ECLAC Proposes Compacts for Equality and Sustainable Development

ECLAC5 May 2014: The Secretariat of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) proposed to the biennial session of the Commission six "social compacts" on equality and development covering fiscal policy, investment, industrial policy, inclusive financing, labor reform, public services, environmental sustainability and natural resource governance. The proposal was the centerpiece of a position paper that served as the basis for discussions at the biennial meeting of the full Commission, which convened 5-9 May 2014 in Lima, Peru.

The Secretariat paper, titled 'Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future,' examines multiple dimensions of inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean with regard to income distribution, gender, indigenous peoples, nutrition, access to information and communication technologies, and labor market participation. It also analyzes current regional trends for key environmental factors, such as water, forests, biodiversity, climate change, and disaster preparedness, as well as how equality and environmental concerns intersect with consumption patterns.

The paper proposes six "compacts" to reorient development in the region toward greater equality and environmental sustainability. The first is a fiscal compact to ensure the availability of the resources needed to deploy the other strategic policies. The second is a compact for investment, industrial policy and inclusive financing aimed at guiding structural change. The third focuses on labor reforms in pursuit of greater equality and prevention of workplace discrimination. The fourth centers on improving the quality of public services such as transportation, education, health and environmental services and increasing the shared use of such services. The fifth, on environmental sustainability, addresses climate change, land management, biodiversity protection, water management and sustainable energy. The paper proposes special taxes on pollution and levies on fossil fuels. The sixth compact deals with natural resource governance, covering changes in the institutional framework for regulation, ownership and revenue collection.

The paper also discusses in general terms, the region's aspirations for inclusion in the post-2015 development agenda.

'Compacts for Equality' is the third in a trilogy of ECLAC position papers focusing on the equality-development nexus, for the biennial Commission session. The first is titled 'Time for Equality: Closing Gaps, Opening Trails,' which was released for the 2010 session, and second, 'Structural Change Equality: An Integrated Approach to Development,' was released for the 2012 session. [ECLAC Press Release] [Publication: Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future]