“When we postpone the harvest, the fruit rots, but when we postpone our problems, they keep on growing.”
This quote from the writer and poet Paulo Coelho seems to describe perfectly what the whole humanity risks should a decision not be taken to seriously tackle the issues of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda.
In fact, despite its introduction in 2015, the realization of the 2030 Agenda is still lacking in too many parts of the world: ongoing political divisions, lack of a long-term view, defense of interests that are not in line with what the agenda aims at achieving, and priority given to mere economic profit. All these aspects are turning this Agreement in a sort of "smoke and mirrors" to cover for the many reckless decisions taken at the highest levels of governance.
Unfortunately, with few exceptions, the area of Latin America and the Caribbean does not really deviate from the general trend.
The main issues that still affect this wonderful land, with several differences among the various States, are the following:
- Absolute poverty that affects approximately 10% of the population;
- This region is the "most unequal in the world" according to the GINI coefficient: despite significant progress in the past few years, in 2017 the coefficient was still at 0,466;
- Failure to grant to the whole population free access to health, education and more broadly to essential services. For example, four out of ten young people (between 20 and 24 years of age) do not complete the course of studies of their secondary education;
- Absence of well paid jobs. Child labour still exists, and there are millions of working poors;
- Dramatic forests destruction (the Amazon in particular), with devastating consequences for the living beings of the entire planet.
If the pandemic we are currently living is making the situation even more critical in certain areas and on certain issues, it is important to also underline that some positive trends are emerging. In fact, compared to information dating back to 2015, it is possible to for example observe that:
- The mortality rate among pregnant women is decreasing;
- The number of kids that have access to a minimum formal education is increasing;
- Women's representation in National Parliaments is also increasing;
- Marine protected areas are growing at a significant rate .
On the basis of the above data, it is possible to affirm that beyond the improvements so far, the journey ahead is still long and full of obstacles; among which one of the main ones is the low level of collaboration between the various States.
Governments with opposite characteristics (e.g. Brazilian and Cuban governments), development models very different, mutual distrust and continuous accusations exacerbate the situation, complicating the resolution of the criticalities that are present in the whole Latin American and Caribbean region. In this context, supranational entities such as the ECLAC (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) and the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) do not manage to operate at the best of their possibilities.
The deadline of 2030 is getting closer and, in order to avoid wasting the opportunity offered by this instrument aiming at improving the world, every actor should take responsibility and act with no further hesitation.
Collaboration is the only route to achieve substantial progress.
Translated by: Elena Briasco