The recovery as an opportunity for transformative social change: pathways towards an EU-LAC partnership for cohesive societies

The webinar "The recovery as an opportunity for transformative social change: pathways towards an EU-LAC partnership for cohesive societies" took place on 1 December 2021 and was co-organised by the 2021 Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Directorate-General for International Partnerships of the European Comission (DG INTPA) in partnership with the EU-LAC Foundation and the OECD Development Centre. The webinar was moderated by Mr. Tine Rus, diplomat at the Permanent Representation of Slovenia to the EU. The recording is available on the YouTube page of the EU-LAC Foundation.

Despite ambitious public policies and notable progress during the past 20 years, levels of income inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region remain among the highest in the world1. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap between extreme wealth and extreme poverty and vulnerability that characterises the region has become more evident and has deepened even further, which impedes progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this scenario, the recovery from the pandemic represents both a challenge and an opportunity to further strengthen the EU-LAC partnership in a common search for solutions through peer-to-peer learning and exchanges of experiences.

The objective of the event was to highlight the challenge of strengthening social cohesion in the post-COVID19 recovery and discuss ways forward for the partnership between the EU and LAC region to address these challenges. The webinar was opened with a presentation of the main findings and recommendations of the 2021 Latin American Economic Outlook (OECD/ECLAC/EU/CAF), which feeding into the framework of Development in Transition, delves into options for rethinking the social contract and the role to be played by international cooperation.

The webinar brought together a wide range of leading experts from both the EU and LAC, to discuss the recovery as an opportunity for transformative social change, around three main angles:

  1. challenges to social protection with the focus on vulnerable groups and addressing informality;
  2. the key role of fiscal policies;

  3. options for transformative change in relation to more inclusive policy design and partnerships.