Jolita Butkeviciene, director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the European Comission´s, directorate General for International Cooperation and Development
It is a pleasure for me to introduce with a few words this new issue of the RECIPROCAMENTE magazine, a regular publication of the European Union flagship programme to support social cohesion and equality in Latin America, EUROsociAL +.
This issue places the emphasis on social cohesion in the context of the COVID-19. It is a timely and relevant choice: The human and economic consequences of the sanitary crisis are still difficult to weigh, but there is no doubt that it has laid inequalities bare. In Latin America, some are already talking about a new “lost decade”.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and these hard times have also triggered, on both sides of the Atlantic, innovations needed to move towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, leaving no one behind. The European Union with strive for a reconstruction which preserves the environment and makes the best of new technologies, while maintaining its strong commitment to social inclusion and justice. The green transition must be fair and inclusive, and the digital gap must be mitigated. We envisage a recovery scenario in which the environmental, technological, productive and social agendas are fully articulated. This applies to internal policies, but also to international partnerships, particularly with a like-minded region such as Latin America. The diversity of experiences of our Member States, our network of partners, and innovative cooperation programmes such as EUROsociAL+ play a significant role to make this vision concrete.
In the following pages, you will find a range of high-level contributions, from both European and Latin American authors. They address key issues for an inclusive and resilient recovery. Indeed, the multidimensional nature of inequalities calls for a diversity of angles of approaches. Some articles deal with the need to expand universal social protection, some address gender equality and women’s part as a group and driver of change; others highlight the benefits of regional integration, or stress the importance of betting on inclusive globalization while designing agendas at the local level.
This publication also highlights a number of important issues to consider in any analysis of the current context, and in any attempt at designing future paths through an inclusive lens. Among them, guaranteeing access to information, transparency and good governance, safeguarding sexual and reproductive health, acting at the level of territories and promoting cross-border cooperation, as well as improving care policies.
Finally yet importantly, RECIPROCAMENTE provides a space for exchange of views from both the European Union and Latin America, on common problems that require shared solutions. It includes contributions at ministerial level on several topical issues, such as access to justice as a central pillar of social cohesion. It advocates that no country shall be left alone to find solutions to emerge from this crisis. On the contrary, it is with a solidary mind set, that we will build back better. Uniting forces, sharing experiences and good practices, finding consensus and shaping together regional and international agendas.
EUROsociAL+ ultimately fulfils with this publication one of its main roles: sharing lessons learned and fostering the dialogue between the European Union and Latin America, to strengthen our strategic partnership. RECIPROCAMENTE is an open invitation to a joint reflection.
I hope it will give you a lot of food for thoughts and will spark passionate exchanges! I wish you all a good reading, and a good health.