UPDATE ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR LATIN
AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (ECLAC) IN SUPPORT OF THE PLAN OF
ACTION OF THE SANTIAGO SUMMIT

Washington, D.C., 19 November 1999

At each meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) presents a report on it activities in support of the Plan of Action of the Santiago Summit. The last such report was presented at the ministerial meeting that took place in conjunction with the last General Assembly of the Organization of American States (Guatemala City, June 1999).

In accordance with the agenda for this meeting, we are pleased to report to the Group on activities undertaken to strengthen the development of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises and on activities relating to women.

Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises

As indicated at previous SIRG meetings, ECLAC has a long experience with the region's micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. As part of a broader-ranging project on institutions and markets, we have recently carried out a number of studies on small businesses' access to credit and funding in Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica.

Also, the conclusions of a study on the international competitiveness of the region's small and medium-sized industrial enterprises is soon to be published in book form. These conclusions were important inputs for the preparation of the document entitled "Small firms in the context of trade integration: analytical issues", which was produced in response to a request by the FTAA ‘Consultative Group on Smaller Economies’.

These studies and the accumulated experience of ECLAC may provide a foundation for substantive contributions aimed at fulfilling the commitments to strengthen the development of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises agreed in the Plan of Action. We would therefore like to reiterate that we are available to the institutions and countries responsible for coordinating work in this area within the Summit of the Americas framework.

Women

As the secretariat of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC has continued with its activities in follow-up work on the ‘Regional Programme of Action for the Women of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1995-2001’, and on the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing). These activities largely coincide with those described in Initiative 22 of the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas, for the development of which the heads of State also requested support from ECLAC.

In relation to the three specific areas designated in Initiative 22, 1 am pleased to report as follows:

‘Strengthening of national mechanisms for the advancement of women’. During the period under review, ECLAC hosted two meetings of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean. The twenty-eighth meeting was held in Curagao, Netherlands Antilles, on 3 and 4 June, the twenty-ninth in Santiago, Chile, on 11 and 12 November.

At these meetings delegates examine the progress that has been made, present recommendations to hasten progress towards gender equity, support horizontal cooperation and define priority issues and strategies for the region.

‘Development of gender indicators for the follow-up to the Plan’. At the second regular session of the Executive Committee of the Inter-American Commission of Women (Washington, D.C., July 1999), ECLAC presented the document "Gender indicators for the follow-up and evaluation of the Regional Programme of Action for the Women of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1995-2001, and the Beijing Platform for Action".

As our last report mentioned, the purpose of the proposed indicators is to give countries a single methodological instrument with which they can monitor and assess matters relating to the international commitments undertaken by the region's Governments.

Convinced of the broad.relevance of gender issues, and pursuant to the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas, the proposal includes indicators relating to the initiatives on education, democracy and human rights, education for democracy, labour issues, economic integration and free trade, science and technology, the elimination of poverty and discrimination, stimulation of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, propriety registry, indigenous populations, and hunger and malnutrition.

To promote further study of these areas, ECLAC held a meeting of experts on gender indicators and public policy on 21 and 22 October. A report on this meeting will be presented at the eighth session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will be held in Lima on 8-10 February 2000.

‘Study of current legislation’. ECLAC has continued its analysis of the legal systems of the region's countries. Three studies have been completed and will be presented at the eighth session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean. They are entitled "Muier, sistema juridico e igualdad", "La situación juridico-social de las mujeres a cinco aflos de Beijing. El Panorama Regional", and "Derechos humanos y equidad de género: avances y desaflíos".

All of these activities were carried out in coordination with agencies and organizations of the United Nations system that are active in these areas, and with the IACW/OAS, but independently of the coordination established in the Summit of the Americas framework. Therefore, ECLAC would like to reiterate, as expressed on various occasions in the past, its readiness to collaborate more directly in the coordinated process in order to contribute to meeting the goals of Initiative 22 of the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas.

Since they would seem to be of interest to SIRG, though they are not part of the agenda for this twenty-seventh meeting, annexes appear below with updates on activities in the areas of transportation, education, free trade and others.

Lastly, ECLAC would like to reiterate its firm commitment to continue contributing insofar as it is able to the implementation of the Summit of the Americas agreements.

Annex I

UPDATE ON ECLAC ACTIVITIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION, EDUCATION

AND OTHER AREAS IN FULFILMENT OF THE PLAN OF ACTION OF THE

SANTIAGO SUMMIT

Transportation

During the period from May to November 1999, ECLAC continued collaborating on the priority activities agreed on at the third ministerial meeting of the Western Hemisphere Transport Initiative (WHTI) held in New Orleans, in December 1998. Particulars are as follows:

Developed a proposal for the ‘Plan of action for the integration of regional transportation systems in the Americas’. This is the first of the priority actions agreed on at the ministerial meeting in New Orleans, and the plan is to be submitted to the Chair of the WHTI Executive Committee by the end of the year.

