Global Forum Concludes with Urgent Call for Regional Integration to Address Problems in Latin America and the Caribbean

El tercer Foro Global América Latina y El Caribe concluyó con un vehemente llamado a la integración regional y la solidaridad global como vías para hacer frente con éxito a los múltiples problemas de la región, los cuales se agravaron con la pandemia del Covid-19.

NEW YORK. – The third Global Forum Latin America and the Caribbean concluded with an urgent call for regional integration and global solidarity as ways to successfully address the region’s multiple challenges, seriously aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the Forum’s closing panel, former Colombian President Ernesto Samper said the region urgently needs to adopt a new development model that is capable of addressing the challenges imposed by the crisis.

“We must make a heroic effort of integration” Samper proclaimed, after pointing out that if the region were integrated, it could better negotiate the acquisition of vaccines against the Covid-19 virus.

Likewise, the politician analyzed the current panorama of the region and affirmed that social problems have left a democracy “in airplane mode,” which must be rescued as soon as possible.

Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary General of IDEA International, said that the pandemic has revealed that the Latin America and Caribbean of 2021 constitutes a region where the democratic project “is sinking.”

Regarding this concept, the expert warned that the governments and political leaderships of Latin America and the Caribbean are falling into the hands of warlords, inexperienced individuals and businessmen with ambitions of power, an element that must be paid attention to before it becomes a stronger force.

Meanwhile María Noel Vaeza, UN Women Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean, condemned the lack of equity between men and women and called for equality for women in political activities.

Vaeza pointed out that in Latin America and the Caribbean political organizations are mostly led by men, which makes it very difficult for women to access management positions in State institutions and in decision-making processes.

“Parity, not democratic quota,” Vaeza said, adding that the pandemic has highlighted the issue of care and the importance of the female role in fundamental sectors of society.

Meanwhile, Dianne Quarless, Head of the Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), highlighted the interrelationship between climate change and the issue of health.

She also highlighted the harmful impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the tourism and other economic sectors, provoking the loss of employment and the closure of many means of production. This situation has brought about uncertainty in the most affected sectors.

In his closing speech at the Forum, former President Leonel Fernández acknowledged the multiple problems facing the Latin American and Caribbean regions. However, he said he felt optimistic about the future, given that major crises generate great opportunities.

In that sense, the former President reiterated his demand for a global effort to solve the problems generated or aggravated by the pandemic, as well as other challenges of international scope.

“There is no local or regional solution to a global problem,” said Fernández, after affirming that the region and the world need fresh resources to face a crisis that has multiple dimensions.

The former Dominican President regretted that the pandemic has impacted the region precisely when it is most vulnerable, making it urgent to work on the issue of integration and international solidarity.

Expanding on his optimism for the future, Fernández said the rivalry between China and the United States creates an opportunity for Latin America and the Caribbean to expand its relevance on a global scale.

In this regard, he explained that in its interest to curb the Silk Road promoted by China, the United States could increase its investment in the Dominican Republic and other countries in the region.

Regarding the current political situation in the hemisphere, Fernández advocated that all possible efforts be directed in order to preserve democratic stability, social peace and respect for human rights.

“Once you access power democratically, you have to govern democratically,” Fernández warned.

The 2021 edition of the Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean began on Thursday, September 23, and was organized by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (Funglode) and its sister institution in the United States, the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD).

The event had the collaboration of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA International), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the Institute of Latin American Studies of Columbia University (ILAS).

All Forum publications and videos are available on the official website:

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Ricardo Lagos Recommends at the Funglode/GFDD Forum a Regional Agreement to Face the Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic

El expresidente de Chile Ricardo Lagos sugirió un acuerdo entre los gobiernos de los países latinoamericanos y caribeños para enfrentar de manera conjunta, y con mayores posibilidades de éxito, los múltiples problemas que arrastra la región.

NEW YORK. – Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos suggested an agreement between the governments of Latin American and Caribbean countries to jointly face, with greater possibilities of success, the multiple problems that the region is facing.

“There must be coordination so that we in the region speak the same language,” Lagos said, during remarks delivered at the Global Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean 2021, held today, September 24, in New York City.

In that sense, Lagos referred to the role played by Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, the only Latin American countries that are part of the G-20.

“It is important to understand, as Latin Americans, that we must defend the interests of our region and our hemisphere,” he said.

The former Chilean president said that a path must be found so that the investments made in the different countries of the region can meet the objectives of sustainable development.

Also at the event, former Colombian President Ernesto Samper considered it worrisome that there has been no solidarity response from the world to the global challenge generated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have faced strong health protectionism, and limitations on the export of medicines and vaccines,” he said.

According to the former Colombian President, the solution to the regional problem must be oriented to have vaccines declared to be universal goods. He also stated that “the game cannot be won by pharmaceutical companies, but solutions must be sought forward, to establish a minimum of solidarity.”

Samper pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic has been the first global crisis of the 21st century, comparable in its effects with the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Meanwhile, Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), said that working together is the key to successfully face the multiple problems of the region, which have been aggravated by the pandemic.

He maintained that the Covid-19 crisis has challenged the strength of democracy in the region, making it necessary to design and execute a set of actions with a view that is capable of addressing the situation.

“We have to face these challenges in order to achieve the development of the countries of the region” Almagro said, after highlighting the role played by the OAS as an organization that articulates common initiatives in the hemisphere.

The panel was also attended by Sergio Abreu, Secretary General of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), who emphasized the issue of regional integration as a way to solve the common problems of Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Integration is achieved with the political will of governments,” Abreu said.

He said that many governments in the region, in order to win the elections, are giving greater importance to short-term policies, thus mortgaging the future of new and future generations.

For his part, Marco Pinta Gama, Ibero-American Assistant Secretary, advocated for a post-Covid recovery agenda, covering all aspects of the crisis.

In that sense, Pinta Gama asked international financial organizations to take into account middle-income countries, so that they can face the problems of the pandemic.

“We face a great challenge regarding how cooperation should be implemented to respond to the problem,” he said.

The former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, warned that the Latin American and Caribbean regions are losing a lot of space at the international level, an element that must be urgently addressed.

According to the former Central American leader, this situation is due to the scarce contribution the region makes to the global economy, despite the great potential it has in that regard.

In analyzing the political landscape, Chinchilla stressed the importance of maintaining the validity of the regional integration mechanisms. She also recommended that attention be paid to the migration crisis and the situation that currently prevails in Nicaragua.