·  The work of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)  is essential to building a region united by well-being, inclusive development and prosperity,” he declared.

· He acknowledged the positive work of ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena Ibarra in narrowing the equality gaps within and between our countries.

· He inaugurated ECLAC’s 36th session.

As he inaugurated the 36th Session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), President Enrique Peña Nieto today affirmed Mexico's commitment, “To the integration and sustainable development of our region, to make the Americas a hemisphere of inclusion and prosperity.”

“As we face the future, rest assured that Mexico will continue to work for the sustainable development of our region. At all the forums and mechanisms for dialogue, we will continue to be a unifying force for the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.

He stressed that the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in whose definition Mexico actively participated, enriching it with issues focusing on inclusion, “Also demands a strong, renewed regional alliance.”

At the event, held in the Adolfo López Mateos Hall of the official residence of Los Pinos, the president said that ECLAC’s work, “Is indispensable for building a region united by welfare, inclusive development and prosperity.”

After thanking ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, “for her skilful coordination of the Commission’s efforts to narrow the equality gap within and between our countries,” President Peña Nieto declared that, “Society’s participation, consistency between public policies, a human rights approach, a commitment to certainty to create value  and a vision of sustainable development are essential elements to achieving the development with equality promoted by ECLAC.”

The president welcomed the fact that ECLAC’s 36th Session is being held in Mexico, “Because we are once again welcoming home Alicia Bárcena, a distinguished Mexican who has demonstrated her talent, professionalism and leadership as ECLAC’s director. Moreover, since Mexico is one of the founding nations of this international organization, we continue to believe strongly in its mission to promote the development of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Moreover, he added, “There is a strong coincidence between the agenda promoted by ECLAC and the government to make equality the center of sustainable development.”

The president said that now that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been defined, “It is up to each nation to implement public policies to achieve its goals and targets.”

He recalled that a Specialized Technical Committee, coordinated by the President’s Office, was recently set up to  oversee the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their respective targets.

MEXICO OFFERS ITS EXPERIENCE IN STRUCTURAL CHANGE

The president outlined some of the lessons learned in the past three and a half years, “in the profound process of structural change we have been implementing in Mexico” and declared that Mexico’s experience could help each of the nations in the region to advance its achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals:

FIRST.  “The design and implementation of public policies is enriched by society’s participation. For example, the actions we are promoting to raise the quality of education, in other words, having better trained teachers, decent facilities, suitable education programs and increasing self-management in schools, are enhanced when every school community is involved to ensure their success.”

 SECOND.  “There must be consistency and complementarity between the various reforms and public policies. For example, Financial Reform complements and strengthens the Social Inclusion Program Prospera by promoting low-income families’ access to financial services. Another case is the synergy between Telecommunications Reform and Education Reform, since greater access to Information and Communication Technology helps improve teaching and learning processes.”

THIRD.  “The public agenda must have a human rights approach. One of the pillars of this administration is to promote a genuine Society of Rights, in other words, to ensure that all the rights enshrined in our laws apply equally to all people.”

The president recalled that last week he submitted a bill to Congress to make individuals’ right to same-sex marriage a Constitutional right, regardless of their gender identity or sexual preference, . “I am convinced that in a society of rights, governments, laws and institutions must evolve at the same rate as their citizens,” he declared.

President Peña Nieto mentioned other examples of how equality and inclusion have been promoted.

· The recognition of the right to access to Information and Communication Technologies, including broadband and the Internet.

· The obligation of political parties to ensure that 50% of the candidacies for federal and local congresses are for women.

· The creation of Life Insurance for Female Heads of Household and the expansion of the Pension Program for Senior Citizens.

· And we will soon create Special Economic Zones to narrow the development gaps between the North and center of the country and the southern region, which lags furthest behind.

FOURTH.  “The importance of promoting an environment of certainty and transparency that will foster value generation. In other words, to promote investments that create jobs, productivity and competitiveness. A necessary condition for achieving this environment is to have stability and institutions that support this. Recent years have seen the strengthening of autonomous regulatory bodies such as the Federal Anti-trust Commission and the Federal Telecommunications Institute. As a result of Energy Reform, tenders for oil fields and clean energy auctions in the Wholesale Electricity Market have shown the importance of transparent, reliable mechanisms to attract productive investment.”

