ECLAC – The Role of Civil Society in the 2030 Agenda

The effective impact of civil society organizations in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was among the topics discussed at the ECLAC meeting in Chile

CSO representatives at ECLAC

Many representatives from civil society organizations were attending the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) – Photo: Dianova

By Marco Antonio del Río – The meeting of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) was held in Santiago de Chile from 16 to 20 April in the context of developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. Dozens of representatives from governments and civil society organizations (CSOs) from Latin America and the Caribbean attended the ECLAC meeting. Dianova was represented by three members, Jordi Alos Lladó from Dianova Uruguay, Davide Brundu, Vice President of Dianova International, and Marco Antonio del Río in his role as representative of Dianova Chile.

The meeting highlighted issues related to progress in achieving the SDGs as part of the 2030 Agenda. Government and CSO representatives therefore discussed the actual impact of CSOs in striving to achieve the SDGs. Meeting participants specifically examined questions from a gender perspective (women participating in decision-making, pay inequality) and the performance of PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships) in combating poverty and improving education, health and infrastructure. Participants acknowledged the success of some PPPs, but also the many examples of PPPs that served to further the corrupt practices of private businesses and governmental bodies. A related problem is the concept of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), which often serves the self-interest of companies and does not necessarily address the needs of local communities. In terms of State participation, attendees agreed on the importance of continuing to strive to fulfill the 2030 Agenda regardless of which governments currently hold power.

Given the context of these issues, participants focused and worked on goals such as:

  • Facilitating and coordinating strong CSO connections to ECLAC and their active participation in the Commission as well as that of member states in the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development. Designing, implementing, monitoring, reporting and evaluating SDGs.
  • Ensuring that governments and CSOs hold each other accountable for the Sustainable Development Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Developing effective strategies for working with diverse stakeholders and governments to implement the Sustainable Development Agenda in the region.

These objectives rest on cross-cutting principles, in particular:

  • The framework of human rights and their progressive nature.
  • Gender equality, non-discrimination and parity.
  • Social-environmental sustainability criteria.
  • Interdependence of the dimensions of social, economic and environmental development.
  • Transparency and accountability.
  • An intergenerational and intercultural focus.