ECLAC wants Caribbean to Change Development paradigm

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is calling on regional countries to change their development paradigm, taking ownership of the 2030 Agenda to confront climate change. ECLAC’s executive secretary, Alicia Bárcena, said this is one of the major challenges of the 21st century, “due to its global causes and consequences.”

The United Nations sub-regional organization’s most senior representative led the launch of the report “The Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Graphic View,” with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, in a video address, declaring herself to be an optimistic woman “including with regard to the kind of response we will be able to give to such a pressing issue as climate change.

“My optimism is based, among other things, on an ascertainment: it is striking how the tone has changed when this issue is discussed. What was before a topic for specialists, distant and contaminated by distrust, has become an undeniable issue of civic interest in a reasoned debate and one that is increasingly being integrated in public policies and private sector strategies.”

During her presentation, Bárcena said that the document “is a graphic version of how over all these years we have managed to arrive at the point where we are today, a point that is moving ever closer to the point of no return.” She specified that in the report “we set forth the main theses and naturally, the main challenges that we feel the planet and our region will face.”

Bárcena said “we are confronted with a true crisis in multilateralism,” underscoring that the problem of climate change “cannot be resolved individually by each country. “We need simultaneous, cooperative collective action; and, above all, we need to change the development pattern, which is not sustainable. It is essential that we modify our production and, above all, investment patterns. The development model must be changed along with its consumption patterns.”

The senior United Nations official indicated that, for Latin America and the Caribbean, what is most urgent is adaptation, which reduces risks, benefits those most vulnerable and is a motor for development.

She also called for putting into effect economic instruments, such as the collection of environmental taxes.

“Latin America and the Caribbean has space to improve its environmental fiscal policy,” Bárcena said, adding “this can even contribute to compensating, temporarily, for the loss of other tax income.”

“The Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Graphic View” examines the nine theses about climate change in the region, along with the phenomenon’s seven challenges, ECLAC said.