FIFTH. “Governments must take decisive action to preserve our natural resources and protect the environment.”

The president declared that nowadays the public policies of any country should take into account their environmental impact. Therefore, he said, Mexico:

· Signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

· It promoted the Energy Transition Act to reduce greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions by increasing its energy production from clean sources.

· It increased its Natural Protected Areas, land and marine areas for the preservation of our biodiversity.

“Creating equality in order to grow, and growing to create equality is ECLAC’s mission; this is the hope shared by our societies and the reason we will continue working and advancing together,” he declared.

Let us be quite clear, EQUALITY IS THE HORIZON, PROGRESSIVE STRUCTURAL CHANGE THE WAY AND POLICY, IN CAPITAL LETTERS, THE INSTRUMENT: ALICIA BÁRCENA

ECLAC General Secretary Alicia Bárcena Ibarra said that the profound economic, social and environmental imbalances in the world have motivated the search for responses from the international community. These efforts culminated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by Mexico which, together with the Latin American and Caribbean region, played a central role in the negotiation process and continues to do so now in its follow-up.

Alicia Bárcena announced that ECLAC produced the Horizons 2030: Equality at the Center of Sustainable Development document, which proposes, “A progressive structural change as a guiding concept. Our region must promote a process of gradual but steady transformation into activities and processes aimed at promoting more intensive learning and innovation sectors, “as well coordinated economic policies between developed and developing countries.

 “We need Mexico, as a G20 player together with the other countries, to propose this worldwide,” she said. She declared that it is not a technical proposal, “It a political proposal that requires a clear direction. It is necessary to change the conversation with the private and the social sectors.”

Alicia Bárcena said that in the complex situation faced by the region, “Aligning our development trajectory with aspirations such as those contained in the 2030 Agenda involves the integrated implementation of economic, industrial, social and environmental policies.” “Let us be quite clear,” she said, “Equality is the horizon, progressive structural change the way and policy the instrument.”

THE REGIONAL DIMENSION IS CRUCIAL TO DEALING WITH COMMON CHALLENGES, exchangING experiences and CONNECTING THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL SPHERES TO THE WORLD SPHERE: Ban Ki-moon

In a videotaped message, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon thanked Mexico for its efforts to host this ECLAC session, and those present at the event for their leadership and support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Latin America and the Caribbean have it helped put equality at the center of the 2030 Agenda. Now we must move from vision to reality through collaboration with governments, the private sector and civil society," he declared.

He explained: “The regional dimension is crucial to addressing shared challenges, exchanging experiences and connecting the local and national sphere to the world sphere.”

He said that, “As a mainly middle-income region, Latin America and the Caribbean must address particular financing challenges for development, and work to collectively meet the specific needs of the Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean.”

Noting that, in order to achieve the lofty goals set out in the Sustainable Development Objectives, “A major change is required in the way we act,” he urged those present to, “Narrow structural gaps, leverage the progress that has already been achieved and continue to be among the leading advocates of sustainable development on the international scene.”

MEXICO AND PERU PLAYED A SUBSTANTIVE PART IN THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: PAULA BUSTAMANTE SUÁREZ, PERUVIAN MINISTER

Peruvian Minister of Development and Social Inclusion Paula Bustamante Suárez said that in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both Peru and Mexico played a substantive role within the negotiating group, which recognized that the eradication of poverty in all its manifestations, particularly extreme poverty, is the greatest challenge facing nations, and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

She declared that countries have pledged to achieve this goal in its three dimensions: economic, social and environmental, in a balanced, integrated manner.

Minister Bustamante said that Peru offers its broadest political support for the 2030 Agenda, “Not only because it actively participated in the process of its definition, but also because it is a political and above all ethical commitment in the quest for the welfare of our people, especially the most vulnerable ones, in the awareness that poverty has a multidimensional nature and is not limited to the population’s level of income.”

Peru concluded its Biennial Presidency (2014-2016) at ECLAC’s 36th Session.

"Two years after the meeting in Lima, today, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a reality, and will guide our work for the next 15 years,” declared Paula Bustamante Suárez.