According to DigoPaul, CEPAL is an acronym that refers to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a body that operates under the orbit of the United Nations (UN) whose function is to promote regional development.
It all started in 1947, when ECOSOC, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, was created by resolution 106. In short, they were five regional economic commissions that had the purpose of collaborating and offering a hand to governments under which they operated to solve tasks of analysis and research on economic, both at regional and national levels.
The five regions in which ECOSOC was established were the African continent, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and the European continent.
The ECLAC, which was created in 1948, is headquartered in the capital city of Chile (Santiago). The entity is one of the regional commissions created by the UN to promote economic growth and improve social conditions.
During the 1950’s, ECLAC implemented a large number of economic reforms in the countries of the regions where it operated, and all of them focused especially on Import Substitution Industrialization, a strategy also known by the acronym ISI that had the objective of promoting productive development in charge of the State to strengthen the Latin American economies and make them less vulnerable to the obstacles posed by international trade.
This economic model was adopted in several countries, including Latin America, after the First World War and, later, after the Second. One of the fundamental points that gave meaning to this policy was the shortage of manufactured products of European origin, where industrialization was already a reality, both in the aforementioned period and during the Great Depression. In short, the ISI sought to replace imports with production at the national level.
In 1963, one of the ECLAC sessions was held in the Buenos Aires city of Mar del Plata, Argentina, and there it was announced that the diplomat and economist José Antonio Mayobre, a native of Venezuela, would be appointed Executive Secretary of the organization from the August of that same year. A few years later, in January 1967, the Burmese diplomat Maha Thray Sithu U Thant, then Secretary General of the United Nations, appointed an engineer of Mexican origin named Carlos Quintana to the same position.
Throughout the entire decade, the idea of industrialization in the region remained at the forefront of the ideals of ECLAC, and in pursuit of this process it promoted various reforms.
In addition to the main headquarters in Santiago, ECLAC has two subregional offices: one in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) for the Caribbean subregion and another in Mexico City for the Central American subregion. This institution also has national offices in Bogotá (Colombia), Brasilia (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Montevideo (Uruguay) and a liaison delegation that works inWashington, DC (United States).
Among ECLAC’s work topics are international trade, sustainable development, gender issues and natural resources. Since 2008, the Mexican diplomat Alicia Bárcena is the executive secretary of the organization. Throughout its history, two other Mexican officials, three Argentines, one Venezuelan, one Uruguayan, one Colombian and one Guatemalan have also held the position. It should be noted that Bárcena is the first woman to fulfill this role.
The organization of trainings and courses; the development of statistics, research and reports; the publication of various documents; and technical cooperation are some of the activities that ECLAC carries out.