By Federico Mazzella ,
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INTAL has presented a new publication in which 30 global experts put forward ideas on inclusive sustainable development, inspired by the papal encyclical Laudato Si’.

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Guided by Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, Nobel laureates and global experts have offered up ideas to bring us closer to a regional form of eco-integration which prioritizes the social and environmental aspects of development.

The book Eco-Integration in Latin America was launched on April 7, 2017, in the auditorium of the Santa Catalina Convent in Buenos Aires. The speakers at the event included INTAL director Gustavo Beliz; Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences; and Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.




As he welcomed those present to the event, Mr. Beliz argued that we need to move away from a technocratic paradigm and toward a value-based form of science, where innovation and technological progress are placed in the service of care for the environment and social inclusion. He argued that it was time to turn our backs on the belief that everything has a price but nothing is of value.

“Latin America is the most unequal region on earth, a situation that we should be striving to end. The encyclical is not just an appeal to our rustic sensitivities, it is a powerful call for us to start a new conversation that involves everyone,” Mr. Beliz  said.

Monsignor Sánchez Sorondo then discussed how ecological conversion encompasses social justice and spiritual responsibility and is a call for immediate action. He also remarked that Laudato Si’ brings together not only faith and reason, but also philosophical knowledge and scientific knowledge.

“It has been proven that poor countries suffer the effects of climate change the most and that environmental degradation is making it even harder for people to overcome poverty,” he said .

Patricia Espinosa then remarked that the papal encyclical had been hugely influential and had helped close the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. “It is fundamental that economic interests be subject to a moral imperative. Each and every one of us needs to contribute in our own small way to reducing environmental pollution and ensuring a safe future for the generations to come,” she  concluded.

The other speakers who took part in the presentation were Sergio Elguezabal, a journalist who specializes in environmental issues; Juan Carr, the founder of Red Solidaria; Cristina Calvo, an academic at the University of Buenos Aires; and Antonio Brailovsky, an environmental  history expert.




The speakers praised INTAL’s initiative in bringing together global authorities such as Nobel laureates Eric Maskin and Paul Crutzen, Lord Nicholas Stern, lead author of the acclaimed Stern Review, and other high-profile academics from Latin America and the world who analyzed how the current environmental crisis would affect regional integration, inspired by the ecological message of Laudato Si’.

Their rigorous in-depth essays span a wide range of issues: the creation of a new environmental governance, green transportation, sustainable global value chains, the balance between state regulation and private-sector creativity, sustainable productive and export diversification, imaginative ways of overcoming poverty, the impact of global warming on agriculture, migration, family farming, smart physical infrastructure, renewable energy, new forms of slavery, the construction of sustainable cities, green job promotion, universal access to water as a basic human right, and many other issues that concern the future of the region.

INTAL’s new book puts forward creative ideas, analyzes the challenges to governance that the new environmental context is posing, describes sustainable trade models, examines the impact of climate change, and points to bridges toward an integral ecology in which humanism is the driving force for civilization.

The book illustrates how meeting the commitments that countries made at the Paris and Marrakesh summits will require different nations to work together to bring global warming to a halt. It attempts to develop a polyhedral notion of integral ecology that builds bridges between politics, economics, culture, and the social sector.

Over the course of its nearly 400 pages, the publication makes it clear that the natural riches of Latin America, which is home to 40% of the world’s biodiversity, are an enormous opportunity and a great responsibility: the region needs to protect the planet while finding ways to reduce the inequalities that have long characterized it. To take just one of the many concrete examples in the book, a temperature rise of 3°C would cause a 7-percentage-point increase in poverty, due to the impact of drought and flooding on agricultural output.

Through this publication, INTAL, which is part of the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector, is contributing to building a regional agenda which seeks to create forms of consensus that will move past ideological barriers and create a solid work plan for the entire region with the aim of achieving egalitarian sustainable development.



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