• Transparency, taxation, access to justice and territorial development are the four fundamental pillars for public policies for social cohesion in the region in the coming years.
  • EUROsociAL+, the European Union’s cooperation programme with Latin America, is organising this regional meeting – through its Democratic Governance area – after four years of implementation, with a view to the sustainable recovery of the region based on social cohesion and good governance.

One hundred plural voices, those of women and men from different sectors and territorial levels of government, institutions and civil society organisations will meet in Valparaíso from today until Friday to answer a single question: what political and social pacts do we need for a new post-pandemic Latin America? For three days, public policy makers will seek answers and build options with social cohesion as a beacon.

Opening remarks

The Ambassador of the European Union in Chile, León de la Torre, stated at the opening ceremony that “the construction of political and social pacts for a new Latin America is leading us towards a world in transformation, which the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated. The solutions to the great challenges we face globally must be based on alliances between regions of the world that share common values, principles and interests. The European Union considers Latin America as a strategic partner with which, together, we can face the recovery from the crisis and achieve sustainable and more equitable growth. We are aware that together we are stronger”.

“A fundamental pillar of the cooperation relationship between Chile and the European Union are the regional programmes, and among them, EUROsociAL+ has a central place, both for its permanence over time and for the impact and sustainability of its initiatives,” said the Deputy Executive Director of the Chilean Agency for International Development Cooperation (AGCID), Enrique O’Farrill. “Latin America faces many challenges in the current complex scenario and international cooperation has a central role to play, not only in building bridges between our region and Europe, but also in contributing, through concrete solutions and initiatives aimed at sustainable, equitable and inclusive reactivation. With this objective in mind, and as the national focal point, we at AGCID welcome the holding of this regional meeting and wish it every success”, he added.

For Anna Terrón, director of the FIIAPP – a Spanish cooperation agency focused on strengthening public systems in more than 120 countries – “the days of dialogue that we begin today are a celebration of public talent: exchanging the knowledge and experience of institutions between Latin America and Europe will not only serve to devise public policies for the most pressing collective challenges, but will also contribute to strengthening public systems that work for people and the planet”.

The meeting is organised by EUROsociAL+, the European Union’s flagship cooperation programme with Latin America, led for fifteen years by the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Public Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP). Together with the FIIAPP, the EUROsociAL+ consortium has been coordinated by the institutions Expertise France, the International Italo-Latin American Organisation and the System for Social Integration of Central America.

Three days of public square

The meeting is organised around two symbolic spaces in the Valparaíso Cultural Park: The Social Cohesion Square and the Governance Street. It is in the former, because squares have a historical meaning of collective construction, that the open plenary sessions will be held. The opening is being followed by a conversation between Latin American representatives on the necessary pillars to enable new social pacts.

On Thursday 13, a knowledge fair will take place, with stands and round tables in the Street of Governance, a street lined with spaces such as the House of Justice, the Barrio, the Museum (where an art installation will be held), the Quiosco (with debates between journalists on issues such as the polarisation of discourses) or the Café (a meeting point with civil society). In all of them, dynamics and role-playing games will also be carried out, such as legal assistance to a person in a detention centre, the reconstruction of a public square taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals, a corruption complaint or a budget evaluation taking into account the gender perspective.

The main highlight of Friday will be the signing of the Ibero-American Declaration for Access to Justice, which will be signed by the regional justice networks: the Conference of Ministries of Justice of Ibero-American Countries, the Inter-American Association of Public Defenders and the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors. The closing ceremony will be attended by Quentin Weiler, Deputy Head of Delegation of the Delegation of the European Union to Chile and, in virtual connection, the Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Pilar Cancela.

More than 700 exchanges between Europe and Latin America and between countries in the region

Through its Democratic Governance area, EUROsociAL+ has worked with more than 200 Latin American institutions and shared challenges and opportunities with European institutions and between countries in the region. It has accompanied strategic processes such as the construction of peace in Colombia, the constituent process in Chile, the regional development law in Costa Rica and the plan for the reconstruction of Central America after COVID. He has also participated in the design of innovative policies to fight tax evasion and avoidance, improve the quality of public spending, and incorporate the gender perspective in budgets. Working with networks of institutions at the regional level, it has managed to improve legislative transparency, access to public information, legal assistance to migrants and refugees, and victims of institutional violence in prisons. Always with a view from the territories and vulnerable areas such as border regions, in order to achieve the SDGs and an inclusive, green and digital reconstruction from a global approach but with local actions. In total, more than 700 exchanges between the EU and Latin America and between countries in the region have contributed to improving the lives of people, especially women and vulnerable groups, because social cohesion is the means and the end for achieving new social pacts.