The Dialogue brings together leading citizens from throughout the hemisphere who incorporate a diversity of political and professional perspectives, yet share a commitment to democratic rule, social equity, and economic cooperation in the Americas. Our mission is to convene these leaders to help build productive ties among Western Hemisphere nations.
Announcing New Projects
The Inter-American Dialogue is excited to announce the undertaking of three new projects. At a time of difficult and shared challenges, these initiatives will help foster democratic governance, prosperity, and social equity in Latin America and the Caribbean, the pillars of our mission.
- Energy & Extractives Projects in the Amazon Basin
- China’s Lending in a post-Covid-19 Environment
- Covid-19 & Education Challenges in Latin America
Hundreds of energy and extractive projects are in operation throughout the Amazon basin. Enforcing strong environmental standards is critical to mitigating detrimental environmental impacts from these projects and protecting the world’s most biodiverse forest.
A wide range of companies own and operate projects in the Amazon basin, with complex financing structures and assets often transferred through mergers and acquisitions, making it difficult to pinpoint the entities responsible for enforcing regulations. Various studies have mapped hydropower, oil, and mining operations, but a complete picture of the money behind these is lacking.
To understand the entities that own, operate, and finance hydroelectric, oil, and mining projects in the Amazon, the Dialogue’s Energy, Climate Change and Extractive Industries Program, with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, will create a database of energy and extractive projects, analyze trends, and draw conclusions about the current ownership and financing landscape. Tracked data will be displayed in an interactive microsite.
Photo Credit: quapan / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Accurate and comprehensive data on China’s lending to Latin America is critical for the region’s government officials, policymakers, civil society representatives, journalists, and other stakeholders responsible for making and shaping Chinese financial engagement with the region.
Without accurate information about the fundamentals of Chinese overseas finance, those responsible for making or monitoring financial activity in the Latin American region risk operating with outdated information or based on inaccurate assumptions.
To improve understanding of the nature and breadth of Chinese finance in Latin America, the Dialogue’s Asia & Latin America Program, with the support of the Ford Foundation, will continue to produce key data on Chinese loans from the region, including an expanded version of the China-Latin America Finance Database with information on both policy bank and commercial bank lending in Latin America. This information will be disseminated through a range of high-level events featuring regional policy-makers and representatives from international institutions dedicated to the study of Chinese development finance.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of human life across the globe. One of the most impacted sectors, without a doubt, has been education.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, systemic weaknesses, such as lack of internet connectivity or access to internet-enabled devices and the inadequate preparation of teachers, makes it extremely hard for many families to provide normal learning to their children. Many children will experience significant learning delays with long-term implications for their academic performance, and many others may simply not return to school. There are two areas of particular concern: early grade reading and math, and socio-emotional skills, particularly for youth.
To tackle this challenge, the Dialogue’s Education Program, with the support of the Tinker Foundation, will establish a platform for civil society organizations that work on education in vulnerable environments to exchange ideas and work collaboratively on responses for the Covid-19 recovery phase. We will convene a working group to identify key concerns to be addressed when schools reopen and guidelines for advocacy to pursue strong responses and adequate funding from donor organizations. The group will develop a document with lessons learned and a long-term strategy for an advocacy agenda.
How We Make a Difference
- Furthering Early Childhood Development
- Promoting Financial Inclusion
- Interpreting Key Developments in China-Latin America Relations
- Fighting Corruption Through Democratic Governance
- Advancing Clean and Secure Energy
- Shaping US-LAC Foreign Policy Agenda
- Engaging New Stakeholders in Regional Development
We are grateful to our funders for supporting these and many other initiatives.
If you would like to support the Dialogue, you can learn about ways to give here.
Although early childhood is a crucial stage for a child’s physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development, many Latin American children in this age group are facing a debilitating lack of services and living conditions. In an effort to address this gap, and in collaboration with a network of representatives from government, multilateral, and civil society organizations, the Education Program has led the development of the Regional Agenda for Early Childhood Development, a policy declaration that aims to guide countries’ efforts to strengthen their early childhood development (ECD) policies and promote regional accountability for high-quality ECD policies and programs.
