Cuba is a model of South-South cooperation and promotion of equality and development, said Alicia Barcena, head of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Monday during a ceremony marking the Cuban National Day.
“Cuba is a relevant example of how much can be done in favor of South-South cooperation,” said Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of ECLAC.
Barcena and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres are visiting Cuba for ECLAC's 37th session, the second annual meeting hosted by the island and the first since the triumph of the revolution, to be held in Havana from May 8 to 11 and marking the 70 anniversary of the agency.
“The ECLAC and the Cuban government have several times stressed the importance of a comprehensive approach regarding development, that's to say, a development in which economy advances, with social progress and respect for the environment, leading to sustainable development,” said Barcena.
She recognized that Cuba has been working and collaborating with other countries aiming to strengthen health and equality, saying that “it's about growing for equality, and equality for growth.”
Barcena will present a report on the agency's performance over the past two years, called “The Inefficiency of Inequality” and participants will approve the program for the next two years, during which Cuba will hold the rotating presidency.
On Monday, the ECLAC signed an agreement with the European Union pledging to promote sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Antonio Guterres will speak at the opening session of the agency's meeting, in which ministers and officials from 46 member states and 13 associated countries will be present.
“It's a great pleasure to come back to Cuba. I was here 20 years ago during a Iberoamerican Summit and I have very pleasant memories about the people's hospitality and the contacts with Latin American governments and Cuban authorities,” said Guterres, a portuguese national, when arriving to the island.
After taking a stroll at Havana's old center, Guterres held a closed doors meeting with Cuba's new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, on Monday at the Revolution Palace, in which they spoke about the agency's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a “tumultuous and dangerous global stage,” according to state media reports.