Interview: Ricardo Luna Mendoza
How would you characterise Peru’s economic and political role within the region?
RICARDO LUNA MENDOZA: Peru is one of the world’s most dynamic and stable emerging economies. Over the last 16 years it has experienced average annual GDP growth rates of more than 5%. Such growth – together with a strong commitment to democracy, the rule of law, political and legal stability, and social inclusion – has allowed the country to move towards its development goals.
Since the 1960s Peru has actively participated in different integration processes in Latin America as a complementary strategy to improving its population’s well-being and enhancing its international inclusion. Since 2011 Peru has promoted economic integration through free trade agreements (FTAs) and schemes such as the Pacific Alliance. Peru has signed over 18 FTAs in all regions. Pacific Alliance member states share our vision for development, democracy and free trade.
Though there are multiple mechanisms with different development philosophies, integration is a long-term process that is not limited to the economy and trade. Peru is following a holistic regional agenda with long-term goals, such as modernising production, raising levels of social development, fighting international crime, and tackling climate change and its consequences.
What are the goals of the 2017-21 UN Development Assistance Framework for Peru?
LUNA: The framework features domestic development priorities that coincide with the development goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This framework is aligned with President Kuczynski’s vision of building a modern, inclusive country and is structured around four fundamental goals for 2021.
First, all people suffering from poverty and discrimination should have higher living standards and productive employment through sustainable development means that favour social and natural capital. Second, basic, universal and quality services – as well as an inclusive and integrated social net – should be universally accessible. Third, enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, inclusiveness and fairness of public management is key to improving public trust in institutions. Lastly, the exercise of people’s freedoms, rights and civic duties must be guaranteed to every citizen through a framework of peace and the rule of law.
What role do the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and other regional organisations play in social inclusion?
LUNA: ECLAC recognises that social inclusion is a fundamental element for a country’s development and building a common civic sense. High poverty and exclusion rates in the region are the most important risk to consolidating democracy and social peace. Hence, reducing poverty and exclusion rates becomes a social and ethical goal, but also a necessary condition for economic and political development in Latin America.
ECLAC analyses the social circumstances of each country in the region and implements social policies, as well as fighting poverty. Peru has supported the recent creation of the Development Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean, under the leadership of ECLAC. This forum will follow up and examine the implementation of the regional 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will provide learning opportunities through voluntary exams and exchange of good practices, and will promote discussion on common goals to achieve an inclusive regional process.
It is important to acknowledge the efforts of governments and different UN agencies – such as the UN Development Programme, UNICEF, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the UN Environment Programme – to reduce poverty levels. One must also highlight the commitment of international financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the Development Bank of Latin America to provide technical assistance and finance in the region.
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