vision, with universal access to basic goods, to social rights, to equality, because inequality conspires against democracy,” the senior United Nations official said.

Bárcena, who is also a biologist , recalled the tragic consequences that climate change has had for the region since, in addition to losses in biodiversity and environmental pollution, natural disasters have accumulated a cost of US$300 billion dollars from 1970 through 2017.

Along with underlining that climate change “is the biggest market failure ever,” she said that, while globalization has helped pull millions of people out of extreme poverty, inequality has increased in an alarming way.

“Currently, one percent has half of the income of the rest of the world’s population,” Bárcena said. “Wealth is concentrated in very few hands.”

Citing the most recent study of OXFAM, Bárcena said that a mere eight individuals have the wealth equivalent to 3.6 billion people.

In addition, she said tax evasion in Latin America and the Caribbean totals US$340 billion dollars, or 6.7 percent of gross domestic product.

“This is an example of the culture of privilege that we must eradicate,” Bárcena said.

“Who is going to lead the world in the coming years?” ECLAC’s Executive Secretary asked the audience gathered at the UNAM’s main campus. “The elite, or the people? Let’s change the world with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with citizen participation. You, above all the young people, can change the world.”

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