Structural change for sustainable and inclusive development in Latin America and the Caribbean

Project description

Title: Structural change for sustainable and inclusive development in Latin America and the Caribbean
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Chile
Lead executing agency: United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
Overall term: 2014 to 2016


Since 1980, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, Spanish: CEPAL) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have been working together to promote socially and ecologically sustainable economic development in the region. In 2003, these two institutions entered into a strategic partnership which has further intensified their cooperation in each of the two-year programme phases. ECLAC’s role is to operate as a think tank for Latin America and the Caribbean and to analyse and draft policy proposals.


Selected ECLAC member states have drafted reform proposals and other instruments to promote social cohesion and structural changes in the context of climate change.


The programme promotes cooperation and synergies between ECLAC and German development cooperation projects. ECLAC benefits from the experience gained in these projects, which it can use to improve its strategies, its policy proposals and the implementation of its strategies at local level. The programme further develops and organises high-level political dialogue events between Latin America or the Caribbean and Europe. These forums cover topics such as sustainable structural change, social protection systems, energy efficiency, renewable energies and the challenges presented by climate change.

Results achieved so far

At the request of the energy ministries of Central America, ECLAC conducted a study on possibilities for reducing the sulphur content of diesel fuel. The recommendations were then discussed and implemented at ministerial level – a significant success considering the great detriment to health caused by high levels of sulphur emissions in major cities.

In Brazil, the steps taken by the government of the state of Amazonas to prevent deforestation were evaluated. This task was undertaken with the support of GIZ in Brazil and the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea). Many of the resulting recommendations regarding sustainable production support as well as land tenure systems are currently being implemented.

Other governments have also been supported in developing policies and fiscal policy mechanisms to effectively mitigate climate change; for example, ECLAC has provided advice to the governments of Ecuador and El Salvador. As a result, the first vehicle taxes related to CO2 emissions as well as a deposit system for plastic bottles have been introduced in Ecuador. In El Salvador, the effects of fluctuating gasoline prices on the economy and possible steps to be taken have been analysed.

With regard to social protection systems, ECLAC supported the Ministry of Social Welfare and Family in Costa Rica as it introduced and promoted the law on early childhood care and Education, which was adopted in March 2014. Equally, the government in El Salvador was advised on how to strengthen and institutionalise a system of universal social protection and a law on development and social protection, which it adopted in April 2014.

Over the course of the years, an extensive database of indicators to measure energy efficiency (EE) has also been set up. The working meetings called to develop the database are used by ECLAC to strengthen the capacity of the participating government officials to implement more effective EE policies. In addition, high-level political dialogue events facilitate regional exchange and enable lateral and international forms of cooperation for all issues relating to energy efficiency.