ECLAC urges Latin America to strengthen social protection systems

At a seminar on social development, ECLAC representatives expressed concern about the well-being of people in Latin America and the Caribbean amid growing poverty and inequality in the region.

by Khaila Gentle

SANTIAGO, Chile, Tue 30 Aug 2022

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), making progress in providing social protection to people in the region is now more urgent than ever.

At the second ECLAC regional seminar on social development, ECLAC Acting Executive Secretary Mario Cimoli said countries in the region have experienced setbacks on many social issues, including poverty and inequality. At present, the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean are living in unfavorable and highly uncertain economic times. Accordingly, ECLAC urges the countries of the region to strengthen their social security and social protection systems.

In a press release issued this week, the organization recommends that countries begin to move towards more “universal, comprehensive, sustainable and resilient” systems within the framework of a welfare state.

ECLAC estimates that the growing crises will cause the region to resume a path of low economic growth in 2022. According to the organization, strong inflationary pressures, weak dynamism in job creation, falling investments and growing social demands contribute to it.

“To this end, a new socio-fiscal pact is needed that would contribute to inclusive and transformative social development with gender equality and ensure the financial sustainability of policies to fight inequality,” the organization said.

Earlier this year, in June, ECLAC relayed a similar message at the international expert meeting.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the central role of social protection in addressing the health, economic and social effects of crises. Our region has been the most affected in terms of the number of deaths, and it is one of the most impacted economically and socially. This is no coincidence and is due to long-standing structural factors, including inequality in its various manifestations and weak social protection systems,” said Alberto Arenas de Mesa, director of the Social Development Division of ECLAC.

This week’s seminar on social development, titled “Social Security and the Protracted Crisis: An Opportunity to Combat Inequalities within the Framework of a Welfare State in Latin America and the Caribbean”, is being held virtually and ends Thursday. According to Mario Cimoli, the objective of the event is to maintain a dialogue with governments and call on them to act now through new social and fiscal agreements.

“Social protection can ultimately be understood as a key element of good governance, especially in times of crisis,” said Volker Oel, Commissioner for Latin America at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). .

The seminar is organized by ECLAC in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Joel C. Hicks