Democracy, Economy / Finance


Aug 5 2020

The Latin American Reflection Roundtable (*)

The Latin American Reflection Roundtable, echoing and in support of the statements of Latin American former Presidents, former Foreign Ministers and former Ministers of State, has convened a large and diverse group of personalities from Latin America and the Caribbean, who sign this document. The signatories propose the postponement of the election of the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), scheduled for September of this year, as it is a process that has caused notable and justified concern across the continent and that takes place at a time of a real global crisis due to COVID-19.

This declaration offers a viable and constructive way out of the legitimate concerns about the institution’s future. It responds to the shared conviction that the election of the IDB authorities must be preceded by an urgent deliberation on its role in an inter-American system deeply disrupted by un unprecedented health emergency and its economic, political, social, environmental, and cultural consequences.

The Americas are still suffering the devastating impact of COVID-19 in multiple dimensions and there are several months to go before this deadly pandemic may be overcome. These are times of uncertainty about when and how Latin America and the Caribbean will be able to undertake the difficult and formidable task of an inclusive reconstruction of its social and economic fabric.

In this context, it is imperative to rethink priorities and to begin an open political dialogue among all the country members of the IDB, leading towards a new consensus on multilateral financing with a comprehensive vision. Without a base of renewed legitimacy and without approved programmatic agreements, whoever assumes the responsibility of heading the IDB will see its institutional capacity to support the countries in the arduous task of economic and social reconstruction after the pandemic diminished.

That task calls for debating and questioning the current meaning of the words “inter-American” and “development,” from which the IDB has built its identity for six decades. The great majority of this continent demands development with more equal opportunities, livable cities, an efficient green economy, job opportunities for young people in areas of true innovation, a larger role for women without unfair imbalances, education with no digital gaps, and strengthened healthcare systems after the experience of the COVID-19 crisis.

The role of the IDB and other multilateral financial institutions will be essential. It requires that the Bank act with full responsibility and medium and long-term roadmaps that allow for it to anticipate unexpected shocks. For this reason, we propose suspending the election of President of the Bank at the next IDB Assembly, so that the next few months may be dedicated to defining strategies and priorities, after which we shall agree by consensus on who will be at the head of the institution. This opportunity should also serve to formally confirm that a Latin American or Caribbean citizen must hold the Presidency of the institution. In this circumstance, it is a matter of collectively taking on the challenge of a decade that leads us to meet the goals established in the 2030 UN Agenda.

We emphatically call on all IDB member governments to establish this period of reflection and avoid unnecessary divisions to put continental coexistence at risk precisely when regional cooperation is more necessary than ever.

The moment calls for the IDB to become an entity with inter-American political legitimacy. That must be the key objective of our governments and societies. Diplomats, politicians and academics who are members of the Latin American Reflection Roundtable and the personalities who subscribe this document, announce our willingness to participate and contribute to the processes in favor of strong, effective and democratic multilateral institutions. August 2020.


*Statement sent to Other News by Fernando Reyes Matta, former Ambassador. Professor at the Andrés Bello University. Chile.

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