Photo: UNDP Paraguay

Buenos Aires - October 12, 2018 - Sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean will depend on the ability of governments to move towards middle class societies, with economic security and equity, for which it is essential to manage natural resources sustainably and strategically. This was a central message from the Regional Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Latin America and the Caribbean, Luis Felipe López-Calva, at the XXI Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place from 9-12 October.

The Regional Director stressed that innovation and technological development are central to the transformations required in this ambitious agenda.

"The region is a biodiversity superpower and at the same time it is the most urbanized region of the planet and suffers great vulnerability to climate change," said López-Calva, noting that the economic development of the countries is highly related to their natural capital, which makes up between 17 and 27% of the national heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean. "The sustainable use of land, resilience and proper management of the urbanization process appear as three major priorities for our region, where environmental issues are highly linked to social and economic issues and where progress would only be achieved through integrated policies. "

The Forum addressed priority issues for the 33 countries of the region related to the fight against pollution, decarbonization of the economy, efficient use of natural resources and green financing, among others. Organized by the Secretary of the Government of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme.

"As the president of the forum, we seek to contribute to the region's commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030, in that framework we will define regional priorities and strategies, moving from discourse to action," said Rabbi Sergio Bergman, Secretary of the Government of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina, who chairs the XXI Meeting of the Forum of Ministers.

"Latin America and the Caribbean have an increasingly firm voice in the global debate to reach multilateral solutions to the great environmental challenges of our time. I am sure that this Forum of Ministers in Argentina will be a concrete and crucial contribution to this dialogue, "said Leo Heileman, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the UN Environment Programme.

The discussions also revolved around the identification of innovative solutions to enhance the benefits to ecosystems, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and the central role of cooperation in implementing the international commitments that are assumed.

In the framework of his first visit to Argentina as Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of UNDP, Luis Felipe López Calva participated in the opening of the first day of the Ministerial Segment of said forum.

López Calva emphasized the importance of establishing "tools that allow the monitoring of the SDGs and that are efficient instruments for comprehensive policies and governance.

"The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs are more than an expression of goodwill: they constitute a methodological tool for planning and also an instrument that facilitates the monitoring of progress and also access to updated information on public management challenges, environmental justice and governance. "

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