Inequality permeates the economic, political, social, and environmental spheres in Latin America and the Caribbean. Addressing that inequality is hence an imperative if the region is to advance towards sustainable development. As the world is negotiating the priorities and goals that will guide the international development agenda for the next fifteen years, this paper calls on policymakers to seize this historic opportunity to generate a paradigm shift and place equality at the heart of public policy.
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About the Author
Alicia Bárcena Ibarra assumed office as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on 1 July 2008. She had previously served as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and as Chef de Cabinet and Deputy Chef de Cabinet to former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. At ECLAC, she formerly held the posts of Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief of the Environment and Human Settlements Division of ECLAC.
Prior to her time at ECLAC, Ms. Bárcena served as Coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Sustainable Development Programme of the United Nations Development Programme and was responsible for the Environmental Citizenship Project at the United Nations Environment Programme.
Alicia Bárcena was the Founding Director of the Earth Council in Costa Rica, a nongovernmental organization created to follow up on the agreements reached at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.
Ms. Bárcena has taught and conducted research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has published numerous articles on sustainable development, public policy, environmental issues, and public participation. She holds a bachelor of science in biology and a master’s degree in ecology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, as well as a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in economics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.