UNDP launches a new initiative to discuss new governance in Latin America and the Caribbean

September 2, 2020

New York, September 2, 2020 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Latin America and the Caribbean will begin a series of consultations with a diversity of actors from the region, including academics, activists, private sector representatives, journalists, and youth leaders to discuss how to face the governance crisis that the region is experiencing and to relaunch its regional governance program accordingly.  

The topics of discussion include the capacities of the state and the fight against corruption, social equity, and the fiscal reforms necessary to build a new, more peaceful, and inclusive normality in Latin America and the Caribbean. The final aim is to seek, together, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals included in the 2030 Agenda.

This process necessarily implies the search for political and social agreements that could guarantee peace and social cohesion. The magnitude of the governance crisis requires the recognition that an unprecedented crisis requires innovative solutions.

A Governance Crisis

In recent weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened in Latin America. The health, humanitarian and economic aspects of this crisis have no historical precedent.

Close to 30 million people are projected to fall into poverty, the number of unemployed will rise to more than 44 million, productivity and the economic contraction are so deep that it is estimated that it will not be until 2023 when the economic activity levels of 2019 will be recovered.

“As with the effects of the virus in an organism with pre-existing medical conditions, our societies are more affected by chronic pre-pandemic structural weaknesses: high inequality, fragmented social contracts, low productivity and growth, low trust in public institutions and, fiscal weakness. That is why the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America is not only a health and socioeconomic emergency but also a governance crisis", said Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

At a time when the population of the region - with at least 23 million additional poor people - aspires to a more robust and supportive presence of the state, its capacities are below the expectations of the citizens. Finding ways forward to establish effective governance is thus paramount for the region.