Economic Growth in the Northern Triangle and Southern Mexico is the Goal of a Regional Comprehensive Development Plan
This past September representatives of four governments met at the United Nations to discuss a plan to overcome challenges to economic growth in the Northern Triangle and Southern Mexico.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other authorities of the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico recently met at the United Nations to reaffirm their commitment to work together to implement a Comprehensive Development Plan that has been formulated to foster economic growth in the Northern Triangle and Southern Mexico. Each of the countries’ officials believe that a joint effort to achieve sustainable development and commercial cooperation among all parties will stem the tide of outmigration from the region.
In attendance were the Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, Alexandra Hill; the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Sandra Jovel Polanco; the Mexican Foreign Secretary, Marcelo Ebrard; the Alternate Permanent Representative of Honduras, Irma Rosas; the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Barcena, and, as a guest, the Secretary General of the Central American Integration System (SICA), Vinicio Cerezo
At the meeting on the topic of economic growth in the Northern Triangle and Mexico, the authorities that were present discussed the scope of the Comprehensive Development Plan, to which the four countries are a party. Each attendee reiterated their commitment to continue working to establish their development priorities. They also agreed to work together for the purpose of developing a portfolio of joint economic development initiatives with the support of ECLAC and the United Nations. Finally, the authorities in attendance highlighted the complementarity between the objectives of the Comprehensive Development Plan and the needs of the four governments with a view to meeting the Envision 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The initiative is the result of the mandate that the Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean received on December 1, 2018 from the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico to make diagnoses of the factors affecting the economic growth in the Northern Triangle and Mexico. The group also was charged to identify areas of opportunity, as well as to develop a plan that addresses the structural causes of outmigration from the region. To date, this initiative is the most comprehensive global effort to comply with the Marrakesh Pact and is complementary to other initiatives led by the Central American Integration System (SICA).
The Integral Development Plan (IPD) points to the structural causes of regional outmigration. Among these are:
- Insufficient and exclusionary economic growth in the Northern Triangle and Southern Mexico;
- Low levels of per capita spending for social protection programs;
- Demographic characteristics that are characterized by the massive incorporation of young people into the regional labor market;
- Explosive urbanization and rural backwardness;
- Persistent pay and productivity gap with the United States, the main destination of migrant populations from the region.
The objective of the Comprehensive Development Plan is to create a space for sustainable economic growth in the Northern Triangle and Mexico at the local level and in an articulated way. The Plan also seeks to promote the improvement of the quality of life of the populations of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico under a comprehensive vision that addresses the migration cycle. Additionally, the Plan seeks to make migration an option and not an obligation. To this end the planning document envisages the inclusion of various proposals that are organized into four strategic pillars. These are:
- Economic development;
- Social welfare;
- Environmental sustainability;
- Comprehensive migration cycle management.
As a part of ECLAC’s technical support to the countries’ governments that are promoting economic growth in the Northern Triangle and Southern Mexico, important recommendations have been generated to support the Plan’s strategic pillars. These include: the development of systems of progressive taxation, an increase in social spending, the execution of greater investment promotion activities, and the strengthening of tax administration. In addition to these recommendations, the Plan seeks to concentrate its resources on issues related to trade, energy, logistics, and the digital integration of the economic growth in the Northern Triangle and Southern Mexico. The process of building recommendations has been enriched by the input of the experience of all United Nations agencies, funds, and programs working in the Latin American region.
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