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Upgrading International Development Cooperation

In an era when the benefits of multilateralism are being questioned, income inequality is growing, and innovation and technology are transforming how people learn and work, the world needs a more equitable approach to globalization. Can Latin America and the Caribbean offer a way forward?

PARIS – These are hard times for international cooperation. With rising protectionism, burgeoning trade disputes, and a troubling lack of concern for shared interests like climate change, the world seems to be turning its back on multilateralism.

And yet cooperation remains one of our best hopes for addressing humanity’s most complex development-related challenges. Just as the Marshall Plan rebuilt a war-ravaged Europe and the Millennium Development Goals lifted some 471 million people out of extreme poverty, the international development agenda can still deliver results thanks to the combined potential of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris climate agreement.

But this agenda cannot continue using traditional thinking and tools to account for countries that are no longer defined as “developing” or “most in need” because they passed a certain threshold in terms of average per-capita income. This challenge is particularly acute in Latin America and the Caribbean, where many countries have achieved greater GDP per capita, but still face significant vulnerabilities and structural obstacles to long-term prosperity.

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