Participated in the first meeting of the ‘Working Group on Western Hemisphere Transportation Data Systems’ held on 23-28 June in Washington, D.C. The meeting participants decided to conduct a survey on the statistics data required and presently available in all the hemisphere's countries.

Worked with the subcommittee that is drafting terms of reference for the WHTI Executive Committee.

Education

ECLAC has continued to work with Chile, as the coordinating country, and with UNESCO, as the agency in charge, on the educational indicators project. In this connection we participated in the ‘Preparatory meeting on comparative educational indicators for the Americas’, which was held in Washington, D.C. on 19 and 20 July.

At that meeting ECLAC reiterated its offer to make its technical capacities and institutional resources available for developing a system of indicators on the external efficiency and the equity of educational systems. This would require funding to supplement the installed capacity available at ECLAC.

Other

Though the Declaration of Santiago does not assign specific duties to, ECLAC in connection with drug issues, we are pleased to inform. the SIRG that we continue doing work in this area. In this connection ECLAC organized an international meeting on ‘Preventing Drug Abuse: Normative Concepts and Proposed Practices’, which is to be held at ECLAC headquarters on 25 and 26 November.

Annex II

 

UPDATE ON ECLAC ACTIVITIES RELATED TO FREE TRADE IN FULFILMENT
OF THE PLAN OF ACTION OF THE SANTIAGO SUMMIT

Though the SIRG mandate does not include free trade issues, we are pleased to inform the SIRG that ECLAC has continued providing support to the FTAA negotiations. Within the framework of the OAS/IDB/ECLAC Tripartite Committee, ECLAC has provided support to the Negotiating Groups on Investment, Services and Competition policy as well as to the Consultative Group on Smaller Economies, the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society, and the Joint Government-Private Sector Committee on Electronic Commerce. ECLAC is also working with the Trade Negotiations Committee, as well as, naturally, the rotating Chair of the FTAA process and the Administrative Secretariat.

ECLAC activities in this area can be summarized as follows:

Coordinated the study "Competition policies in small open economies: issues and options for the 11AA negotiations", which was presented at the July meeting of the Negotiating Group on Competition Policy (NGCP); presented the "Progress report on the survey of literature on the interaction between trade and competition policies" at the October NGCP meeting; participated in the technical assistance sessions on the drafting and enforcement of competition laws held in conjunction with the Group's meetings; and participated in the meetings of the Negotiating Group on Subsidies, Antidumping and Countervailing Duties, in light of the relationship that exists between this area and the issues for which NGCP is responsible.

Presented the modified, detailed proposal for technical support to the Negotiating Group on Services to the Group at its fourth meeting, in July. The focus of this modified proposal was on four seminar-workshops to train national negotiators on measures affecting trade in services. The first of the seminars was organized in collaboration with the Andean Community and was held in Lima on 20-22 September.

Presented the ECLAC Directory on Foreign Direct Investment and Transnational Corporations in Latin America and the Caribbean to the meeting of the Negotiating Group on Investment on 10-12 August. The case of Argentina was used for illustrative purposes.

Presented studies entitled "Small Firms in the Context of Trade Integration: Analytical Issues", "Trade Liberalization and Fiscal Policies: Implications for the Smaller Latin American and Caribbean Countries" and "Effects of the Global Financial Crisis on Small Latin American and Caribbean Economies" to the Consultative Group: on Smaller Economies at its fourth meeting, on 4 and 5 October.

Participated in and provided support for the June meeting of the ‘Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society’. Based on contributions received up to 31 March 1999, ECLAC prepared a matrix of the submissions by civil society to the Committee.

Participated and provided support for the June and August meetings of the ‘Joint Government-Private Sector Committee on Electronic Commerce’. ECLAC also wrote two briefing notes for the Chair of the Committee, one on Users of electronic commerce and the facilitation of e-commerce, the other on Building confidence in e-commerce. Information sent by 10 countries was also compiled to produce a Compendium of Western Hemisphere regulatory and legal frameworks related to e-commerce.

Lastly, as previously indicated, as a member of the OAS/IDB/ECLAC Tripartite Committee, for which it served as coordinator during the first half of 1999, ECLAC also provided support to the rotating Chair of the FTAA process, particularly in the preparations for the Ministerial Meeting on Trade held on 3-4 November in Toronto.

[SIRG/1999/XVII/tracker.htm][SIRG/1999/XVII/tracker.htm]