Since November 2017, when the agreement was formally endorsed by a large number of countries in the region, the Dialogue has monitored and reported on countries’ progress implementing the Agenda. Now, in addition to that work, the Dialogue facilitates regional forums and policy exchange spaces to support countries in their efforts to implement the Regional Agenda in critical areas such as measurement, financing, and quality assurance.
Through the USAID funded “Opportunities for My Community” project, the Migration, Remittances & Development Program increased financial education, assisted in providing access to credit for the knowledge economy, and led an extracurricular program in Guatemala. This program provided training to more than 150,000 people, resulting in 27 percent of these individuals formalizing their savings (totaling $7 million). Through training sessions with financial coaches, this project supported more than 228 entrepreneurs, who saw a 28 percent increase in their sales and created more than 30 jobs.
Currently, under the UNOPS-funded Cities Alliance project, we have provided 1,965 financial education sessions and are running an after-school program that benefits more than 600 students. Additionally, in collaboration with Airpak, we have provided more than 7,000 financial education sessions and formalized $365,481 savings in Nicaragua.
Whether on infrastructure development, telecommunications investment, or tech policy coordination, the Asia & Latin America Program is the primary source of information in the United States on China’s evolving relationship with Latin America. Updated annually, our online China-Latin America Finance Database has become a critical resource for those in the US, across Latin America and even in China seeking information on Chinese financial flows to the region.
The program also plays a pivotal role in shaping policy on broader Asia-Latin America relations through roundtables and other events with top US, Latin American, and Asian government officials, as well as private sector representatives and policy-makers on issues of interest across economic sectors.
In preparation for the 2018 Summit of the Americas, the Dialogue’s Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program was requested by the host government of Peru to develop recommendations for the Summit’s outcome document on the theme of “democratic governance against corruption.”
Over the course of several months and in close coordination with the OAS Summit Secretariat and other partners, we convened regional transparency experts from governments, judiciaries, civil society, and the private sector to develop public recommendations and technical inputs on measures to strengthen the region’s tools to combat corruption. Many of these recommendations were reflected in the Lima Commitment adopted unanimously at the Summit by all the governments of the Americas.
Endowed with vast clean energy resources, Latin America and the Caribbean have an opportunity to join the vanguard of the global energy transition. Through reports, op-eds, and public discussions that have reached thousands of readers and viewers, the Energy, Climate Change & Extractive Industries Program has elevated understanding of this potential among the public and policymakers. The program has produced vital analysis on the political trends that impact renewable energy development in the region, specific policy tools such as renewable energy auctions, and the role of natural gas as a transition fuel.
The Dialogue regularly holds private dinner discussions with its Congressional Members Working Group on Capitol Hill as well as briefings and roundtables with congressional staff. Recent exchanges organized by the Congressional Program included a closed-door dinner in February 2018 where business and civil-society leaders from El Salvador discussed Temporary Protected Status with five United States lawmakers including host Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).
Congressional members and staff also speak at Dialogue events, conferences, and public policy roundtables. In March 2020, the Dialogue hosted a public conference call event with Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) on Covid-19 in Latin America. Additionally, Dialogue experts are often called upon to testify in Congressional hearings and provide their analysis of hemispheric developments.
The Dialogue has successfully engaged the private sector in its mission, with many of the world’s most innovative and socially responsible companies now supporting its work through the Corporate Program. Experts agree that governments alone cannot solve all the problems facing their societies, such as the automation of jobs, high labor informality, slow economic growth, disillusionment with the quality of public services, and deep distrust of elites. Most also agree that private capital investors and business leaders need to play a more constructive role in Latin America’s development than they have to date.
Together with innovative companies like AT&T, BMW, ExxonMobil, McKinsey, Millicom and others, the Corporate Program and the Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor publications have linked key public officials with private-sector experts and innovators to address emerging trends in areas such as the digital economy, smart cities, inclusive growth and expanding the region’s middle class, to name a few.