Four former presidents of Latin American countries, heads of regional organizations as well as academics and experts are to discuss the region’s future at the third Global Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean this week in New York.
The forum, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, brings together former presidents Leonel Fernandez (Dominican Republic), Ricardo Lagos (Chile), Ernesto Samper (Colombia), and Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica).
The ex-presidents are to share six discussion tables with Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro and the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Barcena, as well as with a group of leading regional specialists.
Former Dominican President Fernandez, who is to inaugurate the forum and participate in several panels, said that the purpose of the meeting was to promote a space where thinkers, researchers, academics, statesmen and important regional and global actors can debate the issues of greatest concern and impact for the population.
“This forum is more important today than ever because for the first time the situation in the region in the times of Covid-19 will be analyzed, and how this pandemic has impacted the nations of the Western Hemisphere, the challenges they face to continue with their agenda of socio-economic and democratic development while strengthening its position on the international agenda despite the crisis caused by the pandemic,” Fernandez said in a statement.
The main discussions are to revolve around the economic and social repercussions of the pandemic in Latin America and the challenges associated with the crisis, mainly the growing fiscal pressures facing the public accounts of several countries in the region.
It will also address the electoral cycle that opens in the region in 2022, a year in which there will be elections in Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil and in which Chile is also expected to hold a plebiscite to approve a new Constitution.
Almagro is expected to take part in discussions centering on the mechanisms of solidarity and regional cooperation, while the four former presidents are to close the two-day meeting with a look at the future of Latin America in a global context.
The Forum is organized by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE), chaired by Leonel Ferandez; its sister organization in the United States, GFDD; and by the International Institute for Democracy and Assistance Electoral (International IDEA).
Other institutions such as ECLAC and the Institute for Latin American Studies – Columbia University (ILAS) also collaborate.
The two previous Global Forums were held in 2018 and 2019 in New York, but last year it was canceled because of the pandemic.
This week’s forum is to be held in person, although its six panels will also be broadcast live on the organizing institutions’ social networks.