During the current COVID-19 pandemic, sharing knowledge, experiences and data through strong partnerships is more important than ever. The Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have thus embarked on drafting this joint policy brief, bearing in mind that Ibero-America is at the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, facing one of the most challenging moments in its history.
With only 8.2% of the world’s population, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has suffered from 20% of COVID-19 cases and 32% of deaths from the virus globally . As the world’s most developed economies have started vaccinating their populations and, thus, opening the road to recovery in 2021, ensuring equitable access in most countries, including in LAC, remains challenging.
Countries at all levels of development have been confronted with this unprecedented health crisis, which has carried extreme economic, social and sustainable development consequences. The COVID-19 crisis has aggravated existing development challenges in LAC, while governments’ capacities are tightly constrained with weak social protection and health systems and large proportions of societies working in the informal sector, exacerbating inequalities and social discontent .
International co-operation, including triangular partnerships, can support governments in unlocking ambitious support to Latin America and the Caribbean to prevent the loss of lives and fight back the socioeconomic impacts of the crisis, containing the risk of aftershocks and investing in their sustainable recovery.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed and accelerated trends in the international co-operation architecture. It has fast-tracked the need for re-thinking how countries can interact and learn from each other in a changing global landscape, forging partnerships and joining up efforts that go beyond financing for sustainable development.
Against this background, this policy brief aims to:
- Provide a brief overview of current COVID-19 related challenges in LAC;
- Identify recent trends in international development co-operation (South-South, North-South and triangular co-operation) with LAC in addressing these challenges and supporting sustainable development in the region;
- Present ongoing triangular co-operation projects that tackle the crisis in its different dimensions (health, social, economic);
- Provide an outlook for stronger triangular collaboration among members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the LAC region.