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Interview: China, Latin America can work together to achieve Sustainable Development Goals: UN official

by Xinhua writer Gu Zhenqiu

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- China, within the framework of the South-South Cooperation, can help South American countries in their efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which was adopted at a UN development summit here Friday.

Alicia Barcena, the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua on the eve of the Friday adoption of the SDGs, a set of 17 economic, social and environmental goals for the next 15 years.

The SDGs should be high on the agenda of the cooperation between China and Latin American countries, she said. "It has to be there. And in areas of concrete cooperation between China and Latin America and the Caribbean should be part of the efforts to provide a framework of this kind of cooperation in achieving the SDGs."

The SDGs will serve as the launch pad for action by the international community and national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being from 2015 to 2030.

"The new roadmap addresses numerous aspect of inequality, which is primary problem in our region," she said. "For the first time, the new global agenda proposes to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 and it considers, as ECLAC has done historically, that decent, quality employment is the master key to achieving more inclusive development."

For example, China can help Latin America and the Caribbean with financial resources, science and technology, such as the technology to tap solar energy, and assist the region to achieve food security, she said.

Food security is one of important areas of cooperation between China and Latin America and the Caribbean, she said. "Food security has been in our agenda and it has been discussed."

The South-South cooperation is undergoing transformation with involvement of emerging countries, she said.

China and Latin America and the Caribbean can also share a lot of their experiences in promoting sustainable development, she said. "The time is right for Latin America and the Caribbean to take a qualitative leap in its relations with China."

"The Cooperation Plan 2015-2019 is a necessary and important first step in this direction, as it defines an institutional framework and general guidelines," she said.

Meanwhile, she said that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) can be a main platform for furthering cooperation between China and the region, she said.

In January 2015, CELAC and China adopted their cooperation plan for 2015-2019.

"I think the South-South cooperation is going to go through a very interesting transformation. The emerging countries, such as China, even Mexico, Brazil, Chile, are also creating in a certain way cooperation agencies or cooperation structures.

"The difference is that they are not going to follow the same rule" by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which set conditions to reform the financial structure and open markets for foreign financial assistance from developed countries to developing world, she said.

Latin American countries also welcome assistance from the BRICS, which groups such emerging countries as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, she said.

On the cooperation between BRICS countries, she said. "This is going to be, from our perspective, a very different and interesting form of cooperation. Because it will include, yes, financial flows, but it will also include in-kind cooperation."

She gave the cooperation between Cuba and countries in the region as an example, saying that "medical cooperation between Cuba and the rest of the region is extremely important."

ECLAC is a United Nations regional commission to encourage economic cooperation. It includes 44 member states (20 in Latin America, 13 in the Caribbean and 11 from outside the region), and eight associate members which are non-independent territories in the Caribbean.

ECLAC publishes statistics covering the countries of the region and makes cooperative agreements with nonprofit institutions. Its headquarters is in Santiago, Chile.

It was established in 1948 as the UN Economic Commission for Latin America. In 1984, a resolution was passed to include the countries of the Caribbean in the name. It reports to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

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